It is with only slight shame that I admit I got this idea from watching Katy Perry’s softcore-pornographic Candyland music video for “California Gurls.” Just the Candyland part, not the cutesy(?) slow-mo whipped cream-spraying boobs, throw-up-in your-mouth-and-swallow-it-again part. Ugh.
The game of Candyland dares to imagine a world in which candy-land is the only land. And I dare to remember a time when Valentine’s Day was nothing more than heart-doodle-covered paper lunch bags filled with mounds of candy and Spongebob cards. Candyland is a place of pure positivity (and pure sugar), and Valentine’s Day should be, too. Whether you’ve already got a candle-lit, red wine, roses kind of thing lined up or have been practicing your “this day sucks” scowl in the mirror, you could use a trip to Candyland on this day of happiness and love. Sugar is sweet and so are you!
For: Five to 10 of your closest pals. If you’re single, resist the temptation to invite only single friends. Just because someone has found love-love doesn’t mean they don’t still give and receive friend-love.
When: Avoid the actual day-of so that everyone can come. Again, this is not to spite your non-single friends, my single warriors. Choose any surrounding day right after dinner so the party can be all about the sweets, not about the nutrition you should be receiving on a daily basis.
What to eat: Just to remind you of the array of candy in the “land,” we have: plums, peppermint, licorice, gumdrops, peanut brittle, lollipops, ice cream and molasses. Plus a rainbow, if you want to count that. As you can probably guess, this game first came out in 1949. Try these red wine lollipops from Sprinkle Bakes, “goodie goodie gumdrops” from Bakerella and chocolate bark as a more modern (and, er, delicious) “peanut brittle.” Regular desserts like cookies and cupcakes enhanced with candy certainly fit the bill as well.
What to drink: Honestly you might just want some water to wash this all down, plus there’s no “crunkville” in Candyland. But I’d suggest strawberry pucker schnapps if you want super sweet booze in a festive red color.
How to set the scene: Decorate paper lunch bags with your names on them just like the old days and set aside at least one treat for people to take home in them. Make your own cards or get store-bought ones and giggle at the cheesy puns (Blue’s Clues: “I’m glad I found you as a friend!”). And of course play Candyland if you can scrounge one up or don’t mind spending $10 on it at Target.
Attire: Well, the color scheme is obvious. If you want to go all-out costumes, dress up like characters from the game or just general candy/cupcake/ice cream people. Again, like the Katy Perry video, but skip the naked cloud stuff!
Jen Cantin graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Mass. with a degree in English and Journalism. She shares other (a)musings at Deep Fried Epiphany and dedicates this post to scattered candy days among a regular diet of balanced nutrients.