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Haters, welcome. This is a safe space for those of us fed up with the forced romantic holiday and its duty-bound commercialism. Feeling singled out this cheesy (and not in a good way) time of year? No need to be left alone out in the cold. Gather your single friends—maybe even your coupled friends who also think the holiday is a shallow interpretation of love—for a party celebrating your independence. Platonic love is pretty powerful too. When planning your non-romantic revelry, consider our tips on how to drink, eat, and carouse in official Palentine’s Day style surrounded by your friends (without benefits), on or around Feb. 14.

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Like a divorce party, this is a healthy, yet not-so-healthy-it’s-lame, way to celebrate your loss or lack of romantic love. Hey, it’s not like you’re spewing your bitterness all over the innocent joy of a newly married couple…at their wedding, a la “The Wedding Singer.”

Tip 1: Send Invites That Set the Tone

Inject a funny/witty/ironic/angry/gross vibe into your event. It’s probably too last-minute by now to post-mail an invitation, so do it by email. That doesn’t mean you just type the details in a plain ol’ message that you cc to all your friends. For the last 15 to 20 years, we’ve had these things called e-vites. Try it. Many sites offer free e-cards. On Punchbowl (which has a whole anti-Valentine’s Day section), click the “edit message” button and type in your what, where, and when, as well as what to wear, what to bring, and what food to expect. Be sure to give helpful details like parking instructions too. Of course, you can also do it via your social media platform of choice (just be sure not to accidentally invite that ex who never unfriended/unfollowed you).


Tip 2: Make a Great Playlist

Your musical taste may depend on your birth decade and personal vibe, but these are some fitting suggestions of what to pile into your party playlist. Regardless, take time to plan the music.

  • “Bittersweet Symphony,” by The Verve
  • “Love Stinks,” by The J. Geils Band
  • “All the Single Ladies,” by Beyoncé (don’t forget “Sorry”)
  • “Go Your Own Way,” by Fleetwood Mac
  • “So What,” by Pink
  • “I Hate Everything About You,” by Three Days Grace

Check out more anti-Valentine’s Day songs.

Tip 3: Have Fun with the Drinks and Food

You got this. Label your signature cocktail, your sweets, your tapas. You can put the food and drink names on little cards before each platter, or draw it on: “Fries Before Guys,” “Cupid Can Suck It,” “Love Bites,” “Meh,” “It’s Not Me. It’s You,” and “Over It” —you get the idea.

Create Cocktails That Express Your Feelings

For instance, our bloody strawberry gin and tonic that’s the color of a broken heart:

strawberry cocktail recipe


Alternatively, embrace dark-hearted impulses and whip up an espresso martini, a blackberry-infused Prosecco, or a fig cocktail called The Black Heart. (Or go with baby beets that look like speared, bloody hearts in a strong martini.) And if you’re really into the whole cold, black heart theme, go with an All-Black Valentine’s Day Dinner that’s delicious and makes a point.

how to use egg whites in cocktails (including sours and fizzes)


Then again, you could simply shake up a classic bourbon sour to reflect your outlook on love.

Scrawl It on a Sugar Cookie

Buy these sugar cookies with the romantic red and white icing and cold-hearted notes already frosted on for you, or make your own sugar cookies with our Icebox Sugar Cookies recipe and decorate them any way you like.

If you’re up for a project, you can even make your own conversation heart candies and inscribe them any way you want!

Make Cupcakes That Deliver a Clear Message

Don’t have a steady hand for neat dessert-decorating? Stick a little sign into your cupcakes instead. Get a bunch of stand-offish messages with these Anti-Valentine’s Day Candy Heart Cupcake Toppers ($2.95+ on Etsy).

Mark Your Macarons

Or write your off-putting message on macarons, like Lindsay of Sprinkles for Breakfast does. Buy the macarons or make them yourself from our French Macarons with Pomegranate Ganache recipe. Use food-decorating pens, because you don’t actually want these to taste bitter (or, you know, be toxic).

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Tip 4: Pick a Theme to Coordinate the Decor and What You Want Guests to Wear (If You Care).

Some ideas: Wear all black. Suggest an unsexy or date-from-hell costume. Require all guests to wear their bathrobes. And no, not any sexy, silky, kimono ones either. We’re talking terry cloth types. Or any old pajamas.

anti Valentine banner

Earles Folly/Etsy

For the décor, start by hanging up a banner, like this cute-yet-snarky string ($12 on Etsy), inspired by conversation heart candy in deceptively sweet pastel hues. (Or go with a simple “Love Sucks” version, or maybe a “Wine is My Valentine” banner if your heart belongs to vino.) Plaster images of Cupid getting shot all over the place. (Why does he get to shoot all the arrows anyway? Isn’t that fun?!)

Tip 5: A Few Activities Can’t Hurt…(Unlike Spurned Affection)

Once everyone’s had a few drinks, they can be enthusiastic about swinging a bat at an Anti-Valentine’s Day piñata.  Put sour gummy worms or black licorice in there, something more sour or salty than sweet.

If you want to take your own shots at Cupid and metaphorically/literally break a heart, do both with this heart-shaped pinata:

Or you could bring out the Cards Against Humanity again, or do anti-Valentine’s Day charades, with topics like “worst date ever” and “turn-offs.” Umm…again, it might help if no exes are there.

An Anti-Valentine’s Day Menu

Even if you can’t be bothered with a theme, try some of these easy (and appropriate) food and drink recipes:

Dark ‘n’ Stormy


Dark rum, ginger beer, and lime make a statement when together that they can’t separately. That statement: Watch out, here we come. Oh yeah. Get our Dark ‘n’ Stormy recipe.

Pink Gin (Gin & Bitters)


At first, you think it’s a sweet cocktail. But oh, no. It’s bittersweet. Or just plain bitter. Swim in the feeling it gives. We’re not judge-y. Get our Pink Gin recipe.

Artillery Punch


With four liquors plus a couple other ingredients, this is an impressive drink. You might find yourself breaking out your verbal weapons. Trading barbs. Or you might be the type to wait until you’ve had a few of these and drunk-dial your ex. That’s always a good idea. (Sarcasm intended.) Get our Artillery Punch recipe.

Mini Black Bean Cakes with Carnitas and Avocado


Make this nibble that’s so filling it can, well, fill in for a real meal. It delivers on its promise—unlike your ex. Get our Mini Black Bean Cakes recipe.

Slow Cooker French Onion Dip


Nosh to your heart’s content on this onion dip that caramelizes the onions in a long, slow, sweet manner. (If you just sighed, slap yourself.) No need to be concerned about your onion breath at this party, unless you’re planning on kissing someone, you traitor. Get our Slow Cooker French Onion Dip recipe.

Spicy Sriracha Ceviche


We like a little pain with our pleasure—not too much, but just enough. You get that with this heat-packing ceviche using mixed seafood such as scallops, tilapia, and halibut. Get our Spicy Sriracha Ceviche recipe.

Mexican Chocolate Slice-and-Bake Cookies


Fine, you should also serve something sweet(ish). A little cayenne goes a long way in these cookies that you can decorate like sugar cookies, if you’re going that route. So much better than just plain sugar. Get our Mexican Chocolate Slice-and-Bake Cookies recipe.

Chile and Tamarind Trixy Stix

homemade Trixy Sticks recipe


Simple sweetness does not interest us on this occasion. Sour-spicy sweet does, however. Plus, these candy-filled straws remind us of our childhood Pixy Stix. Remember, it was back we had hope? Just down them. Get our Chile and Tamarind Trixy Stix recipe.

Check out our Valentine’s Day recipes on our Valentine’s Day Headquarters for more Palentine’s inspiration.

Related Video: Pucker Up for This Valentine’s Day Kombucha Cocktail

Header image courtesy of Moms and Munchkins.

Amy Sowder is a writer and editor based in NYC, covering food and wellness in publications such as Bon Appétit, Women's Health, Eat This, Not That!, Upworthy/GOOD, Brooklyn Magazine, and Westchester Magazine. She loves to run races, but her favorite finish lines are gelato shops. Learn more at
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