We Tried Datebox, the At-Home, Date Night Subscription Box

Whether you've been with someone forever or just started going out them, date nights are essential for keeping your relationship feeling fresh and fun.

That doesn't always have to mean going out and spending a bunch of money on activities and an expensive meal. Dates at home can be just as romantic, which is why Happily created Datebox, a  subscription service with kits including everything you need to have the perfect date in the comfort of your own home.

When I was asked to review Datebox, I was more eager to not only check out a box, but also see if it would result in a successful date. Keep reading to find out how it went.

How It Works

Datebox is a subscription service, but that doesn't mean that your monthly dates are going to be just like everyone else's. For one, if you're not interested in being sent a box of stuff every month, they have an all-digital version of the service that costs $7.99 a month. Each month, it sends a list of ideas for date activities and includes a link to a custom playlist to make your date extra sweet.

Of course, for the full Datebox experience, you need to order one of their physical kits. These include everything you'll need to create a totally memorable date with that special someone. You can order a single kit at a time for $39.99, but if you anticipate that you'll love Datebox, you can commit to subbing for three months at $36.99 per box, or for six months at $32.99 per box.

I didn't go through the subscription process myself, but according to Datebox's website, once you sign up, you're sent a questionnaire that allows you to share the personalities, likes and dislikes of you and your S.O. so that they can put select the perfect date for you. Each surprise box arrives on the 15th of the month with different items and activities included to make your date one to remember.


Donut Go Breaking My Heart

The Datebox I tried was called Donut Go Breaking My Heart. In addition to instructions and pieces for a few games and activities, it also included a couple of absurdly cute donut mugs and almost everything needed to make homemade donuts. In addition to the mold for baking the donuts, this included gluten-free cake mix, plus powdered sugar, gluten-free pretzels, caramel sauce, sprinkles and Oreos to top them with. They were all housed in a cute reusable bag.


For the games, the kit contained a pair of dice and a bunch of transparent pink bingo chips, with the activity instructions and bingo cards housed in a pink envelope with "Recipe for Love" written on it. There was also a card with a link to a Spotify playlist on one side, and a list of topics to discuss over donuts on the other.


(via Datebox)


The Experience

The minute my S.O. and I decided to dig into our first date box, we set making donuts as our No. 1 priority. Unfortunately, some of the labeling inside the box was a tiny bit misleading. In one place, we were told that the only ingredient we'd need for the donuts, besides what was included, was vegetable oil, but the actual directions called for an egg. I don't usually have eggs in the fridge except for when I need them for specific recipes, so we had to go out and buy a few to make the recipe work.

But from there, making the donut mix couldn't have been simpler. While the oven preheated, we combined the included cake mix in a mixing bowl with a little vegetable oil, a little oil and the egg, and whisked until smooth. Next, we greased up the cute donut mold so that the donuts wouldn't stick, and then we poured in the batter. Here's where we found another little snag in the process. Though the recipe specified the baking temperature, it didn't seem to include an actual amount of time to bake it. After a little bit of back and forth, we decided to leave them in the oven for 12 minutes before checking on them.


While they baked, we got to preparing the toppings. Though the recipe recommended we make my icing over the stove in a saucepan, we opted for a heat-free icing, mixing a tiny bit of water into the powdered sugar and mixing until it made a smooth, creamy frosting. That process saved us both time and dish-washing. To prep Oreo crumbles for the donuts, I broke one up with a spoon, and we just broke up the pretzels into bits with our hands.

The timer went off after 12 minutes, and the donuts looked ready, so we took them out of the oven and let them cool for just a moment before popping them out of their mold.


We probably could have waited a bit longer to let them completely cool before proceeding to ice them, but we were a little impatient. For the four plain-icing donuts, we simply had to tip them in upside-down, and give them a nice, even coat all the way across the top of the donuts. By adding sprinkles to two of the donuts and crushed Oreo to another two, those donuts were fully decorated. Next, we added a tiny squeeze of the caramel sauce to the leftover frosting and mixed it in. We were shocked at how good the resulting caramel frosting tasted and slathered it all over the remaining two donuts before topping them with pretzel pieces and crushing some Himalayan rock salt over them for good measure.


We were impressed with how delicious the donuts wound up being. They were cakey and sweet, and the toppings really made them taste amazing. Of the three, the caramel pretzel donuts wound up being our favorites—and we also had a pair of ultra-cute, donut-shaped mugs to sip milk out of. The mugs even came in brown and pink frosting colors, so we could easily tell whose was whose. In the end, the caramel pretzel was such a hit that we used the rest of the cake batter to make a sheet cake with all of the same fixings.


Once we'd stuffed ourselves with donuts, it was time to check out the games and activities, which came with a pink envelope with "Recipe for Love" written on it. While we weren't up for all of the games (we didn't want to make a mess with the game where one person tries to make the other laugh to spit out a mouthful of water), we appreciated some of the conversation prompts. There was a game where you go through the alphabet saying things you appreciate about your partner, and there's Love Bingo, in which you quiz each other on how much you know about your history together. We didn't spend too much time with these, but they felt like good conversation starters for couples who don't spend a lot of time talking about their history.


Inside are instructions for games, like a game where one person tries to make the other laugh to spit out the water in their mouth and an alphabet game where you go through the letters saying things you appreciate about your partner. The kit also came with a link to a custom Spotify playlist. It included a mix of modern hits and classics, each with a romantic vibe. We're both weirdly picky about what we listen to, so we didn't spend much time with it, but the songs all seemed fun and thoughtfully picked out. They seemed great for open-minded people still figuring out their songs with each other.



Bottom Line

While the two of us got way more out of the baking and eating part of our Datebox experience than the activities portion, we had a great time with it overall. The recipe was really tasty, and the experience was unique. It'd definitely never made donuts before, and now I have a little mold so I can make more whenever I feel like it (though it'd be ideal to be able to make more than six at a time).

While the questions in the games seem to be designed for people who've been together for a while, rather than those in brand new relationships, I think they could be a lot of fun regardless of what your coupling looks like. A lot of it will depend on how game you both are to take part, discuss things and learn more about each other. The company may also want to go over the printouts that come with the boxes to ensure that all of the instructions are included and that they're accurate. If you're curious about trying Datebox, I say start with a month and see where it goes from there. After all, one great date may lead to another.


Anxious about your next big date? Click HERE for a list of some of the best foods to eat on a date.