valentine's day

Give Her a Room Full of Balloons

Photo: Flashpop/Getty Images

What are you going to get your loved one for Valentine’s Day? Flowers? Candy? Their favorite perfume? Nothing, because you forgot? Oh no. I know what you should do — you should get them a room full of balloons.

Do you remember the movie Patch Adams? Not just that it exists, but the plot? I don’t remember the plot exactly, but what I do remember is that there was this scene with a room full of balloons.

Kristina Braverman from Parenthood walks into a room filled with friends and balloons, set up for her birthday by Robin Williams, whom she finds in the balloons and who, at that point, reads her a love sonnet. She stands in the balloons, blonde and happy, and she listens. It is very touching.

Picture it now. Your sweetie comes home, stressed from a day at the office. She senses something is off before she even enters the apartment. Odd light patterns peek out from the ground beneath the door, and she hears the sound of … what is that, 1,000 balloons? … inside. She opens the door and they spill out, tumbling over her in a current of joy and sweetness. You shout at her, from within the balloons, “I LOVE YOU! AND I’M GOING TO CLEAN THIS UP, SO DON’T WORRY ABOUT THAT, IN CASE YOU WERE!”

After some Googling about the room full of balloons, I found out that the balloon room was based on a real date. “The scene with the room full of balloons is based on a real life date that Patch set up for himself and [his first wife] Lynda,” says this website.

The real-life Patch Adams recalled it in his memoir Gesundheit!:

“I filled my apartment with balloons from floor to ceiling. With twenty or so people in the room, no one could see anybody else, but whenever one person moved, everybody could feel it. It was a circus of sensations. She went back to the dorm and told her friends; ‘I just had the strangest date of my life. I think I’m going to marry this guy.’” 

That actually sounds a little creepy to do for a random date, so maybe let’s not dig any deeper into Patch Adams or that particular room full of balloons. Let’s talk about your room full of balloons.

How will you do it? There are several people online who share your question. “Can anyone offer advice in duplicating the birthday scene in the movie Patch Adams (room full of balloons)?,” asks this person on Yahoo. “Do you think a room full of clear balloons like in patch adams movie would be fun?” asks this other one, though I believe that answer is an obvious yes.

This blogger’s post titled “Filling a Room with Seven Hundred Balloons” goes through some pretty thorough balloon math and ends up with 700 balloons for a space of 518,400 cubic inches. That filled the whole space of a room (for his daughter’s birthday party), but only up to his daughter’s two-foot bed. So, calculating the balloon math in my head, I’d say you need at least about 1,500 balloons.

“That sounds pretty pricey,” you might be thinking (you cheapskate), but actually it’s not bad. On BalloonsFAST.com, you can order a box of 1,000 9-inch balloons for only $57. Maybe you just get two sets of those, in case you need extra? And for blowing up all of those balloons, I suggest something like this “Electric Balloon Pump Two-Nozzle w/Time and Speed Control,” which is $40 from balloons.online. You’ll need to take the day off from work, but the task, if approached this way, seems doable. Unless you don’t love your significant other … but you do, right?

I guess a nice part about the Patch Adams balloon room was that there was excitement in there, because there were a lot of people. You’re probably wondering what exactly the two of you will do once you’re in the balloon room, and you’ve found each other, and now you’re just standing in the balloons. You’re probably like, “Are we supposed to have sex in the balloons, or … ?” Yeah, I don’t know. I guess? Or maybe you can play a board game, or watch an episode of a TV show, surrounded by balloons, if you can clear a space. That sounds really nice, and festive, and sweet. And you can drink a glass of wine, or whatever else if you don’t drink.

Please, just enjoy the balloons together. Shouldn’t that be enough?