Nina Russell
June 11, 2015 6:15 am

Summertime is for staying out late, going to the beach and generally spending time outdoors thawing out from those cold winter months. Unfortunately, not everyone can get away for a night in the woods. Maybe your boss decided that it’s important for you and only you to be available 24/7. Maybe the thought of sharing your sleeping space with lots of creepy crawlies (not to mention big, scary animals) isn’t quite your thing. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on camping. You just have to do it in your living room.

“That’s crazy,” you say. It’s not! Call some friends, recruit your roomie or bribe your significant other to make some s’mores and sleep under your homemade starry night. Here’s the ultimate guide for rocking your own indoor camping trip. The best part is, no rain date needed.

Sleeping under the stars

It is indeed time to embrace the cosmos. At some point before your camping trip you should acquire Christmas tree lights or, depending on how committed you are, glow-in-the-dark star stickers. Spend the afternoon turning your ceiling into the Milky Way. If you’re feeling ambitious grab some faux-planets to dangle from the ceiling as well. You don’t have to do all the work yourself, get your friends to help put them up. Take it to the next level: Create some actual constellations (or, ya know, a portrait of your cat).

Make an amazing, intricate blanket fort (or pitch a tent) 

One of the most important lessons camping teaches is how to make a shelter (and no, turning yourself into a human burrito with a blanket doesn’t count). Don’t miss out on your chance to learn by pitching your tent and really making it home. It you don’t own a tent: Fear not, you can still camp out you just have to get a little more creative. Grab a bunch of pillows and blankets and create a fort. Kick it up a notch: Take a page out of Community’s book and build a multi-room fort (#sixseasonsandamovie).

Have an indoor barbecue/picnic

Sandwiches, hamburgers, fruit salad: All great foods that you would find at a picnic. Make a couple of things, lay out a blanket and enjoy. No rocks poking through the blanket, no dirt or sand in your food to file down your teeth and definitely no ants hauling away your well-prepared meal.

Extra Credit: The morning of your camping trip make sandwiches (make sure you use a nice baguette or ciabatta roll), wrap them in Cling-wrap and stick them in the fridge with a heavy book on top of them. When you are ready, take them out, cut them into 2 inch strips and you’ve got adorable little tea sandwiches.

Make a (fake) campfire

Now I don’t know about you guys, but campfires are deeply frowned upon in my apartment building. So instead, open Netflix, search for “fireplace for your home” and press play. (Unless you want to get sucked into the world of Christmas carols, hit mute, too.) You can maximize your firepower: Order a campfire scented candle from Yankee Candle, but definitely remember to blow it out before you go to bed.

Indoor s’mores. Yes they’re real, and yes they’re wonderful

No campfire would be complete without some campfire snacks. It goes without saying that s’mores deserve to be eaten at anything resembling camping, but since fire codes are a serious thing, there are two amazing ways to make them without setting your apartment ablaze. You’re going to need graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows. Lots of them.

Method One (hot)

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grab a baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil. Break the graham crackers into squares and place them on the foil. Break up the chocolate bars into desired amount and place on the graham crackers. Place one (or two) marshmallows on top of the chocolate. Place in the oven for about 4-5 minutes until the marshmallows get puffy and the tops get brown.

Method two (frozen)

For this one you need chocolate melts (find in the baking section of your grocery store). Follow the first 3 steps from method one. Instead of putting chocolate down next you are going to put the marshmallows down. Put them in the oven for 4-5 minutes. While they are cooking, put the chocolate melts into the microwave and have the chocolate melted by the time the s’mores come out. When they come out, spoon the melted chocolate over them.  Let them cool for about 15 minutes and put them in the freezer. To up the flavor factor, use caramel chocolate or add banana slices to the s’mores.

Get your ghost stories ready 

Any good campfire includes: games, activities, stories telling, singing and food. Since we already covered food with delicious s’mores and savory sandwiches, so let’s talk about the others. If you are camping with a roomie or BFF bring it back old school with a game of Never-Have-I-Ever. With a significant other you may want something a little more steamy like Truth or Dare. Once it gets a bit later in the night channel your inner “Are You Afraid of the Dark” and break out the ghost stories. Either come up with your own or if you’re trying not to scare yourself into not sleeping google “creepy things kids say” because while they are totally creepy they are also hilarious because they are kids and have no idea what they are saying. This is also the time when that annoying friend who always plays their guitar at inappropriate moments actually comes in handy, or you could just break out your secret Spice Girls playlist.

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