While funny in premise, Amanda Deibert’s article on Gomez and Morticia Addams unmatched romantic love holds a whole lot of truth in it. The creepy couple might be unorthodox in their décor choices, family bonding activities, and household pet, but few could question that their devotion is sincere, their passion is strong, and I’m surmising that any married couple with children would be lucky to have their sex life.
The real underlying mainstream presumption I’d like to target here is the idea that spookiness inherently runs counter to romanticness. I’d argue that, indeed, October is for romance, and the fact that it’s also “spooky season” only further reinforces—rather than deters from—the truth in this assessment.
First, like Amanda, I have an October wedding date—and so do many other brides, including my own sister. We hear of May or June as the start of “wedding season,” but from fashion to catering to cakes, my friends in the bridal industry have told me that October is a wildly popular month to get hitched. Indeed, for 2022, October 22 is the most popular wedding date of the year. I’d argue that the coziness of fall is imminently more romantic than a spring or summer wedding, where, although you’ll have flowers in full bloom and the blessing of nature’s bounty and all that jazz, you’ll also have mosquitos, allergies, and possible heat stroke. An autumnal wedding is much more amenable to wearing a full suit, and the crisp air and changing leaves make for a stunning backdrop. (Or, if you’re having a tropical destination wedding like I am, it will offer a last chance at a tan.) Plus, for all the single guests out there, October is the “tryout phase” of cuffing season: and even if you’re just coupling up for the winter, there’s still something romantic about the potential of finding your match for even a short longish term.
To help myself feel less basic, I will note that the month is historically relevant to my relationship—my hubby and I first became “serious” for the long-term in this month, so it’s nice to make it official during pumpkin season, too. To us, October has always been romantic: and now it’s even more so. The other brides are just stealing my idea. (Side note: we happen to be “stealing” Halloween weekend with our October 29 date, so when people ask me what my costume is this year, I say I’m going as a virgin. Ya know, white dress and all that.)
But beyond the bridal inclination to make it all about me—I’m allowed!—there are other more universal reasons fear and romance go together—and I’m not just talking about a fear of commitment. (Rim shot!)
Think of the old teenage trope of taking a date to a scary movie. You cuddle close together, grab each other’s hand, maybe even hide your eyes on your partner’s shoulder. Given all the Halloween-themed social events, haunts, and movies, October is prime time for dating: being scared gives you all kinds of good excuses for physical contact.
There’s also some good neuroscience behind taking your date to a spooky scene rather than a candles-and-flowers moment if you want to boost your romantic chances. Essentially, the rush of a jump scare from a movie or haunted house gets your brain chemicals going, priming them for infatuation. Essentially, as The Telegraph’s Richard Gray once covered, you’re way more likely to find success from riding a rollercoaster rather than reading a sonnet, since the danger and excitement of the ride releases hormones associated with infatuation. And there’s actual hard science research that backs up the idea that high anxiety conditions correlate with heightened sexual attraction.
Of course, I’d recommend taking this with a grain of salt: if your sweetheart has a massive anxiety condition or has panic attacks at the sight of gore, proceed with caution. But a little light-hearted spookiness, a low-key corn maze with some eerie music, or a PG-13 thriller might be just enough to get your heart racing for an October-appropriate date night. If the reports are right, adding a little creepy cobwebs to your candlelit dinner might be the best way to really get your romantic interest’s heart racing.