They say the couple that screams together stays together! OK, no one really says that, but we bet it’s true! In the spirit of the Halloween season, why not inject a little haunted fun into your relationship. Here are some spooky All Hallows Eve-themed date ideas and even where best to enjoy them around the country.
A Big Haunted Attraction
The haunted house is a staple of Halloween-time fun. But today’s seasonal attractions feature more than just a pubescent boy hiding in the corner ready to jump out and scare you. Today’s houses are high-concept attractions that are more performance art than cheap thrill. And based on your relationship’s tolerance for frights, a haunted house can be a good way to get the blood pumping—hard. The massive Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, which was once home to the likes of Al Capone, opens its doors every fall as a one-of-a-kind haunted attraction called Terror Behind the Walls.
Nearby, in Sinking Springs, P.A., the multi-attraction Shocktoberfest has made headlines with their Naked and Scared challenge. Yes, it’s just like it sounds (but no sex allowed). But for an experience that will haunt you dreams—and provide you with dinner party fodder for years to come—check out the brutal Blackout Haunted House in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Not only does this haunted attraction live up to its name but you’ll have to do it completely alone. That’s sort of not really in the spirit of a date, but it’s the one-of-a-kind traumatic experience that can only bring a couple closer together—once they’ve finished being scared on their own it’s better to have someone to comfort you.
Horror on the Big Screen
What is more classic than taking your boo to a scary movie? Check out the latest in cinematic terror at Los Angeles’s Screamfest, the oldest and largest horror-film festival running through Oct 17, while Boston-based horror fans can’t miss the Coolidge Theater’s 13th Annual Halloween Horror Marathon on October 26. And for horror fans who’ve seen it all, don’t miss the B-Movie Celebration just outside of Chicago, for rare screenings of forgotten gems like Chopping Mall and Grizzly.
A Tell-Tale Heart
If your idea of a hot date is less a stationary screening and more of a 30-mile bike ride, then a Halloween health kick is just the thing. A zombie-themed race like Run For Your Lives ( Brooklyn on October 26) or the Zombie Run (Portland, OR., also on the 26th) is fun, fit and frightening. But if you’re the kind of couple who prefers to walk your way to better bodies, why not spend a day finding your way out of a corn maze: the three-mile Great Vermont Corn Maze outside of Burlington takes most adults between two and three hours to complete!
Face Your Foodie Fears
If the torment of a haunted house lacks the sophistication your dating life is use to, opt for a wine-filled dinner-for-two that doubles as a spine-tingling culinary adventure.
Challenge your arachnophobia at Typhoon, a pan-Asian restaurant with a picturesque view of the Santa Monica airport. Their menu features a rotating selection of insect delicacies like silkworm pupa stir fried and served with dipping sauces.
If Achluophobia is more your thing, you’ll love Opaque, a restaurant franchise with locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas that serves a 4-course prix fixe meal in total darkness. Once you overcome your fear of the dark, you’ll be able to enjoy a meal with a heightened sense of taste and smell. And no one’s going to see you playing footsie under the table.
The Costumed Affair
If all this blood, guts, and monsters is too much for your stomach, don’t worry, there is a whole other side to Halloween—dressing up! New Orleans, LA., and Key West, FL, are known for their outdoor Halloween parades and are a great place to show off your clever couples costume and gawk at the mind-boggling creativity of others. (Sadly, New York’s iconic Village Halloween Parade is in jeopardy of cancellation, but you can help save it by donating to their Kickstarter campaign.)
If a dance party is more your speed, dress down for the slightly erotic Fetish & Fantasy Halloween Ball in Las Vegas. Sophisticated celebrity-spotting revelers should check out the KCRW Masquerade Ball Los Angeles, which features five themed rooms of music, magic and costumed mayhem. And Hocus Pocus uber fans will delight to know there really is a big Halloween costume ball in Salem, Mass. It’s called the Salem Witches Halloween Ball and this year it’ll be held on October 25 at the Salem’s Hawthorne Hotel.
Benjamin Solomon is a freelance writer based in New York City. He was most recently the Editor-in-Chief of Next Magazine. He has contributed to Vanity Fair, Playbill, Details, Out Magazine, Time Out New York, Today.com and has appeared on Biography Channel, East Village Radio and in Wallpaper magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @benjaminsolomon.