If you want to do something different on your next date night, try going for a spooky vibe. According to experts, spooky date nights are not only unique, but they can also boost your attraction and create intimacy between you and your partner. In some ways, it can even bond you closer together than a romantic date would. Whether you're looking for something to do during the Halloween season, or you're just in the mood for a good scare, there are many different ideas you can try to take your date night to the next level.
According to science, there's a really good reason why doing something scary makes for a good date. A 1974 study conducted by psychologists, Donald Dutton and Arthur Aron, found a connection between fear and attraction. In the study, participants who identified as men were split into two groups. One group was told to walk across a shaky suspension bridge while the other was told to walk across a stable one. As each participant crossed the bridge, they were approached by a person identifying as a woman.
Those who were under the fear-inducing conditions were significantly more likely to say that the woman was attractive and would ask her out on a date. Although there was likely some attraction already there, researchers found that the arousal the participants experienced actually had more to do with fear than attraction. Participants just attributed their racing heartbeat and feelings of nervousness to being enamored with the woman.
Some researchers call this phenomenon "misattribution of arousal." It's something that can make you feel like there's a spark with someone quickly. It doesn't necessarily mean that you'll fall in love or stay in love. But it can make you much more open to connecting with someone than a regular dinner date.
Here are some spooky date ideas that experts say can bring you and your date closer together.
1. Go To A Corn Maze Or A Haunted Hayride
As Laurie Berzack, MSW, matchmaker and dating coach tells Bustle, "Nothing brings out the best in people like getting fresh air and enjoying nature together." During the fall season, you can find a lot of haunted hayrides and corn mazes that you can go to. You may not even have to travel too far to find one.
"Getting lost together in a corn maze can be a great fun way to work together to achieve a goal," Michelle Fraley, relationship coach and owner of Spark Matchmaking & Relationship Coaching, LLC, tells Bustle. It's also a perfect way to create lots of physical closeness and will give you opportunities for "touching and stolen kisses."
2. Do A Zombie Apocalypse Scavenger Hunt
There's pretty much an app for everything. If you're looking for a spooky experience, there are apps for you. For instance, if you and your partner are into zombies, Fraley suggests a zombie scavenger experience. "Drop yourself in the middle of your city, download an app and work together to do your best to live through a Zombie Apocalypse," she says. "This game will produce lots of laughs, opportunities for teamwork and some spooky moments trying to outrun those pesky zombies." You can make it even more fun by making it a big group date. It's definitely something that can bring you all closer together.
3. Go To A Drive-In And Watch A Scary Movie
Watching a scary movie, especially on a first date, can be great for obvious reasons. For instance, being scared just gives you a good excuse to cuddle up to someone. You're less likely to overthink whether you should or shouldn't touch them first. As Emily Lyons, relationship expert and CEO of Lyons Elite Matchmaking, tells Bustle, "All the usual awkward first touching goes right out the window." Watching a scary movie at a drive-in will give you a more unique experience than sitting in a movie theater. But there's nothing wrong with cuddling on the couch and working your way through horror classics either.
4. Visit A Haunted House
Just like watching horror movies, going to a haunted house is a classic spooky date idea. According to Fraley, this is not for the faint of heart. "But this spooky date idea will certainly get your blood pumping," she says. "Think lots of screams, shrieks and holding on to each other for dear life." Scary experiences can bond people together. Once you've gone through the house together and made it out alive, you can go celebrate by grabbing something to eat and talking about your experience.
5. Take A Class With A Halloween Twist
If you're looking for a hands-on experience and you like being creative, take a class together. It's even more fun during the Halloween season because a lot of places will have seasonal offerings. For instance, if you do a little searching around your area, you may find a cooking class that will teach you how to put together a haunted dinner party. Painting with a Twist also offers seasonal options, where you can paint spooky pictures. As a 2019 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that for couples who took a painting class together, their bodies released more oxytocin, also known as "the love hormone." Because of that, it made them feel closer together. It really doesn't matter what you do. "The important part is to spend time together and have some fun," Christine Scott-Hudson, marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle.
6. Go On A Haunted City Tour
"Take a tour of where murders took place or legendary haunts throughout your local city," Rachel Federoff and Destin Pfaff, dating coaches and matchmakers, tell Bustle. "Hold hands and hide your eyes as you both feel the creepy energies." You can take a guided tour, or even plan one together. Either way, it will give you an opportunity to bond over something you both have an interest in. It's always a great idea to explore the town you live in. Even if you've been there forever, you never know what else you can learn. If you get uneasy at the idea of going to a haunted place, Federoff and Pfaff also suggest taking a drive and looking at all the houses that go all out for Halloween.
7. Host A Halloween Party And Share Scary Stories With Friends
Planning a party with your partner will definitely test your teamwork skills. "Use your combined creativity and social skills to host a 'killer' Halloween-themed party," Fraley says. "You could choose a traditional costume party or mix it up with a themed party or murder mystery dinner. Either way, you and your guests will have a spooky, fun time."
During your party you can have a backyard scary movie screening or you can exchange scary stories in the dark with friends. Scott-Hudson also suggests read each other’s tarot cards. "Ask questions for your highest good and see what the future holds," she says.
8. Go To An Amusement Park Or Carnival With Special Halloween Events
During the Halloween season, major amusement parks will go all-out with decorations, treats, and nighttime events. Some even have haunted mazes you can go through with your partner. Going on a rollercoaster or other thrill rides can also give you that feeling of fear that can help to boost attraction. If you like the idea of going to a carnival or an amusement park for a date, there are some things you should keep in mind. "Just make sure you ask first because some folks can't handle it," Melissa Hobley, dating expert and global chief marketing officer at OkCupid, tells Bustle. "Also, don't make this a first date. It's too long a commitment and if there's no chemistry, you're stuck with likely a full day."
9. Find A Local Coffee Shop Or Library That Does Live Readings
"Check out a coffee house or library that has a live reading of spooky classics like Edgar Allen Poe," Federoff and Pfaff say. "You’ll both be transported to an imaginary world full of fright. When that adrenaline pumps, it will bring you closer." Afterwards, you can take a walk together and exchange your own scary stories. If there aren't any local places that offer these types of events, you can always spend a night in reading scary stories to each other.
10. Have A Sunset Picnic In The Cemetery
If you're looking to do something intimate, bake some seasonal desserts and have a romantic picnic in a spooky location like a cemetary. "Watching the sun go down as you both sit on a blanket together among the dearly departed is not only eerily romantic but allows you both to get close without anyone around — at least above ground," Federoff and Pfaff say.
If you're not into the cemetery idea, another suggestion is to have a picnic at night in the forest. According to Scott-Hudson, a picnic in the middle of the forest with only the light of the moon shining down on you can be the spookiest.
11. Play Scary Video Games In The Dark
Playing a scary video game with the lights turned off can have a similar effect as watching a scary movie. According to Berzack, doing activities that bring out fear will also bring out your vulnerabilities. "Being vulnerable with someone else can't help but bring you closer," Berzack says. "Even just jumping during a scary scene, or screaming together and then laughing, are fun ways to knock down walls that can keep people from getting closer."
12. Book A Night At A Haunted Hotel
Getting away together, even if it's just for a weekend, can bring you closer and put the spark back into your relationship. As April Davis, relationship expert and founder of LUMA - Luxury Matchmaking, tells Bustle, "It’s easier to keep your focus on your significant other if you don’t go to a place where 'everybody knows your name.' Trying something new can be a fun way to create a connection and you can share the great (or disastrous) experience and laugh about it later on." Sometimes you just need a little break from reality to appreciate your partner again. If you're looking to take your weekend away to the next level, look up haunted hotels and book a night there. You never know what your experience will be.
13. Go On A Ghost Hunt
If you've always wanted to be a Ghostbuster, there are apps out there that can make that happen. For instance, Let's Roam is an adventure and activity app that can lead you and your partner on a ghost hunt. "An extreme experience, such as a very scary movie, right off the bat will bond you," Lyons says. "You've experienced some intense emotions no doubt, and it's also a great conversation piece after. Also, feeling such emotions will make it more memorable in your psyche."
Spooky dates can be a lot of fun, and it can bring you and your partner closer together. There are so many different things you can do not only during Halloween season, but year round. These are just some ideas you might want to try.
Dutton, D.G., & Aron, A.P. (1974). Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1975-03016-001
Melton, K.K., Larson, M, & Boccia, M.L. (2019). Examining Couple Recreation and Oxytocin Via the Ecology of Family Experiences Framework. Journal of Marriage and Family, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jomf.12556
Laurie Berzack, MSW, matchmaker and dating coach
Michelle Fraley, relationship coach, owner of Spark Matchmaking & Relationship Coaching, LLC
Emily Lyons, Founder and CEO of Lyons Elite Matchmaking
Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist, owner of Create Your Life Studio
Rachel Federoff and Destin Pfaff, dating coaches and founders of Love and Matchmaking
Melissa Hobley, global chief marketing officer at OkCupid
April Davis, Owner and Founder of LUMA - Luxury Matchmaking