We’ve all been there – it’s a Friday night and you’re sitting around with some friends or maybe your current love interest. The excitement of another weekend glimmers on the horizon, the night is young, the moon is full, and yet a question the size of Frankenstein’s monster sits heavy in the air: what is there to do?
Money is always an issue when it comes to social activities, especially if you are a student or facing times of financial strife. The economy remains in a precarious state, and many of us are looking for ways to share good times without spending too much money. It can also be a bit of a snore to get into the routine of having dinner and going to the movies.
Lifestyle choices can also play a factor in how you spend your time. Some of us do not drink nor use illegal substances. There may be geographical complications such as there barely being any ‘scene’ where you live, or not being of age to enter any clubs. This is why it is so important to be creative and make your own fun.
Whether your goal for the evening is to bond with friends or ignite romance with someone special, the following ideas are meant to appeal to everyone with a taste for the dark side of life. Suggestions I have made here are all relatively low-cost. They are also meant to be tailored by your imagination and tastes. Before you know it, you’ll wonder how you were ever bored.
For those of romantic interest
Have a picnic with the stars. Grab your sweetie for a midnight picnic in a serene (but safe) location, such as the woods, the beach, or on a pier. Get all dressed up if you are feeling fancy. Bring flashlights or candles, sandwiches, chips, cookies, fruit, and wine (or sparkling apple cider). After feasting, lie under the stars and cuddle.
Make it a themed movie night. Even if you want to stick with one genre of film, this can be very fun. Pick a theme and then both of you can pick a movie that fits into that theme. For example, within the realm of horror films you may choose zombies. Following both films, have a discussion about which one was better.
Learn together. Visit a museum for a special exhibit (previous dark exhibits in NYC museums have focused on Tim Burton and paranormal photography), see a local play, or pick a skill you both want to learn (like cooking or photography).
Look into free activities in your community. Visit your local library for free programs like concerts, cooking classes, book discussions, and movie viewings. Best of all, libraries are always open to suggestions for new programs. Engaging in mutual interests will help you bond as a couple and meet other couples with those interests.
Get lost. Go for a moonlit walk around a nearby town or city. Make it a point to go somewhere you’ve never navigated around and explore when the world is asleep.
Be a living romance novel. Dress up in your gothic finery and cook for each other. Serve your feast in a dark room with candlelight and soft music playing. Take your time enjoying every bite and living in the moment. Then take a bath together with floating black candles, rose petals, and sexy dark music playing in the background. If you’ve been together for a while, spend the time reminiscing about past memories together. What spooky activities can you recreate or add to in order to reignite the excitement of newness?
For those of platonic interest
Organize a clothing swap party. Have an old pair of spiky boots that no longer thrill you? Did you go on a shopping binge during a post-Halloween sale only to realize you hate that orange stripey sweater when you got it home? This is a great way to have fun, update your wardrobe, and save lots of money. You will be giving your spooky gear a loving new home and acquire new items that you may have admired in your friends’ closets. (Bonus points if any of your friends are alternative models whom used that vinyl miniskirt for a photo shoot that one time!) This idea also works well for CDs and jewelery you may have outgrown.
Bake a spooky cake. Baking can be quite the bonding experience, especially when making a cake from scratch. Any self-respecting Halloween book will have many ideas for scary cake designs that you can use any time of the year. Bleeding hearts, eyeballs, hairy arachnids and tombstones are just a few options for charming cake adornments. Think of a multi-layered cake as a delicious work of art. Photograph it when you are done and impress all your friends.
Have a game night with a group of friends. Have everyone bring something to share with the other guests – snacks, drinks, board games, video games. Take a vote on what to play first, and maybe even offer prizes to the winner(s) – something simple like candy or slightly bigger like a gift card.
Make your own trivia game. Ahead of time, the host can create short multiple-round games based on trivia on all sorts of topics. Create a horror movie quiz or use your music library to create a round of “Complete the Lyric” or “Name That Tune.” This will likely turn out more fun than any store-bought game because you are keeping friends’ interests in mind when coming up with questions.
Have a crafty night. Browse DIY sites (like Etsy) and articles, then pick a project that interests you. Raid your local craft store for supplies to make anything from Victorian chokers to leopard-print tote bags. The possibilities are endless, friends can offer each other feedback on your creations, and you will end the evening with something uniquely wearable.
Be an interpreter. Choose a song or poem that you and your friend(s) mutually appreciate and make a video for it. Combine your different interpretations of its meaning and then use costumes to express it. Next stop, YouTube!
Re-live your childhood. Whip out all the silly little things you would use to pass the time when you were a kid. Play games like Simon Says, MASH, Mad Libs, Hangman, 7Up, Red Rover, etc. Eat grilled cheese, watch old cartoons, visit your old grade school’s playground. Listen to only 80s and 90s songs. Watch old horror films that gave you nightmares then but most likely make you giggle now. Bonus points if you get in a round of Twister.
Go on a real adventure. Check out books about haunted places or hidden local secrets, like “Weird England” or “Weird California” to discover things you never knew about your area. Visit some of these places or plan a road trip.
Have more clever ways to pass the time? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org