10 Frights Scarier Than Halloween

Halloween and horror have always been for the gays. Unfortunately, I am not one of those gays.

Haunted houses and horror nights legitimately scare me, so much so I’ve taken a few hits to my social life. Ghosts and gremlins are all scary, but the world we live in is undeniably scarier. Aside from the obvious existential and political dread we all carry, I wanted to share some lighter, less intense things that still indeed give me a jump scare.

1. The aftermath of Rat Girl Summer

We wreaked havoc on our summer, and now we are experiencing the consequences. We threw caution to the wind every sunny summer day, making sure to prioritize ourselves, our hungry tummies, and our curiosities. As we fully embrace the cozy vibes of fall, we will most likely need to retrace our scurrying little steps to make some amends, heal, or just pick up the pizza residue. For example, my casual dating for fun mentality has suddenly become a full-on monogamous relationship, and my body is trying to catch up with my brain and heart. I also just need to deep-clean all my carpets and car surfaces. There will always be part of a french fry living in all those little crevices. At least we have Fuck it All Fall.

2. Dirty nails

I don’t just mean unwashed hands (in 2023!?!), but dirt and grime under the fingernails. I will admit I lived most of my young adult life not really caring, but then I became a sexual queer being and that all changed. It’s now one of the first things I notice about a potential suitor. Y’all already know why.

3. My bank account

We are all feeling it right now. Some months are scarier than others, but it’s particularly frightening when you can’t even open your credit card apps out of intense fear you are indeed very screwed over. This type of fear is present all year round, but what elevates the queasy feelings is the awareness that the holiday season is upon us. My finances are not financing in large part due to my own undertaking of a reckless Rat Girl Summer. So, here I am, a few weeks out from Halloween trying to figure out an extremely unique costume I can conjure up from my very basic closet that’s also work appropriate, because I sure as hell can’t afford to go to an actual Halloween party outside of working hours.

4. Uncuffed jeans

We’ve all tried to sus someone out for queer vibes. One of the first things I look for is cuffed sleeves, cuffed jeans, really cuffed anything. So what happens when you’re flirting with that one hot person at the vegan coffee shop and their jeans aren’t cuffed?! The horror!!!! It’s fall, and unless you live in the Southwest or work a completely outdoor job in the heat, why are you not wearing your flannels, beanies, and cuffed attire? It’s my number-one go to in searching for queer signs, so when all the external flags are flagging and the cuffing isn’t there, my anxiety oscillates between feeling bad for assuming things but also…that could’ve been the love of my life?!

5. U-Hauling

I know we all joke about this, but the concept of moving all your stuff in with a person you’ve only known for a few months is actually terrifying. I definitely sound like your mom right now, but why would you give up your own space, money, and freedom for someone you’ve known for three months and fell in love with after a week?! I watch enough crime and murder documentaries to know we are still very much in serial killer territory in the first six months. I sorta kinda U-Hauled once, and looking back on that time in my life feels very similar to walking through a haunted house where all the jump scares are red flags of a codependent, toxic relationship I can so clearly see now.

6. A cis straight barista

This is similar for #4 but with the added pressure of coffee quality. I feel like it’s an agreed upon fact that queer baristas just make better coffee, better lattes, better everything really. Even if we want to splurge and get a pumpkin spice latte, we need the assurance that the barista will indeed ask if we want oat milk. Of course, we won’t ever know someone’s gender or sexuality unless they tell us, but that’s the scariest part about your local coffee shop barista — we will never know…if they’re the love of your life!

7. Back to school season

For those of us who don’t like children, this season can offer some relief from all the kids running amok over the summer. For teachers, nurses, school administrators, and pretty much everyone that interacts with children, back to school season means sickness, flu, infections, and disease. As if we aren’t already still dealing with COVID, we also have to anticipate a more intense flu season on top of all the usual weird germ stuff that kids pass around. I only started working with kids this year and got a bad case of strep throat. The last time I had that was probably when I was an actual child. Most of us love the children in our lives, but we all know you question your life choices — if only for a moment — when you’re wrapped in a blanket but also sweating profusely while hunched over the toilet seat.

8. Reading WebMD during back to school season

If you’re queer, germ-conscious, and anxious like me, then I know you’ve already Googled your symptoms and treatments this flu season. This is truly the scariest thing on this list, because somehow the article always confirms you have something much worse than what you actually have. Just last night, I was looking on WebMD for some sort of relief from my inflamed nodes (I got the flu and COVID vaccines a few days ago), and the only two suggested treatment options were warm compresses or chemo.

9. Questionable leftovers

Let’s be honest, I most definitely have that one pickle jar experiment from Rat Girl Summer hiding in the back of my fridge. I also have random slices of cheese, that spaghetti from two weeks ago, and that oat milk from two months ago. The thing is, I don’t want to waste food, but I’m also germ-conscious and anxious (as previously mentioned), so these items even existing are terrifying as it is, But then I avoid my cleaning responsibilities, forget about these items, and become re-traumatized a month later when I can’t tell if it’s spinach or mold.

10. Meeting your new partner’s best friend

Tis the season for cuffing, which means it’s the season for meeting friends and family. The first impressions are always scary, but what’s even scarier is meeting THE best friend. You know, the one who has thoroughly creeped on you in every corner of the internet and threatens the next level of hell if you ever hurt their bff. Okay, sometimes it’s not that serious, but it puts a lot of pressure on you, the innocent and loving new SO! My true Halloween scare this month was meeting my new partner’s best friend. The actual dinner we had together was totally fine, but the anxiety of knowing she wanted to meet me to sus me out is enough anxiety for spooky season.

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Em Win

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Em now lives in Los Angeles where she does many odd jobs in addition to writing. When she's not sending 7-minute voice messages to friends and family, she enjoys swimming, yoga, candle-making, tarot, drag, and talking about the Enneagram.

Em has written 71 articles for us.


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