The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake next to a heart made out of bat shadows

Halloween* Activities & Romance Tropes: Conspiring Fates

The Atlas Six by Olivie BlakeLove Halloween? Us too, and “us” (of course) includes bestselling author of The Atlas Six (now available in trade paperback) and peerless essayist / suggester of things-to-do, Olivie Blake.

We are THRILLED to have her on our blog for not one, but THREE features where she’ll give a romance trope rundown, and provide a spooky scary Halloween activity to match!

Check it out part one right here, and watch out for subsequent additions to these series, which you can expect to see roll out per the following timeline:

Conspiring Fatesur here already lol
So Wrong It’s Right – Wednesday, October 19
Hits Different When It’s SFF – Tuesday, October 25

By Olivie Blake

(*Let it be known that provided one is not a coward, these activities need not be singularly confined to Halloween. I fully expect to see this post adapted for St. Patrick’s Day, Flag Day, and International Women’s Day.)

I’ll tell you the truth: I love love. And I don’t just mean wholesome love. As someone who describes their own work as both a six-person love story and a deranged family drama, I find that there’s nothing more satisfying than throwing people together and watching sparks fly (and on occasion watching those sparks become arson).

Of course, I’m also a human being, and while some might find it overly sentimental to be thus taken with the perennial pursuit of happily ever after, I would argue that nothing concerns us more as a collective. Is there anything more defining of our species than the desire to live, laugh, love? As an Instagrammable wall near my usual coffee shop sans serif-ly puts it, people are the best thing that can happen to anyone—which, to me, is precisely as true as the inverse is true. 

In any case, we’re well into the season of the macabre (or Lit Girl Autumn, for all those who celebrate) and for some of us, Halloween is our Super Bowl, our Joker, and our Valentine’s Day all rolled into one. In an attempt to help you navigate the complexities of finding love amongst the mortals (or not—I see you, paranormal romance junkies!) I’ve devised the following list of suggested Halloween activities based on your favorite romantic tropes. 

Starting things off with a group of tropes I’ll theatrically call Conspiring Fates:

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Friends to Lovers

If your favorite trope is friends-to-lovers, you love seeing a new side to someone who’s always been there. Lingering. Haunting you, like a ghost. But in a hot way! Anyway, since you’re all about the levels to it, why not take one of your unlikely sides out for the night? Skip the party and go roller derby. Did you know there are basically no rules? (I’m being told that’s inaccurate but it sounds open to interpretation.) Better yet, invite a friend you’ve told yourself you’d only sleep with if you were stranded on a desert island because honey, we’re in tropeville now. Imagine the prospects… the adrenaline rushing through your veins, the carnal intimacy of recreational violence, a moment locking eyes with your close platonic friend over the sensual application of an ice pack… Oh god—don’t look now, but that person we hate from school/work/the evil empire/the deli is here, probably stalking you. Ugh. Let’s get out of this fantasy and move on. 

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Unrequited Love

Oh, so you love pain? That’s cute. Your Halloween plans are an evening of primal screams! In case you don’t know what a primal scream is (though you probably do, since your preferred form of romance is Suffering™) it’s when you go somewhere you won’t be arrested or institutionalized to engage in what Merriam-Webster calls “a violent outpouring of raw emotion” (sidebar, that definition is metal as hell) until everything seems, you know, generally all right again. As the mother of a toddler, I engage in many primal screams and can tell you that when done correctly, it really does approximate orgasm. A similar energy—should you be confined indoors on account of inclement weather or Victorian seaside convalescence—would be a cathartic cry, which is essentially the same thing but weeping. Though, try not to disturb your neighbor, who—oh come on, it’s your coworker/rival inheritor to the Genovian throne! Of course it is. Ugh, we hate them. Moving on.

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Memory Loss

You like things tragic, don’t you, but with a little bit of gaming the system for that happily ever after workaround. For you, might I recommend a seance? I know it seems a little on the nose, what with it being Halloween, but listen, nobody ever complains about presents at Christmas. The truth is you’re a touch greedy, aren’t you? You want the angst of unrequited love plus the benefit of falling in love twice, which is basically like wishing for more wishes. Wow, you’ve really talked me around to this, I like your thinking. Honestly, why shouldn’t you have it all? Summon the spirits babe, we’re dialing up the other side to find out what consequence for romantic hubris awaits us. 

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Star-Crossed Romance

There’s a very fine line between this and unrequited love in terms of pain, because while the star-crossed lover at least gets to have something mutual (a definite plus), it likely comes with the side effect of a tragic death (:/). But hey, who doesn’t love movie night at the cemetery! It’s the perfect Halloween activity, because 1) there might be vengeful spirits 2) sitting under the stars is serene and good for your mental health 3) the spirits might not be that vengeful 4) it’s romantic because it reminds us that in the end we return to the earth! Of course, this is a fairly popular Halloween activity so you may run into someone you don’t like, such as that coworker/former friend turned dragon gem traitor/rival restaurateur who has shown up to this looking all breezy and sexy. Look at them over there being disgustingly winsome/revoltingly stoic/tall! Excuse me, my friend and I came here to be hot goths in peace and we are leaving.

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Second Chance at Love

This trope is having a bit of a renaissance this year, owing to what some might call a Persuasion adaptation and others a yassified travesty (I take no position on this matter of course, I am merely your romance concierge). For those who love this particular trope, might I suggest engaging in one do-over to spark another? We all have the one who got away, of course, and in all likelihood, we were also all once the subjects of an institution that now needs money, man hours, and time. If relationship karma works the way Hollywood has convinced me it probably does, then why not kick it off by volunteering at your former elementary school? Spend the evening with several small children (dressed as the characters from the franchise starring a handsomeish white guy and his friends) because hey, you never know what may lead you back to the road not taken. Besides, not only will you do some good for your community and potentially cross paths with the love of your life, you might also run into your mom’s friend Susan, who really likes your hair this way and thinks it’s great you’ve finally made something of yourself! Thanks, Susan, we will definitely friend your nephew on Facebook, his comedy does sound edgy and his podcast seems great!

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Olivie Blake is the pseudonym of Alexene Farol Follmuth, a lover and writer of stories. She has penned several indie SFF projects, including the webtoon Clara and the Devil with illustrator Little Chmura and the BookTok-viral Atlas series. As Alexene, she has written a young adult rom-com, My Mechanical Romance. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, new baby, and rescue pit bull.

Purchase The Atlas Six Here:

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