THE WORD: Samhainophobia

Jack-o’-lanterns, costume parties, an excuse to buy candy by the bucket… what’s not to love about Halloween? Originating in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain – when, it was believed, the souls of the dead walked among the living for one night a year – Halloween in its current pumpkin-carving, trick-or-treating, horror-movie-watching, ghost-story-telling form is arguably more of an American invention that is slowly making its way around the world, thanks to pop culture and social media. Or no thanks, if you ask anyone with Samhainophobia, an acute fear of Halloween. “Isn’t fear the point of Halloween?”, we hear you ask. While some of us find it fun to scare others (and ourselves) with creepy garden displays, haunted houses and terrifying costumes right out of the latest horror flick, some people experience real anxiety when faced with such frights, often the result of a past trauma related to Halloween. So this year, when you’re putting up your decorations and donning your most spine-tingling costume, just keep in mind that not everyone enjoys the spooky season, and try to go easy on that friend who clearly doesn’t want to walk through the haunted house or watch a horror movie marathon – they likely have their reasons.

Perfect If: You don’t “boo” other ways of enjoying autumn, like hay rides, apple-picking, leaf-peeping

THE SHOW: Lessons in Chemistry

An inspiring love story, a fight for gender equity, a celebration of 1950s aesthetics and an adorable dog are all the ingredients of good TV. Top it off with an Oscar-winning actress as the main star, and you’ve got the most anticipated show of the season: Lessons in Chemistry. Brie Larson stars as Elizabeth Zott, a chemist-turned-cooking-show-host set to challenge the patriarchal norms of her day, all while becoming a first-time mom and sharing her best science-based recipes with overlooked housewives. Adapted from Bonnie Garmus’s best-selling novel of the same name, Apple’s TV+ eight-episode limited series premieres 13 October, so you’d better start setting the (TV) table.

Perfect If: You’re craving a scientifically proven, yet emotionally compelling treat.

THE EVENT: Cavatast

This month, glass in hand, head to the Cava capital of the world – Catalonia’s Sant Sadurni d’Anoia – for the ultimate in effervescent culinary and cultural experiences. Bringing together the world’s best Cava producers along with foodies and oenophiles, Cavatast is a celebration of traditional Catalan culture, with the best of the fizzy industry included. This three-day festival, from 6 to 8 October, will feature tastings of local chocolates, Cava and other culinary specialties, in addition to live music, winery tours, exhibitions and workshops, all flavoured with the contagiously high spirits of Spanish street parties – in other words: simply unmissable.

Perfect If: You’re still thirsty after Oktoberfest and want some sparkly stuff.

THE DANCE EXPERIENCE: Black Sabbath – The Ballet

What do Ozzy Osbourne and relevé have in common? They both take centre stage at the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Black Sabbath – The Ballet is the company’s latest three-act show, directed by Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta and offering an unexpected but truly entertaining mix of pirouettes and air guitars alike. Performing this month at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and Sadler’s Wells, Acosta chose Black Sabbath as the influence – and soundtrack – for the show to celebrate the band’s legacy and the head-banging genre it created, while bringing together the usually disparate fans of metal and ballet into one unique experience. If classical dancers plié-ing to “Paranoid” and “Iron Man” still sounds confusing, you’ll have to see it for yourself – trust us, it’s rock music en pointe.

Perfect If: You’re too tough for blush-coloured leotards and tutus – or at least, you thought you were.

THE FILM: Killers Of The Flower Moon

Step into the Wild West of 1920s Oklahoma, where a chilling mystery unfolds. Martin Scorsese’s groundbreaking foray into the Western genre is bound to be a cinematic event like no other. Based on David Grann’s best-selling book, Killers of the Flower Moon delves into the haunting true story of the murderous ‘Reign of Terror’ inflicted upon members of the oil-rich indigenous Osage Nation. Featuring a star-studded cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Lily Gladstone, as well as familiar faces like Jesse Plemons and Brendan Fraser, the film promises unforgettable cinematography and performances when it premieres in theatres worldwide on 20 October. Consider this your (un)official invitation to witness history come alive by the hands of one of the silver screen’s last living titans.

Perfect If: To you, ‘De Niro’ and ‘DiCaprio’ are two more great actors in an amazing line-up. 

THE DOCUMENTARY: The Pigeon Tunnel

James Bond has nothing on John le Carré – which is why we’ll be tuning into The Pigeon Tunnel on 20 October. Filmmaker Errol Morris delves into the intricacies of the storied life and exciting career of David Cornwell, a.k.a the former spy known to the literary world as John le Carré, in this Apple TV+ documentary. Spanning six decades, prepare to be transported through time and into intrigue; the film presents le Carré’s “final and most personal” interview, interwoven with rare archival footage and captivating anecdotes. Set against the backdrop of the gripping Cold War era, this documentary traces the evolution of a former spy turned literary giant. We’re already on the edge of our seats.

Perfect If: You know that le Carré’s stories are so much more than “just” spy fiction.

THE SOUND: Taylor Swift’s ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’

October sees new albums from the likes of The Mountain Goats, James Blunt, Duran Duran and that one-hit-wonder extraordinaire Rick Astley, but if you ask us, the real gift this month is Taylor Swift’s re-recorded 1989. We know what you’re thinking: more Swift? Well, yes. Hear us out. We realise the media is at peak T-Swift saturation right now, but there’s good reason for it: the singer-songwriter has single-handedly broken more records than just about anyone in music history, and she continues to push the boundaries of what female artists can accomplish, all while fighting for streaming and royalty rights for musicians at every level. Plus, 1989 is simply a banger of an album packed with some of Swift’s top hits, including “Blank Space”, “Out of the Woods”, “Shake It Off”, “Bad Blood” and “Wildest Dreams”. 1989 (Taylor’s Version) will feature re-recorded versions of the original 16 songs, in addition to five never-before-heard tracks; in fact, Swift has said that this is her favourite re-record she’s ever done, because the five “from the vault” tracks are “so insane”. Swiftie or not, we recommend marking your calendar for 27 October.

Perfect If: You’re excited about attending the Eras tour – or failed to get tickets and still want to feel like part of the phenomenon.

THE COFFEE TABLE BOOK: Call It Home: The Details That Matter

Household name and pioneer of the laid-back boho Californian aesthetic, Amber Lewis is releasing her second home décor book on 17 October, with page after page of easy tips and tricks, visual inspiration and personal essays to get those creative juices flowing just in time for the cosy season. Call It Home: The Details That Matter is not just about choosing the right furniture or setting the right lighting: she shares all her shortcuts to maximise any space by considering the tiniest details, from the pleats of the drapes to the edges of the countertop and the fabrics of the rugs, all in service of the author’s signature style: cosy, eclectic, unique. Think of it as a printed version of your dream house Pinterest boards – and more.

Perfect If: Your place could use an easy seasonal revamp.

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