A Dating Glossary To Survive Spooky Season

With Halloween just around the corner, a couple’s costume is not completely out of the question — you just need to find the right person to be the Worm With a Mustache to your Ariana.

But there’s ghosts, ghouls and fuckboys galore. It feels like every time you leave the house, you run into another ex or worse, the person you pied by saying you just weren’t in the right place to date someone right now — is now a better time??

To avoid getting zombied, cloaked, or Caspered, I’ve rounded up all the Halloween dating vocab you need to get through dating these coming weeks. And if you don’t get delulu, you might even end up cuffed with a Travis to your Taylor!

Breadcrumbing (verb)

Hansel and Gretel was more than a dark fairytale we told kids to keep them in check — it was foreshadowing the horrors of dating in the 21st century. They literally paved the way with breadcrumbing, and now we’re all reaping the results of it.

Breadcrumbing is when someone leads you on by dropping little morsels of interest. You’ll hear nothing for days and swear you’re about to block them when you suddenly get a cute little message. Maybe they’ll send a Taylor Swift Tweet and say it made them think of you. Of course, it did.

A situationship can live for months on breadcrumbing. You’ll be treated to silence or negging, only to go out for a drink, get an unexpected phone call, or get a fire emoji reaction to your Instagram story. It’s an exhausting way to live.

Caspering (verb)

As you can imagine, Casper the Friendly Ghost is not very good at ending his relationships, so caspering refers to when someone lets you down gently. They don’t want a relationship, and so instead of ghosting, they simply communicate this like a mature adult. 

I’ll admit that caspering is rare to find, but when you do, take it with a raised chin and be grateful that things could end this amicably. And if you’re the one doing the dumping, I recommend caspering it, so you don’t have to sprint and hide when you inevitably run into them in a grocery store.

Cookie-jarring (verb)

Back in the old days, people used to actually keep cookies in jars. I know, I know, crazy talk. They didn’t just demolish the entire packet as they binged a season of Gilmore Girls. But this mythical legend is where the term cookie-jarring originates from.

You’d go for the cookie jar when you wanted a pick-me-up, similarly to how you’ll reach for your backup option when you need a sexual pick-me-up. If you’re feeling rejected, just saw an Insta announcement that your ex is engaged (even though he claimed that marriage was an outdated concept, not that I care!!!), or it’s just been a rough week, you’ll engage in cookie-jarring.

You’ll reply to that one guy who is a little too friendly on Instagram and calls you an “angel” unironically, or you’ll flick through your metaphorical Little Black Book for an uncomplicated, good time. 

But just like your fingers brushing against an empty cookie jar, this can leave you feeling even more dejected. Aim for a fresh pack of cookies and don’t look back!

Cloaking (verb)

Did you order the Ghosting package? Well, great news, you’ve just been upgraded to the Cloaking package!

Alongside all of the benefits of being ghosted, like having no replies to your messages and being sent straight to voicemail, you now get to be blocked on all social media platforms as well. So you can’t even snoop on them and confirm that they’re still alive, and oh, dating that friend they told you not to worry about. (“She’s like a sister to me!”)

Cloaking is when it all goes dark. No light to be seen, no stories to be stalked, and no chance of an explanation. Are they alive? Are they on an exploratory mission to Mars with Elon Musk? Are they actually married with seven kids? No clue! It’s tough to experience, but the best way to get over a crappy person. Let the only cloak this season be a way to cover up your sexy costume until you reach the party.

Cuffing (verb)

There’s always a place for handcuffs at Halloween, and with cuffing, they can stick around even longer.

It’s getting colder, and aside from a snug sweater and uggs, you might look for a bae to keep you warm these winter months. It gets harder to meet people and find hookups when you barely leave your home in winter, so the perfect solution is to have someone on call. 

Now is the time to start searching for your cuffing partner and get them through orientation in time for a successful winter partnership. It even includes Christmas gifts and a New Year’s Eve kiss, leaving you free for a feral rat summer. When cuffing, always avoid making any plans that extend past spring, so no tickets to Cabo or 4th of July BBQs. 

Delulu (adjective)

I learned this fabulous term from my bestie, and now I’m throwing it out left, right, and center. I truly am a delulu girl living in her own delulu world. As you might assume, it’s a shortening of the term ‘delusional,’ which means exactly that. Being delulu is the equivalent of holding unrealistic or overly idealistic beliefs or fantasies. 

For example, one might say that I’m delulu in thinking that Stacy from Love is Blind will ever reach out to me. Or you might be delulu in thinking that your ex who cheated on you twice has turned over a new leaf and is ready to do things right this time. 

It’s a fond term but also a brutal one. It’s commonly used to highlight awareness of our flaws, just like you’re delulu if you think you’ll be the only one dressed up as Barbie this Halloween, even if you go for Emma Mackey’s maid costume. 

Haunting (verb)

Halloween dating is upon us, and I can guarantee that the summer has opened the floodgates to many incidents of haunting. This is when a person ghosts a romantic partner and yet somehow has the audacity to still follow you on social media and occasionally react to things.

You couldn’t reply to my text message telling you I might be knocked up, but you have no issue liking my hilarious tweets. I see how it is.

This absence of communication and yet lingering presence replicates the feeling of being haunted. They’re not trying to start things up again; they just want to remind you that they still exist. So, just like you would with an actual ghost in your home, it’s time for an exorcism. Remove their ass from your socials! Be gone, demon!

Mummying (verb)

No, this doesn’t refer to when a man insists that you mother him and yet simultaneously resents you for it. Mummying is when the person you’re seeing wraps themselves up emotionally, similar to wrapping themselves in these bandages for protection. This allows them to avoid being open or the least bit vulnerable in the relationship.

Mummying can look like someone changing the subject as soon as a personal topic arises, turning questions into jokes, or sighing whenever you try to get answers. You’ll realize they’ve been mummying when months have passed and you still don’t know the smallest details about them. Do they have any siblings? Do they believe that the moon landing was faked? Do they hope to have children one day? Where were they on January 6th?

Rizz (adjective)

The best thing someone can have nowadays is rizz. Short for charisma, rizz is that charm and smooth-talking quality. It comes out best in flirting or bantering. 

Think of those guys that can just talk you into anything. You’re just there to get your daily latte, and somehow you’re leaving with a quadruple shot cold brew and the entire display of croissants. 

One of the best examples of rizz is Jack Harlow. (He’s just got it.) Every clip of him manages to make me feel like Emma Chamberlain that time he interviewed her and said “love you bye,” and she simply exploded.

Find yourself someone oozing with rizz. It’ll likely not end well, but you’ll feel great until it falls apart royally. And if you’re looking for a costume with rizz, might I suggest dressing up as Jack Harlow and swinging by my place…

Roaching (verb)

Does this word look a bit familiar? Yeah, does it maybe remind you of a COCKROACH? Well, that’s a funny coincidence, as it covers this verb and the people who do it pretty well. 

Roaching is when someone hides the fact that they’re seeing more people to their partner. They’ll claim that the two of you are exclusive, but they’re still hitting the apps or sleeping around. 

Usually, when the roach is caught, they’ll come up with a terrible excuse, claiming they thought the two of you were casual, or that exclusive means something different to them. Yeah, this is a terrible move. 

If you discover that you’re being roached, you need to get out of there ASAP! There is no consent or communication here, and you deserve better.

Stashing (verb)

You know that feeling when things are going so well with a person and you’re in this little love bubble for two? Only then you realize that this bubble doesn’t seem to be growing. You don’t meet their friends or family, and they never share you on their socials. No soft launch, no hard launch, not even a hand on a coffee in the corner of an Instagram story. 

They claim that they’re just “not really into social media” or they “just want time to catch up with friends.” That’s fine, but it’s been six months and you’re starting to wonder if you’re just a dirty little secret.

I’m sorry to say that they’ve been stashing you! Aside from being a way to hide Halloween candy, stashing is when a person makes the conscious decision to hide their partner from the people in their life, which can mean real life as well as social media. Think Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn (sorry, should have given a trigger warning) in the early days. 

While you don’t need your partner to be sharing photos of you on social media captioned “LOVE OF MY LIFE!!!”, it would be nice to meet their friend group and bond over roasting your S/O. If someone’s keeping you a secret, there’s usually a reason why. You’re too incredible to be kept a secret, you deserve a spot on the grid. The only thing that should be kept secret in your life is your upcoming Halloween costume and your stash of Reeses.

The Graveyard (noun)

If your talking stage or situationship progressed off of dating apps and onto real contact info, you’ll likely end up with many phone numbers no longer in use. You might have “Scott (Hinge)” and “Grace (Bumble)” and some with just names if it got far enough. 

This is when you need a graveyard. The Graveyard is where you put all of these people once things have ended, whether you were ghosted, ended amicably, or anything in between. Simply update their contact name to a tombstone, and have them relegated to The Graveyard. This is a great way to get your own ***closure*** and to create a fun little section on your contacts. 


One thing that The Vampire Diaries got very wrong is that you can never see these bloodsuckers during the day, and that anyone would choose Stefan over Damon, duh. Given that vampires can only come at night, anyone who reaches out to you after the sun sets, is clearly vampire-ing you.

This term relates to when someone only contacts you at night, usually with a cheeky “you up?” text. This is also known as prime booty call time, so if you’re being contacted during such hours, honey, they’re vampire-ing you. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you keep in mind that it’s strictly physical and they haven’t got a soul to offer you.

Vulturing (verb)

Much like the terrifying birds of prey (which I guarantee are bigger than you expect, look it up), vulturing is when you go after people on the brink of a breakup. It’s targeting the injured gazelle, or in this case, someone feeling desperate after a rejection. 

They’ll offer a shoulder to cry on and expect plenty in return. They’re seizing you at your weakest moment because that’s the only time someone would accept all of their BS, and they’ll leave as soon as you’re healed enough to demand more for yourself.

On that note, a vulture could make an excellent Halloween costume if you can pull off the feathers, which I guarantee you can.

Zombie-ing (verb)

You were ghosted. You cried, you fumed, you snacked, you drank, and you bitched it all away with your pals. Now, months or even years later, the dead have risen, and you have a zombie in your midst. 

Zombie-ing occurs when someone who ghosted you pops back into your life all that time later, trying to re-establish a connection. They might gaslight you and claim they never ghosted you and it was just miscommunication, or they might offer some sob story for why they ghosted you in the first place. I just had a lot going on in my personal life. I was scared by my feelings for you. I didn’t want to hurt you.

Yeah, well how did that go for ya? The zombie will claim that they’re different now, but they’re just the same person they were, only slightly more stale. 

Fleurine Tideman
Fleurine Tideman
Fleurine Tideman, a European-based copywriter. She’s interesting (cause she’s from Europe), speaks multiple languages (again, she's from Europe), and is mentally unhinged (despite socialized healthcare). You can find her European musings on Twitter @ByFleurine and her blog, Symptoms of Living, both of which are written to the sounds of unhinged Taylor Swift playlists.