The dreary days of autumn are finally upon us. The perfect time of year to lie in a great big pile of orange leaves and listen to Bleed American. Ideal for falling hopelessly in love with someone you know you’ll never get the nerve to talk to.
While the world may be sipping on cider, your priorities lie in the liner notes of American Football albums. This handy guide to autumn for emos outlines everything you need to make the most of the season. Take pride in being the skeleton-dressed wallflower in the lonely little corner of every Halloween party. Keep this guide handy and prepare your finest pair of fingerless gloves—it’s finally autumn.
There’s a chill, and love, in the air. Autumn is the perfect time to fall for someone new. Although anybody can make their crush a Spotify playlist, no self-respecting emo is going to give their favorite Jimmy Eat World songs to that special someone on anything but a mixtape on a cassette. The mixtape is a tried-and-true labor of love that really shows you care. Don’t half-ass your shot at true love by sending someone a link like some sort of Top 40-listening normie. Lean into the theatricality. Draw all over the label. Handwrite the tracklist. Hell, if you really want to go nuts, write out a lyrics sheet. It’s impossible for someone to turn you down if they have the lyrics to Jawbreaker’s “Kiss The Bottle” in hand. The lovelorn words of Blake Schwarzenbach are an emotional aphrodisiac unlike anything this world has ever seen.
The entire Bright Eyes Catalog
You’re not a proper emo unless you’ve sing-cried along to “ The Calendar Hung Itself” on a brisk night with the windows down. Conor Oberst is the Elvis of emo. He’s already penned the perfect song to soundtrack every breakup you will ever have. If you’re a little late to the Bright Eyes party, you’re in luck—Oberst and co. recently released their first album in nine years. Down In The Weeds, Where The World Once Was is a complete return to form. The record channels their Lifted era with a fresh and refined sense of stoic maturity. There’s certainly never a wrong season to get caught up in the lush lyrical deft of Bright Eyes. But autumn is the best season.
Dead Man’s Bones
Zach Shields and Ryan Gosling (yes, that Ryan Gosling) released their lovely and morose self-titled album in 2009. It was a gift from the great beyond, full of spooky doo-wop songs about ghosts in love and zombie romance. Gosling croons lyrics such as “When I think about you, flowers grow out of my grave” with a gothic tremble. This album is the perfect score for every emo Halloween night. Who would have ever thought the dude from Drive was such a brilliant piano player? Who knew the leading man in The Notebook to be a closet werewolf fanatic? Keep your silver bullets at the ready and an eye on your Ouija board. This album is eerie as hell and more ornately lovely than a Victorian haunted house. Leave the lights on and give it a spin.
The hoodie is the official uniform of emos in autumn. You’re likely rocking a black hoodie every day of the year anyway, but there’s something special about putting in your AirPods, pulling up the hood and blasting Weezer’s Pinkerton during an October stroll. Think about that perfect date with that cute barista you’re secretly in love with but can’t muster the nerve to ask out. Crank “Falling For You” up to maximum volume and let the tears roll. Don’t panic—it’s not quite cold enough for them to freeze on your cheeks.
It’s the spookiest time of the year. Nothing will fill your little emo heart with the spirit of Halloween like a brooding Jake Gyllenhaal seeing bunny-suited premonitions. Richard Kelly’s cult classic Donnie Darko is an absolute must-watch this year. It’s perfect background noise for when you’re stringing up your jack-o’-lantern lights, and it’s ideal for deep philosophical introspection. The film’s use of Tears For Fears’ “Mad World” is quite possibly the most emo moment in cinema history. This flick is the Citizen Kane for the eyeliner-clad, overly emotional set.
Sure, it’s pumpkin spice season, but you’re an emo. You need a drink as bitter as you are, and nothing complements the Promise Ring’s Nothing Feels Good like a steaming hot cup of black coffee on a rainy November afternoon. Bonus emo points if you pop the lid off and let the rain mix in. It’s the perfect caffeine cocktail for anyone who knows all of the lyrics to “B Is For Bethlehem.”
It may be getting cold out, but you still need to rep your favorite bands. Buttons are like emo merit badges. They allow you to turn any hoodie/denim jacket combo or bland and stuffy wool coat into instant band merch. You may be able to see your breath in the air, but the chill won’t stop you from letting everyone know you’re not through being cool despite the cooler weather.
Converse All Stars
You haven’t lived a full emo life until you’ve felt the crunch of a crisp fall leaf under a pair of Chuck Taylors. Converse All Stars are an absolute must in every emo kid closet. They’re perfect for late-night walks, sharing AirPods and Dashboard Confessional songs with your sweetheart. They’re also the perfect canvas for writing all of your favorite lyrics on the soles. Grab a Sharpie and scribble all the feels all over your heels.
The Nightmare Before Christmas stuff
Where would any of us be without Tim Burton’s acclaimed scary-sweet masterpiece, The Nightmare Before Christmas? Quintessential viewing for emos and goths alike, this is the time of year when you can buy literally anything with a Jack Skellington face on it. It’s that special time of year when every major retailer makes it easy for you to live like Jack and Sally if you want. Stock up on everything from a spooky slow cooker to a Zero costume for your dog.
Yeah, OK…there may be a long-standing stereotype that emos cry a lot. And although there’s nothing wrong with a good cry every now and then, there’s simply no easier time to catch a cold than in the fall. Despite the stigma of being overly sobby, it’s always a good idea to have some tissues handy to wipe away seasonal sniffles. Keep the snot stains off the sleeves of your prized Modern Baseball T-shirt.