What Halloween activity has the most romantic potential? A haunted house, of course! This week, the roommates wander through a Halloween festival looking for screams and sweethearts. The results are spooktacularly funny and surprisingly insightful. From Nick’s haunted house revelation to Schmidt’s Magic Mike moves, “Halloween” definitely delivers. 

The Softer Side of Sam

Jess has added “haunted house zombie” to her growing list of odd jobs this season, and the roomies are quick to joke, telling her she looks like “Zombie Woody Allen” and busting out their best Jewish, neurotic imitations of the comedy writer. Schmidt’s “These brains are terrible, and in such small portions” wins the gold, but Nick, Jess and even Winston give great efforts, too. Jess invites the guys to her haunted house — free admission for friends of zombie staff! — before skipping off to hook up with Sam, the no-strings-attached sex buddy she picked up a few episodes ago.

Although they vowed to keep their relationship open, Jess finds herself developing feelings for Sam, especially after she finds his wallet, follows him to work and learns that he’s a 6’4″ pediatrician who’s great with kids and isn’t afraid to take Jess in a dirty falafel joint. (Husband potential, I guess?) Despite their vows to keep things purely physical, Jess plans to take a risk and ask Sam on a real date. She invites him to her and her roommates on their haunted house excursion, where she plans to tell Sam her true feelings. It’s gusty, I must admit. Once again, I like this new Jess.

Make-ups and Break-ups

The next night, the roommates all go to the charity Halloween festival where Jess’ haunted house is featured. The group includes Schmidt, Cece and Robbie (her boyfriend who doesn’t like music), Nick, Nick’s old college crush and present hook-up Amelia, and Winston and Shelby, who presumably haven’t slept together since the season began. Winston and Shelby plan to “dress sexy” to heat up their relationship, but Winston dresses as a campy LAPD cop, and Shelby oddly dresses as a queen covered in stuffed animals. (Oh right, she’s reigning cats and dogs, you guys.

Winston mocks that “those stuffed animals are gonna look good on the floor of [his] bedroom,” but it’s all in jest. They should’ve taken a hint from Schmidt, who dressed as a Magic Mike stripper beneath his young Abraham Lincoln costume, because Winston and Shelby head for splitsville before they reach the end of the haunted house.

Elsewhere at the fest, Schmidt tries to break up Cece and Robbie by insulting and then head-butting Robbie (who looked surprisingly charming in his Ninja Turtle gear), but instead, Schmidt winds up bonding with Robbie over fried turkey legs. (Ah, the power of carnival food!) Nick and his old college crush, Amelia, give their budding romance a shot, but of course, Amelia’s charms can’t sway Nick and Jess’ romantic destiny.

How Relationships like Haunted Houses

Nick and Jess confide in each other about their potential mates. Jess admits that she has real, growing feelings for Doctor Sam, while Nick is scared to pursue a relationship with Amelia, afraid that all those years ago, he was really only infatuated with the idea of Amelia, not the real person. Nick adds, “You want to know why I don’t like haunted houses? Because they’re just like relationships. You walk in all confident, and then once you get in, it’s not what you thought it was gonna be, and it’s scary!” It seems like an apt metaphor. Jess pumps him up, encouraging to go into the haunted house. Nick (who is wearing bee antennae and a t-shirt that says “Arthur” — got that, Golden Girls fans?) goes for it. It’s not really to face his fears, though. It’s to rescue Jess.

Jess Takes a Risk

Jess told herself that if Sam came to the haunted house in costume, she’d be confident that he likes her. Sam delivers, coming from the hospital in his doctor’s clothes and a big, red clown nose, Patch Adams style. After chatting in the haunted house with her co-workers, Mummy and Frankenstein, she decides to tell Sam how she feels. She doesn’t realize that Sam’s outside telling Nick about his other causal hookups. Nick, ever the devoted friend (and future husband), wanders into the haunted house to warn Jess that Sam is seeing other women. Since Jess is working, she pops in front of Nick in the haunted house, scaring him into reflexively punching her in the face.

Jess’ coworkers all leap in to protect her, so Nick gets pummeled by ghosts and ghouls while he shrieks “This is my nightmare!” The monsters bounce Nick from the haunted house, and Sam lazily goes to comfort Jess after she tells him that Nick (mistakenly) punched her in the face. Encouraged by the ounce of tenderness Sam shows her, Jess decides to put her heart on the line. Nick wasn’t able to protect her, but really, she doesn’t need to be protected. She can handle it. “I want to ask you out for real, so, will you go out with me?” she offers.

Sam admits, “I can’t,” and says he honestly only wants a casual relationship. They decide to break things off. Meanwhile, Nick tells Amelia he really only loved the idea of her, but that being with her in reality wasn’t what he’d hoped it would be. (I guess it doesn’t help that making out with Amelia is “like reverse CPR.”) So in the end, everyone heads home single but Cece and Robbie.

The plans are once again set for a Jess-and-Nick romance. But first, Jess has to offer Nick a retaliatory punch in the face. You know, because it’s only fair.

(Image courtesy of FOX)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV