The Perfect Halloween Scent

By Aleta, 26, Virginia

Aleta is the associate editor of a national history magazine (World War II), and an unapologetic fragrance nerd. Growing up on a farm west of Portland, Oregon, she spent many summer nights attempting to make perfume by soaking flowers in cups of water (if only her mother had let her use the vodka). Her most prized possessions include a bottle of French cologne brought home by an American GI after World War II (L’Ardent Nuit by Cotay), a signed copy of Perfume: The Guide, and a handwritten “enjoy your purchase” note from perfumer Mandy Aftel. Her website:

The Perfect Halloween Scent

The possibilities are endless for pairing fragrance with Halloween costumes: one of the fresh-scrubbed Clean fragrances would be cheeky for doctors and nurses, cowboys and cowgirls can’t go wrong with Stetson, and Demeter Fragrance Library’s Dust, Dirt, or Funeral Parlor are just a few literal options for the various undead. But in terms of capturing the overall trick-or-treat spirit of the season, a few fragrances come to mind for their candy-like sweetness paired with an unexpected quirky edge.

Lolita Lempicka matches near-medicinal red berries with a kick of licorice that’s both icy herbal and molasses-cookie warm, all carried through with a breathy white floral. When I saw Twilight, someone in the theater treated the entire audience to this scent; perfection. It would also suit those who are attracted to gingerbread houses and chatty wolves. Or, if your sweet tooth leans a little more Wonka (or Gaga), you can’t beat the original that sparked this scent–Thierry Mugler Angel, an over-the-top confection that passes on the licorice in favor of husky, chocolaty patchouli and adds a dose of ultra-ripe fruit for good measure.

Bvlgari Black starts with a blast of smoky black rubber and leather, rendered weightless with sweet, inedible vanilla. If your mood this holiday leans toward pleather–or the real thing–take note. For something a little less devilish/biker and more Stepford, try the equally inedible Kenzo Amour, a space-age vanilla lacking any hint of pastry warmth.

I’ll be pairing my Bride of Frankenstein ensemble with one of my favorites, Aftelier Cepes and Tuberose. The cepes (mushroom) note is a stunningly earthy, subtly wine-like complement to a tuberose note that’s far less restrained than its sisters found at the department store. A perfect pairing of forest decay and insatiable full-bloom life–hopefully just the thing to catch the nose of my Dr. Frankenstein. (Newcomers to this brand: don’t let the price tag scare you. The seemingly wee bottles of pure perfume last me about as long as a 1.7 oz eau de parfum.)

What are you wearing for Halloween? Need help picking a fragrance? Let’s talk in the comments!