The nights are drawing in, there’s a chill in the air and All Hallows’ Eve is fast approaching. Aside from the obligatory pumpkin carving and raiding the nearest fancy dress shop for ghoulish get-up, Halloween is a great time of year to hone your dating skills.

Taking your date to see a scary movie may seem like a cliché, but under the guise of Halloween this first date classic becomes acceptable, even maverick (in an ironic sense, of course) – and is an opportune way to show her your protective side (even if you’re the one quaking in your boots).

Mobile network giffgaff have partnered with the UK’s leading Dating Coach, James Preece, to show how you can be the boss during scare season, no matter how low your tolerance for things that go bump in the night.

Read on for James’ top tips on how to impress during a horror film date:

1). Do your homework. Research the scariest films and tell her you’ll see it together. Text her a few times about the film, telling her you’ve heard how petrifying it is. Build up the anticipation well in advance – so she’ll arrive at the cinema more scared than you.

2). Perfect your ‘Poker Face.’ Even if you are terrified, you want to give the impression that you aren’t remotely bothered. You want to display cool, calm body language. That means no folding your arms, biting your nails or slouching.

3). If you want her to be as scared as possible, sit at the very front. That way you’ll have nobody in front of you as a distraction to take you out of the experience

4). Popcorn can be a great distraction if you are feeling nervous – just focus on the food rather than the film.

5). Hold her hand as the tension builds – but don’t do it suddenly or you’ll make her jump. Instead, do it reassuringly as the music signals something is coming.

6). Accept your fear. The best way to stay in control of it is to enjoy the feeling.

7). Breathe. Anxiety can make you sweat which is never a sexy look. Take a slow but subtle deep breath in through your nose for about five seconds. Hold it for about six seconds then breathe out slowing for another seven seconds. Repeat ten times and you’ll feel much calmer.

8). You’ve technically just survived a zombie apocalypse or an overnight stay at a haunted house – so talk about the movie experience together afterwards. It’s these shared experiences which help with bonding, especially the ones that are out of your comfort zone.

9). Calm down quickly by remembering this is just a film and the terrifying faces are the result of actors sat for hours in a sweaty makeup chair. The chopping/changing camera angles and fake special effects can be a constant reminder of this as well.

James Preece is the Dating Guru.