FARGO - Whoever said a proper date has to be expensive is wrong, especially in North Dakota, according to a recent study.

The season of pumpkin spice lattes, hayrides, jack-o'-lanterns and trees shedding their leaves is upon us. Inching closer to holidays and family gatherings, there is a statistical spike in marriage proposals as the year winds to a close. Meanwhile, pop culture insists that romance and the holidays go hand-in-hand.

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Seeking a romantic partner can be costly for singles going on frequent dates, especially when using online dating services like Tinder and Bumble, but a little planning ahead and budgeting can help minimize expenses - and North Dakotans are at a unique cost advantage.

According to an article from USA Today based on findings from 24/7 Wall St., North Dakotans are the second-cheapest date in the U.S.

Pizza from Rhombus Guys in downtown Fargo can be part of an affordable date night. Forum file photo
Pizza from Rhombus Guys in downtown Fargo can be part of an affordable date night. Forum file photo

The recent report found an average date cost for each state that included a bottle of wine, two movie tickets and a restaurant dinner for two. North Dakota had the second-lowest average of $42.43, bested only by south Dakota at $38.27.

Minnesota, meanwhile, had the nation's 23rd-highest date night cost of $109.81, while New York topped the list at $297.27.

Movie ticket prices alone are soaring to $15 each across the country. At the Fargo Theatre in downtown Fargo, an evening showing is $9 for adults. At Century 10 and West Acres Cinema theaters in south Fargo, it's between $10 and $15. Safari Cinema discount theater in Moorhead is by far the cheapest at $2 per showing.

Ultimately, $42.43 does go a long way here. Two people could split a pizza at Rhombus Guys ($16 for a 12-inch wild mushroom pizza, plus $3 tip), catch a matinee at the Fargo Theatre ($14 for two tickets) and finish the night with a cheap bottle of red or white from Bernie's Wines and Liquors ($10).

Kick back with a loved one in the DreamLounger leather recliners at Century Cinema in south Fargo. Special to The Forum
Kick back with a loved one in the DreamLounger leather recliners at Century Cinema in south Fargo. Special to The Forum

Alternatively, daters could go to Kroll's Diner (two entrees for $20, plus $4 tip), see a film on $5 Tuesday at Century 10 or West Acres ($10 for two tickets) and snatch a cheap bottle of wine from Cash Wise Liquor ($8.43).

There are also plenty of options in town beyond a traditional dinner-and-a-movie date. Here are some ideas for a cheap fall date night.

Date night ideas

1. Minnesota State University Moorhead Planetarium

Become the co-pilot of a space adventure at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, or 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at the planetarium, which is located in Bridges Hall on 11th Street South on the Moorhead campus ($6).

2. Buffalo River Pumpkin Patch

Hunt for a pumpkin while enjoying other attractions 3 to 6 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the pumpkin patch in rural Glyndon, Minn. ($5).

3. Skate City

Go to discount skate night every Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Skate City, 3302 Interstate Boulevard S., Fargo. Rental skates or rollerblades cost an extra $3.

4. Haunted Corn Maze

This corn maze is open from dusk until 12 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28 10 miles south of Moorhead at 12747 Third St. S. ($17 with coupon).

5. Brewhalla

Go to the Late Night Fall Craft Market from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 18 at Drekker Brewing Co.'s Brewhalla, 1666 First Ave. N., Fargo (free admission, 21+).

6. Night of the Living Zoo

Get spooked at this annual adults-only Halloween party happening 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Red River Zoo, 4255 23rd Ave. S., Fargo. There will be a costume contest, concessions, dance party, a cash bar and zookeeper talks with critters ($10 for advance tickets, 21+).

7. Spooky Ballets

Get spooked at the ballet from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 21 at The Fargo Theatre. There will be Halloween dances and a costume contest at intermission (prices vary, with student and senior discounts available).

8. Halloween Goth Dance Party

Get weird at the dance party happening 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Oct. 27 at The Aquarium, 226 Broadway N., Fargo (free, 21+).

9. Monsters Ball

Go to the first annual Monsters Ball presented by Grindflicks from 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 31 at Sanctuary Events Center, 670 Fourth Ave. N., Fargo. The film "The Monster Squad" (1987) will be screened at 8 p.m., and a dance party and costume contest will follow ($10 advance tickets, 21+).

10. Fall scenery picnic

Bring a picnic basket to one of Fargo-Moorhead's parks to take in the fall foliage, such as Fargo's Lindenwood Park or Island Park or Moorhead's MB Johnson Park or Gooseberry Park (free).

11. Fall Exhibition Reception at the Plains Art

Meet artists and enjoy live music and hors d'oeuvres by Milk Made at the Fall Exhibition Reception, happening 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Plains Art Museum, 704 First Ave. N., Fargo ($10 non-members, $5 students).

12. Make a pie

Learn to make a pumpkin pie (or other fall-time dessert) with your loved one and watch a scary movie while enjoying your treat (free, sort of).