For a horrific twist on the sweetest day, snuggle up with a different kind of red.
Not everyone loves the traditional idea of red roses, chocolates and a dinner for two. Some couples or single friends would rather get their hearts racing in another way—with terror.
Shocktober’s second annual My Bloody Valentine weekend event is sure to terrify those scared of dolls and clowns with its theme, Welcome to the Dollhouse. If you dare, venture to Leesburg’s famous Paxton Manor, the site of Shocktober’s haunted house and supernatural tours. Built in 1872 above a lake and massive caverns, the 32-room mansion is the ideal place to scream your heart out.
Jennifer Lassiter, executive director at Shocktober, says the haunted house and Valentine’s event ideas happened organically. “We have this beautiful mansion on campus … but it really looks like the Addams Family house. It’s gothic … [Locals] always said it was haunted. There was just so much natural interest in it. The Bloody Valentine event came about [because] not everybody is in love on Valentine’s Day … We decided to play into that. There’s something for everybody; either couples want to go through by themselves, or its groups of friends who hate Valentine’s Day,” Lassiter says. “We even hand out glowing roses so everyone feels the love, which also makes them an easy target in the black light,” she adds with a chuckle.
It may sound strange, but there is a reason why a trip through a decaying mansion full of gory characters is a better bet for a sexy night than a candlelit dinner.
Dr. Linda Gulyn, professor of psychology at Marymount University in Arlington, explains the link between fear and love: “The physiological sensation of fear … is [dependent] on the social context … The haunted house tries to [invoke] your need to protect yourself, your life. That feeling is consistent with the feeling you get when you are in love.” The increased blood flow and shortness of breath you experience when scared mimics arousal.
Need another reason to take a dark alternative to typical romance this year? All proceeds from this event go to the Paxton Campus, which serves all children and disabled persons in the community through various outreach programs.
Find all our Sex, Love and Ghosting articles on this month’s pop-up blog here.