ATASCADERO — While haunted houses are generally deemed a Halloween tradition, they are just as scary the rest of the year. This Valentine’s Day, for the first time ever, San Luis Obispo County residents will be screaming just as loud at the special anti-Valentine Haunted Hearts Haunt.
The Haunted Hearts event, located at 5805 El Camino Real, will be open Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10 and 11, Tuesday, Feb. 14, and Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17 and 18, and will have guests sweating by the time they reach the exit.
Hosted by the same volunteers who put on The Haunt, named the scariest haunted house on all of the Central Coast, this anti-Valentine event is expected to be just as entertaining.
Valentine’s Day is daunting regardless of one’s relationship status.
“I don’t think anybody actually likes Valentine’s Day,” Chris Towers of The Haunt said. “There’s so much obligation: flowers and dinner and everything because you’re supposed to.”
Towers said to lighten the load of this chore of a day, he and his team of volunteers decided to give the people of San Luis Obispo County what they really want — a good scare. After all, what’s more refreshing than that?
These days, haunted houses are no longer just about creepy characters and hyper-realistic horror. Instead, the industry has flocked to all sorts of new, extreme frights. This event required a brand new theme with new scares tailored specifically to the holiday, said volunteer Creig Sherburne.
“With this being the first show, we (thought) of what a typical person might do with a loved one on Valentine’s Day and then gave it a scary twist,” Towers said.
The first event will boast an atrocious prom theme.
“People always ask why we like to scare people, but that is such a small part of the haunted house,” Towers said. “The real reason our volunteers like to haunt is the sheer challenge and learning experience. It is the ultimate do-it-yourself project — from woodworking, welding and sewing to painting, acting and makeup. Every volunteer brings a different skill when they join and we all learn from each other.”
While couples and singles alike are both encouraged to enter if they dare, fear of the unknown and simply not knowing what to expect does not discriminate. This haunted house is sure to leave anyone and everyone running home.
“We think people will really like it, but we will scare their pants off,” said actor Sandi Andersen-Tarica.
Tickets to the haunt cost $10 per person or $16 for two, and can be purchased at the door. As a community activity, any extra proceeds will be donated back to local charities.