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Have a haunted Valentine's Day at these Austin places

Arianna Auber

Not really into the whole mushy-gushy aspect of Valentine's Day? The requisite romantic dinner, bouquet of red roses and box of heart-shaped chocolates?

Well, you don't have to be.

Shake it up a little by getting scared silly instead of swooning off your feet — that's frankly more fun, right? Two local businesses that deal in frights and thrills are offering the chance for us to have a haunted Valentine's instead of a romantic one. On Feb. 14, the ghost tour-meets-pub crawl Nightly Spirits, which doesn't typically host tours on Thursdays, will have one that you and your boo can sign up for. And the following weekend, House of Torment returns for a special Valentine's edition.

Nightly Spirits, a nationally produced ghost tours company, launched last fall in Austin and hosts walking tours every Friday and Saturday through four downtown bars you might not realize are haunted. In addition to learning the "hair-raising history" behind each location, you'll get a la carte drink specials that are sure to help take the edge off your terror.

The Valentine's tour starts at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 and is only $25 per ticket, so it's not exactly the expensive evening the Hallmark-approved holiday normally calls for. Book it by going to

If you're in the mood for yet more scares the next day, the House of Torment — so essential for celebrating Halloween in Austin every year — is going all Def Leppard on us with Love Bites: A Valentine's Haunted House. (Love lives, love dies. Watch out, love bites.)

Actually, there won't be any 1980s-era power ballads blasting throughout these halls of horror.

Instead, "love bites" takes on a whole new meaning. Here's the premise: "Vampires have taken over House of Torment this Valentine’s," according to the Love Bites website. "Your mission is simple. With the training and skills from expert vampire hunters, vanquish the creatures that lurk ahead. Only the bravest souls will be able to navigate through the lair of these blood-thirsty monsters."

You've been warned. Love Bites runs two nights only, on Feb. 15 and 16, for $24.99-$34.99. The higher priced Fast Pass tickets will move you more quickly through the line to get into the haunted house. Purchase your access to the night of fright at