Looking for an offbeat Valentine’s Day outing and the chance to be a part of history?

For the first time since the coffin lid first opened in 1974 at Akron’s Haunted Schoolhouse, the frightening place will be open for tours and screams outside the Halloween season.

Billed as “Love Bites: A Valentine’s Haunted House,” the local landmark to all things scary at 1300 Triplett Blvd. will be open on Friday and Saturday nights.

This is part of a trend among haunted houses.

Its sister haunt in Canton, the Factory of Terror — they both share the same owner — hosted a Christmas Krampus haunt last year and has opened for other limited-run events including St. Patrick’s Day and Friday the 13th.

Owner John Eslich said there’s certainly been interest in these unusual offseason openings in Canton, so he decided to give it a try in Akron.

“This is a big step forward to bring an offseason event there,” he said.

Since it is February in Northeast Ohio and it might be a tad bit chilly outside, Eslich said, just the schoolhouse will be open since there are scattered heated areas in that attraction unlike the stone-cold Haunted Laboratory next door.

But he advises guests to still dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes.

Bloody hearts

Some special effects are being added to help set the romantic mood.

The entrance queue at the schoolhouse will have the look of a creepy high school dance with some zombies and vampires wandering around to help get the blood flowing among the unsuspecting visitors.

“We want to make this a special event and unique and fun for the guests,” Eslich said. “It will be a fun night out. People in Ohio love Halloween.”

There will also be some bloody hearts scattered about the schoolhouse’s many scary attractions and even a special Valentine’s Day photo-op.

The three-floor schoolhouse is known for its elaborate sets, which guests wander past, and Eslich and his crew have been adding high-tech gadgets since taking over to scare up even more screams.

“The previous owners had such a powerful brand,” said Doug Hampton, who works with Eslich on the Canton and Akron haunts. “We want to build on it and work to make it something amazing for the next generation.”

The special Valentine’s admission to the Haunted Schoolhouse is $24.95 and a limited number of black roses and commemorative wrist bands will be handed out each night. They are also selling limited-edition hats and shirts.

The tours will run from 7 to 11 p.m. each night. (www.hauntedschoolhouse.com.)

Early ticket sales online, Eslich said, have shown there is certainly interest among the public for opening outside of Halloween.

Eslich said the response from the actors at the schoolhouse and laboratory has been overwhelmingly positive and a number of actors from other area haunted houses have asked to be a part of the event, too.

The grind of the Halloween season can take its toll, but after a few weeks, most actors are itching to get back into the scare game, Eslich said.

“They really enjoy performing,” he said. “They are all excited.”

Craig Webb can be reached at cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3547.