Who’s looking for a macabre Valentine? If candy hearts, teddy bears and pink roses aren’t your thing, then have a look at this collection of alternative ways to celebrate the holiday. First, I want to say that this list is not just for romantic couples. The fun can be sucked out of Valentine’s Day because the emphasis is primarily on romantic love. While there is nothing wrong with that, I want to imbue the occasion with an entirely different aesthetic—one that’s darker, spookier, mystical and even a bit creepy in the most amusing ways possible.
To me, February 14th is a celebration of love in its multitude of forms and so the suggestions I make can be enjoyed with best friends, family, pets, significant others or by yourself. Here are 9 Macabre Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day!
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Spooky Meal for 2 (or 3 or 4…)
If you’re in the mood for a delectable dinner and enjoy cooking, then I recommend trying out a few recipes featured in The Nightmare Before Dinner by Zach Neil. The cookbook contains dishes and beverages based on the menu of his Tim Burton and Halloween-inspired restaurant Beetle House. The book even has a chapter dedicated to creating themed parties, such as Edward’s Formal Dinner Party and Willy’s Candy Bar. I’ve tried my hand at a few recipes, which you can read about here.
Make it a dinner and horror movie night! The first that comes to mind, which may be obvious to some, is My Bloody Valentine, either the 1981 or 2009 version. Nothing like a good slasher film to get the pulses racing. I also love Crimson Peak, which was directed by Guillermo del Toro. The story is set in the Victorian era and embodies Gothic romance. Tragedy, secrets and lingering spirits threaten the marriage between protagonists Edith and Thomas. And we must not forget classics such as The Bride of Frankenstein and Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. You may also be interested in my roundup of Films for the Victorian Goth.
Many places may be closed right now due to the pandemic, but there are select cemeteries open for those wanting to visit deceased loved ones. Graveyards can be beautiful places to spend time and pay homage to those who’ve passed. Some iconic ones include the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California; St. Louis No. 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana; and Père-Lachaise in Paris, France, to name only a few.
Please keep in mind that burial sites are sacred and should be entered into with the utmost respect. Also, due to COVID, you’ll want to make sure you are taking all necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe. Wear a face mask, social distance and follow whatever other protocols the establishment may have in place. Depending on where you are located in the world, you may want to look up a few near you.
Gothic Arts & Crafts
Do you like to DIY?
Well, grab a partner and immerse yourselves in the bizarre world of Gothic Homemaking—a YouTube series created by dark cabaret goth musician Aurelio Voltaire. I’ve been a big fan of the performer for a long time, and his show is entertaining and informative to watch. No matter your skill level, from beginner to advanced, you’ll find a variety of interesting project ideas. You can try your hand at crafting a Cemetery Gates Lamp Post, Mystical Vanishing Chest & Summoning Table, Spooky Wine Bottle Candelabra, an ApotheScary Cabinet and much more!
There’s nothing like curling up with a good book, and this can be a delightful thing to do with someone on Valentine’s Day. To make this more engaging, take turns reading passages from your favorite novels or poems. I suggest material with a dash of romance. I have a few recommendations, but these aren’t your typical happily-ever-after love stories. My first is the erotically charged The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice, which she initially wrote under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaure. All I will say is that these books make Fifty Shades of Grey look like child’s play; they are definitely an adults-only read.
Other suggestions include Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Edgar Allan Poe’s Eleonora. Of course there are many more books that would be fitting to read, but this selection will get you started. Also, have a look at my list of Top 10 Must-Read Dark Books.
Frightful Board Games
I wish I carved out more time to play board games. They are so much fun to do with others and there’s a nifty selection out there with morbid themes. If you love Monopoly, then The Nightmare Before Christmas version is a must. Horror lovers will enjoy Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake and Horrified: Universal Monsters Board Game. For a bit more mystery and intrigue, check out the Lovecraftian Mansions of Madness and Death by Trivia…if you dare.
Spiritual & Metaphysical Bonding
If you and the person with whom you’re spending Valentine’s Day are spiritual, this would be a wonderful opportunity to do something sacred for your souls. Meditate together, practice yoga, do a Tarot card reading for each other or perform a special ritual to bless your bond. Spiritual exercises are a fantastic way to celebrate the love filling your life. Learn more about practicing magickal self-care.
Turn Up the Volume: Music & Playlists
In years past, some of you may have preferred to go out dancing on Valentine’s Day. Since most nightclubs are still closed due to the Coronavirus, why not bring the party home? Curating your own playlist and dancing the evening away in your living room can be just as entertaining. Plus, you don’t have to worry about cover fees. To get you started, I’ve put together a Macabre Valentine playlist on Spotify for the occasion. My compilation features a mix of goth, dark wave, industrial, metal and alternative tunes, from The Sisters of Mercy to Nine Inch Nails. Enjoy!
Attend a Virtual Vampire Ball
Still looking for something closer to the night-out-on-the-town experience? You’re in luck because Endless Night will be hosting its 2021 Los Angeles Anti-Valentine’s Vampire Ball virtually via Facebook! The event, founded by fangsmith Father Sebastiaan, happens February 13th from 8 p.m. PST to February 14th, 12:30 a.m. PST. There will be plenty of live entertainment and tickets start at $16.66. To get an idea of what to expect, read about my time at the 2020 Los Angeles Endless Night gathering.
There you have it! Nine macabre ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. But I’m curious—what would you suggest as a tenth option? Let me know in the comments below!
Plus, if you’re looking for a few gift ideas for that special someone, scroll through my list of 7 Gifts for the Spooky Soul in Your Life!