A bloody Valentine weekend in the Quad Cities

Factory of Fear’s “Love is Blind: Vampires Suck”

Feb. 10-11, 7-10 p.m., $30

Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Love isn’t patient and isn’t kind in Factory of Fear’s newest haunt.

Moline-based Factory of Fear has been manufacturing Halloween scares for nearly 30 years, showcasing year-round attractions across more than 40 scare rooms. They’ve been sharpening their fangs in preparation for their 2023 Valentine’s weekend event, “Love is Blind: Vampires Suck.” This year marks the ninth year of their annual Valentine’s haunt, this time focusing on the realm of vampires and werewolves.

Though these creatures were some of the most gruesome and repellant villains of early horror fiction and films, pop culture of the 21st century has recast them in the public imagination as brooding hunks and tortured romantics. Studios, publishers and social media users have recently reinvigorated Anne Rice’s steamy vampire universe, nostalgic swooning over Twilight’s interspecies love triangle, Marvel’s Morbin’ nocturnal crime-fighters and even the charming, furry monsters of the Addams Family. (Netflix’s teen horror-comedy-romance Wednesday reached over 150 million households within three weeks of debuting last fall, according to the streamer.)

“Just like everything in entertainment and pop culture, vampires and werewolves are making a splash again, just like zombies did 10 years ago and 20 years before that,” said haunt director Brett DeLeo. “We try to stay up to date with trends in horror. So, if vampires or werewolves are your thing, we’ve definitely got something for you with this event!”

The vamps and wolves inside Factory of Fear are probably not the kind you want to ask on a Valentine’s date. Those who dare to enter this year’s haunt will experience rooms and characters festooned with spook and gore, surrounded by lovey-dovey-bloody decor. “Love is Blind” will not, in fact, leave you in the dark; Factory of Fear is experimenting with some mood lighting, utilizing new light features to keep visitors on their toes throughout the haunt.

“Some of the lighting has definitely been adjusted to fit the theme and some new lighting has been installed to further enhance the theme, “ DeLeo said.

Factory of Fear first opened its doors in 1994. Over the last decade they’ve expanded to become one of the most decorated haunted attractions in Illinois, making the top 10 haunted houses lists year after year at and winning several local best-of-the-area contests. In 2018, they completed their first 100 percent remodel. And they didn’t stop there, adding 5,000 square feet to their space in both 2020 and 2021.

Growth hasn’t just been limited to the physical space, but the calendar as well. While most Halloween attractions (and therefore jobs) are seasonal, the Factory has made it their mission to bring year-round events to the community.

“The reality is that by running year-round events, we’re able to stay engaged with our customer base and keep the actors involved,” DeLeo said. “It’s really a win-win for everyone.”

Factory of Fear’s “Love is Blind: Vampires Suck” event runs two days, Feb. 10 and 11, from 7-10 p.m. at their scare factory in Moline, 5027 4th Ave. Tickets can be bought in advance at for $30 each.

The average haunt length is about 30 minutes. As stated on their website, actors do not touch you as you make your way through the haunt, but they will get really close — maybe even close enough to make your heart flutter.

Elena Vallejo (she/her) was born and raised in the QC area. Throughout her life she has fallen in love with the art of writing. She is currently studying Early Childhood Education, Theatre and Writing at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. This article was originally published in Little Village issue 316.

The Victorian Inn B&B, ©2023 Google

Adrenaline still pumping after the Factory? Make it a full-on date night and you may just fall in love.

If you’re staying in Iowa…

Dinner: Miss Phay Cafe — The best local Vietnamese, walkable from your hotel

Hotel: Blackhawk Hotel — A local historical landmark that has gone through enough renovations to make it posh but not too expensive.

Entertainment: Skybridge — A staple in free QC entertainment. Make sure you go at night for the lights and riverview.

Shopping: Abernathy’s — A vintage, homemade and alternative culture shop for clothing, decor and tchotchkes.

Late night: Analog — The QC’s favorite barcade.

Breakfast: Toasted — Super cute diner with fancy toasts. Great brunch spot after a good sleep or to nurse a hangover.

If you’re staying in Illinois…

Hotel: Victorian Inn — Historic bed and breakfast near Rock Island’s District, where the nightlife things happen

Entertainment: The QC Botanical Center — Home to an impressive variety of plants from all over the globe, plus it’s gorgeous and warm (and near the other spots on this list)

Shopping: The Artsy Bookworm — A bookstore/art gallery with a social justice slant

Dinner: El Mariachi — One of the best-kept secrets and best Mexican restaurants in the QC. (It has a lot of competition in Moline’s Floreciente neighborhood, though.)

Late night: Rozz-Tox — Coffee shop, bar and venue with a limited selection of incredible food, games and sometimes shows or movies.

Breakfast: QC Coffee & Pancake House — Their famous special is the Cinnamon Roll Pancakes.

—Sarah Elgatian