Shocktober, named the fifth scariest haunted house in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure magazine and the Event of the Year by Visit Loudoun, will reopen Oct. 4 under the new theme of Camp Carlheim.
This year's concept weaves in the history of the 150-year-old Carlheim Manor -- also known as Paxton Manor -- with imagery from a haunted summer camp, including abandoned bunk beds and the "basement of souls." The haunted house takes a linear path in near-complete darkness through all floors of the house, including the basement, which is built over a lake.
Also on the Leesburg property will be “Escape Carlton,” a 10-minute, $10 escape room, Zombie Brain Game and The Last Ride. Another option for guests is the Night of Screams, which includes a $5,000 private room, RIP fast-pass tickets for up to 50 guests, two drink tickets, a private bathroom and a catered dinner from Ford’s Fish Shack.
Shocktober benefits The Arc of Loudoun, a nonprofit headquartered on the site and focused on providing opportunities for people with disabilities. Shocktober is consistently the largest fundraiser for The Arc, generating more than $2.5 million since it opened in 2010, which organizers say is a significant contribution toward the nonprofit’s operating budget of $6 million. The aim for the 10th year is to draw 20,000 visitors, up from last year’s 17,614.
The Arc of Loudoun was created in 1967, in what CEO Lisa Kimball described as “cutting edge” and “a unicorn” in relation to other similar organizations of the time dedicated to helping children and adults with disabilities. Today, The Arc’s largest programs include The Aurora School, Aurora Behavior Clinic, Open Door Learning Center, A Life Like Yours (ALLY) Advocacy Center and the Ability Fitness Center.
The Aurora School is a private day school serving 47 students from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and D.C. The Open Door is an “intentionally integrated” preschool, serving 36 students, some of whom have disabilities and some who do not. The ALLY Advocacy Center is the community resource at The Arc serving around 3,500 people by providing information on disability rights and external support networks.
Shocktober requires around 350 volunteers, many of whom are LCPS high schoolers. Kimball said the interactions between neurotypical teenagers and students at The Arc is “the prime gift of Shocktober.” She also added that “the beauty of the Arc of Loudoun is that [learning] goes both ways” between community members and students with disabilities.
Shocktober will run every Friday from 7-10 p.m., Saturday from 6-10 p.m. and Sunday from 6-9 p.m. from Oct. 4 through Nov. 2. The journey through the Carlheim Manor takes around half an hour to complete and costs $40 or $50 for a RIP fast-pass skipping the line. The address is at 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, Virginia 20176. Visit Shocktober.org for more information.