I screamed, I shopped,
I horror fangirled my heart out.
This weekend at the Long Beach convention center was a festival made just for me. Okay, well me and a few hundred other freaks that wish every day was Halloween. The Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival catered to the fans and artists. Those who create haunted houses and those that want to live in them. From the minute I walked onto the show floor I was in heaven…err hell.
Midsummer Scream is divided into multiple sections. The show floor features a marketplace and live demos. Beyond that is the Hall of Shadows, a series of haunted attraction teasers. Upstairs are classrooms, panels and an art gallery.
I began in the marketplace. Floating from table to table through aisles of amazing artisans. There were masks, statues, jewelry, beauty products, special fx, oddities and creepy collectibles. It would have been more effective if I just handed the doorman my credit card and said here, take all my money please. I need everything! I had to pace myself. I was ready to purchase the first spooktacular item I saw and had to pause. This was only row one. There was a lot to take in. Among the ghoulish goodies, there were tables promoting escape rooms and giving sneak peaks into the haunted amusement park setups. Six Flags Fright Fest had a large table in the center with one of their classic stilt walkers. I saw lots of people in costume. Some of whom worked there and some just dressed up for the event. I felt so at home with these people. The kind of people that think it’s normal to wear a zombie prosthetic and don’t care that your blacks don’t match. I really enjoyed talking with the artists. Even if you weren’t there to make a purchase they took time to chat. Most even let you pick up and take photos of their creations.
I was amazed by the work at the Bone Yard Fx station. The creatures they displayed in real time were fantastic. Rip City Fx showed me some of their incredible products. They demoed Blood Paste and Fast Liquidz while asking me if I run a haunted house. Not exactly…does turning my own home into a yearly haunted attraction just for me count? Near Rip City was a the show floor stage which had DIYs all weekend long. How to make believable corrosion, or faux stone walls. How to make trees for your yard displays. For those in need a of more hands on workshop. There were two classrooms offering up a variety of how-tos. Everything from heavy gore makeup, DIY zombie weapons, killer culinary creations, and how to be a better horror writer. Some of the workshops required an additional class materials fee which you could pay ahead of time online, or at the door.
The Hall of Shadows contained a series of haunted house attractions. The first toxic zone had monsters from a toxic spill that stalked you through a lab. It was creepy and I’m pretty sure they used the Rip City Zombie Smut on the walls that I saw demoed earlier. Then the room opens up to individual haunted teasers. These are haunted houses that will be open this later this year. Most feature two rooms of what will be a ten room haunted house. I like all haunted houses. Even the cheesy ones. But the problem with these two room teasers is you walk in, see a gross monster and leave. Haunted houses need to build on suspense. Walking around while nothing happens then a jump scare, repeat. I felt a little let down but also excited that the real haunted house season is almost here.
I only saw one panel on Saturday. It was Reservation Confirmed: American Horror Story Hotel. I love this series. Truthfully Coven was my favorite season. But I like them all for different reasons. On stage they interviewed the makeup artists and Alexander Ward, the creature actor for Mattress Man and the Addiction Demon. It was a really fun informative panel. I was glad to hear the makeup team fought hard to keep the blood gags practical and not resort to CGI. These talented artists made some of the most believable throat slits I’ve seen on screen. It was great to get some insight into their craft. Alexander Ward is terrific. When asked how he got into this line of acting. He said happily that he didn’t know you could grow up to be a monster. He didn’t know that was a job. They opened the panel up to audience questions at the end. Most of us are curious about the next season of AHS. Although they couldn’t divulge any real info, they said we would all be very entertained.
After the panel I went back down to the marketplace to make some final purchases. I added another awesome antique hologram portrait by Edward Allen to my growing collection. He was even on hand to sign it.
Also picked up some creepy coasters and a t-shirt for my husband. I’m still kicking myself for not buying the Bonnie Parker striped prison sweater. Or the Alice’s Bloody Adventures in Wonderland book. Alas there was too much good stuff and not enough time, or money. While perusing the show floor one last time. I ran into Alexander Ward from the AHS panel. He was really nice and really tall.
The festival is a two day affair. This was my first year in attendance and I can see why people attend both days. Not only is there so much to see and do. Different panels and workshops are featured on separate days. I think next year I may get a two day pass. I ran into a friend who purchased a two day pass with his girlfriend. They decided to stay on the nearby Queen Mary overnight for some more haunted fun. What a brilliant idea!
After leaving the festival I was filled with excitement for the coming Halloween season. My fellow freaky friends and I have already planned a double feature horror movie night and reserved a day in our calendars for Knotts Scary Farm and the Delusion experience. October can’t get here fast enough.