Midsummer Scream in Long Beach, CA, kicked off the 2019 Halloween season with spooky flair and a fair amount of nostalgia. Now, the largest Halloween and haunt expo on the west coast, this year’s theme was the dark side of Tiki, featuring artwork from world-class artist Jeff Granito and Tiki Terror entryway designed by SoCal’s famed haunt builders, CalHaunts.
The show has been gradually growing each year and now hosts over 300+ vendors on showroom floor, spooky mini haunt attractions and displays, immersive theater events and escape rooms, bone-chilling horror short films from up and coming directors and budding filmmakers, fascinating panels, podcasts and workshops for both amateurs and semi-pros alike, and, of course, the utterly adorable, melt your dark heart, Black Cat Lounge sponsored by Kitten Rescue.
Hall of Shadows
The mini haunts in the Hall of Shadows really stepped up their game this year. Creative set designs provided chilling visuals with incredible detail, and gifted performers acted out entire scenes, rather than just rattling off a few lines to amuse line goers, which really helped to tell their stories. Special shout-out to the young performers of Salem presented by Twisted Minds Productions, who showed us the horrifying experiences of the witchcraft trials of the late 1690s. My personal favorites, however, were Realm of Shadow: Temple of the Fallen God and Sinister Valley: Secrets of the Mist, whose jungle atmospheres connected with the convention’s dark Tiki vibe.
R.I.P. Our Wallets
The vendor showroom and the Tiki Terror inside the Hall of Shadows were literally a who’s who in the Halloween and horror industry, with plenty of new and fledgling artists and shops. It was a little overwhelming and easy to get lost down the aisles mazes, but there was no shortage of gluttonous eye candy for your brain.
One of the best parts of attending a show like this is getting the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the most spooktacular artists and creators. I’m so happy I had the chance to catch up with my faves, such as Rhode Motijo, Drew Rausch, Rachel Walker and Diana Levin of Ghoulish Bunny.
Mistress of the Dark
Last year, Elvira almost stole the show, when an army of Elvira’s showed up in costume. This year, Midsummer Scream gave the horror icon a good portion of the showroom floor for fan meet-ups and selling merchandise. Despite the fact that Miss Peterson was there all weekend, I didn’t even see her! I was so sad. Hopefully, next year she’ll return and I’ll save my pennies and spring for a photo op with the Mistress of the Dark.
The Grim Grinning Gala
Grim grinning ghosts came out to socialize Saturday night in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Disney’s Haunted Mansion:
Spookiest Cosplay Award
Midsummer Scream gives San Diego Comic-Con a run for its cosplay money with the most creative, outrageous and scariest costumes found outside Halloween night. Here are a few pics that I snapped of fellow convention-goers:
On Friday night, I was able to meet up with my new friends from the Samhain Society for some fun and rum-filled drinks at Long Beach’s newest Tiki bar, The Bamboo Club. We caught up again at the Grim Grinning Gala. Words cannot express how much I’ve learned from this group about running a blog and it’s so great to find your Halloween tribe.
Midsummer Scream threw a much-needed log onto the fire in my soul. I can feel the summer depression burning away, and from the ashes, a phoenix will rise.
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