Midsummer Scream 2017: The Halls and the People

Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, CA

Last year, I mentioned how impressed I was by how much of a convention feel Midsummer Scream held in just its first year of operation.  This year, with twice as many attendees as the inaugural year, that feeling was even stronger.  From a plethora of vendors and booths down in the exhibition hall to the haunter guests who came in their monster and/or slider gear to the countless people who cosplayed as iconic horror characters, the scene of Midsummer Scream was very much the type one might spot at a Comic Con.  The enthusiasm was infection.  Despite it being the middle of summer, here were hordes of people in heavy make-up or costume, showing off their passion for all things horror and Halloween.

Lets take a look at some of the general sights around Midsummer Scream this year!

Main Hall

This was the central congregating space for those coming in or leaving, before they continued down onto the Exhibition Hall and Hall or Shadows or around to the Terrace Theater.  This year, the ground level was home to two stage rooms--one for non-marquee panels and the other for performance art.  In addition, Urban Death and Fallen Saints Productions presented live haunted theater multiple times a day off the main aisleway.  Further down, the Black Cat Lounge was home to the returning Kitten Rescue Los Angeles, offering cat adoptions to kitty lovers.  Throughout both days, lines were long just to get in.  Rounding out the offerings were two classroom spaces for haunters interested in honing their craft and the Screaming Room, a horror cinema space hosted by HorrorBuzz.

Exhibition Hall

Downstairs lay the commercial part of Midsummer Scream--a sprawling exhibition hall filled with vendors of haunt accessories, props, costumes, artwork, special effects vendors, and more.  In addition, guests quick on the draw could sign up for interactive experiences, including condensed escape rooms, virtual reality experiences, a zombie shooting gallery, and more.  There were literally hundreds of booths of exhibitors, making Midsummer Scream a multi-stop shop for any horror fan's greatest desires.  If you couldn't find it here, there was a good chance it doesn't exist!  Beyond that, the Exhibition Hall was also the place for meet-and-greets with figures notable in the world of frights (or frights-associated items)--and it was technically home to the Hall of Shadows too!

At various points over the weekend, guests could also meet famed horror actors like Sid Haig of House of 1000 Corpses, Kane Hodder of the Friday the 13th series, Tony Moran of the Halloween series, Bela Lugosi, Jr., Disney Imagineering legend (and Haunted Mansion omnimover inventor) Bob Gurr, cosplayer Leeanna Vamp, Knott's Berry Farm and 91 Reasons podcast's Jeff Tucker, and many others.  That's not a shabby line-up by any means!

People Watching

My favorite part of wandering around the festival, however, was just seeing all the creative costumes and characters people came dressed as.  Sometimes, it was difficult to tell which were amateur home creations and which were sponsored professionally made-up guests roaming the halls to promote an upcoming haunt or show off professional make-up or take part in other formal events.  This is what really reinforced that convention ambiance--the fervor of the fans to go all out to show their love of the macabre.  It is ultimately the fans that make an event like Midsummer Scream such a success, and what makes Halloween season so ever-popular.  Without the people, the scares are empty.  So I loved seeing and photographing the turnout!

Suffice to say, despite the issues that do come with running any large event, Midsummer Scream was an utterly fantastic time.  From panels to classes to haunts to performances to people, everything was a testament to the energy and enthusiasm haunters and haunt fans bring for spooky things.  For a genre so rooted in dark, twisty content, the haunt community is pleasantly tight-knit and loving and (in general) supportive of each other.  It's almost as though everyone knows they're freaks together.  How nice that there's a top notch, quality convention like Midsummer Scream to celebrate all of this!

That wraps up the work week, but we've actually got one more Midsummer Scream update to share, showcasing the fantastic Decayed Brigade sliders.  I will hopefully have some time to post that this weekend.  If not, next week.  Until then, stay spoopy, and have a wicked weekend!

Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.