Bring on the Halloween season: Midsummer Scream 2018 is officially in the history books! Midsummer Scream ran from July 28th to July 29th at the Long Beach Convention Center and got us all in the spirit of the scary season despite the 85 degree/85 percent humidity weather. We arrived on Saturday morning and fought for parking, then got into the convention center. We were once again impressed with the Long Beach Convention Center. It had ample AC – especially when considering the sheer number of people walking around, as well as a tasty little cafe area. Other Southern California convention centers could learn a thing or two from them.
Once we walked onto the exhibit floor, it was like being hit with a wave of Halloween joy. People walked up and down the aisles, browsing and shopping, and we saw vendors selling FX equipment, toys, handmade crafts, and more. The folks from the Mystic Museum even had a recreation of their highly-received “Slashback Video” video store on the show floor. Knott’s Scary Farm had a cool photo op available for attendees as well as a limited edition event pin, while Six Flags Fright Fest had a makeup demo setup. Monsters being made up from here were later seen in the Hall of Shadows, but more on that later. The exhibit floor also saw some celebrity signings, such as Cassandra Peterson (“Elvira”) and Kimberly J. Brown (“Marni” from Halloweentown) – each looking like they were having a blast talking with fans.
The Hall of Shadows, Midsummer Scream’s dark zone of mini-haunted experiences, has been greatly expanded. Not only were there a lot more mini-haunts in the area, but there were also specialized vendors (some selling glow in the dark props, masks, etc) and exhibitors. With all the haunters displaying their work in the Hall of the Shadows, it is hard to select our favorite, but we think that honor would go to Murder House Productions Trick ‘r Treat maze. Their attention to detail in recreating scenes of the movie was incredible. Also showing off their skills in the Hall of Shadows was the “Decayed Brigade”, a pro-sliding group made up of former and current scare actors. Six Flags Fright Fest brought a small haunted walk-through activation to the Hall of Shadows, complete with monsters and more all ready to scare attendees.
Midsummer Scream saw a number of panels and presentations, including those from the big haunted attractions in Southern California. Knott’s Scary Farm announced a new scare zone called the “Forsaken Lake”, while Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights unveiled a Trick ‘r Treat scare zone. Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor unveiled a revamped attraction this year with maze designs from Jon Cooke of Plague Productions. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour also unveiled a number of new mazes for its upcoming “Horror Made Here” event, including some based on “The Exorcist” and “IT”. In a wonderfully surprising turn, Midsummer Scream hosted a Hocus Pocus anniversary panel which saw actress Thora Birch talking about her experiences making the movie. The panel even had a trio of Sanderson sisters-look alikes performing, quite well, “I Put A Spell on You”.
This brings us to the only real problem facing Midsummer Scream: Parking. Unfortunately, the event parking was completely overloaded this year and it took quite a while to find a spot. Even then, we ended up parking a good distance away and having to leg it back to the convention center. I don’t know what can be done to solve this situation, but I hope it is something that can be addressed for next year.
Midsummer Scream has already announced its dates for next year and you can find it at the Long Beach Convention Center on August 3rd and August 4th, 2019. And, with that, we wish you a happy beginning to the scary season as we will start seeing more updates released from your favorite upcoming haunted attractions, preview events to report on, and a lot more. Happy Halloween! 🎃