On July 28th and 29th of 2018, thousands of people called the Long Beach Convention Center their home. They came from far and wide to attend the biggest and baddest Halloween convention around, Midsummer Scream! David Markland and Claire Dunlap (Black Cat Orange), Gary Baker, Johanna Atilano, and Rick West (Theme Park Adventure) are the creative forces behind MSS. They have created, what seems to be, the perfect amalgamation of frights, fun and everything in between. It’s clear they have a love for the Halloween season because every square inch of the Long Beach Convention Center was filled to the brim with world class panels and eclectic collectables. Attendees of MSS, including us, fell in love over the impressive amount of options available because not only was this convention created for Halloween fans, but it was created by Halloween fans.
We’ve attended MSS all three years and it’s astounding to see how fast it has become Southern California’s PREMIERE Halloween event, the Comic Con of the Halloween world!
SHOW FLOOR OFFERINGS
The crew of MSS always seems to get such a wide variety of booths to cover their show floor.
As an example, one of the first things you see on the floor is Slashback Video. This is an all horror VHS art installation & gallery where you can step back in time and visit a mom and pop video store from the ’80s!
You can also find specialty Halloween masks, prosthetics, make up and more! So that your Halloween costume is on point.
Or you can try your hand at a mini escape room from Cross Roads Escape Games! The variety is astounding and truly runs the gamut of Halloween hobbies, costumes, professional haunts/attractions, and collectables!
We were hard-pressed to find your simple run of the mill halloween merchandise booths. Each booth presented their unique offerings, whether that be art work or soap shaped like…*ahem* a particular piece of the male human anatomy. What ever you are looking for, you are sure to find it here!
THE HALL OF SHADOWS
Single handedly our favorite part of MSS…THE HALL OF SHADOWS! In past years, this is where the mini haunts would call home. Of course, because it’s MSS, it’s never that simplistic. In prior years they have created full scare zones (created by Boneyard FX) and have always had a massive entry way (created by Cal Haunts) to set the perfect tone of your experience. This year was no exception, Cal Haunts came through with a gorgeous castle facade and mini walk through to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein!
This year, The Hall of Shadows has doubled in size and now contains not only mini haunted attractions, but a full stage, vendor booths, sliders shows and props from some of your favorite horror films! It was the first time WB Horror Made Here had a presence at this convention and they wanted to make their presence known!
Sinister Pointe had a massive presence on the floor, advertising for their upcoming event, SCARY PLACE! There was even a bar inside their booth.
In the center, you could find Six Flags Fright Fest Unleashed! This was a miniature scare zone created by the incredible scream team artists that bring guests nightmares to life at Six Flags Magic Mountain each year.
One of our MUST DO’s each year is see a slider show by The Decayed Brigade!
These athletically gifted monsters take the floor multiple times a day at MSS to entertain the masses with their sliding talents. Each year, the members of Decayed Brigade have put their bodies on the line to create elaborate and high energy shows. As massive fans, the expectations are always high, but they always deliver. We HIGHLY suggest that you catch a show next time you find yourself at MSS.
This year, we were unable to hit all the haunts we wanted because of our packed schedule. But we did have time to go into The Donnie Darko Experience, Trick r Treat and Hyde Street. All three of these haunts were extremely impressive! Each presenting extremely different themes, different styles of scares and exceptional attention to detail.
The size of The Hall of Shadows this year was perfect! It was big enough to easily traverse with large crowds, but not too big to where it felt empty. We think the inclusion of booths within the Hall, takes it to the next level. We would love to see more booths that glow within the black lights of the area. Maybe even selling glow sticks for the younger kids that attend the convention.
If we had to choose one reason people come to MSS, it is because of the world class panels with the major players in the Southern California Haunt world.
One main difference to last year, the Ballroom is once again the home to all these panels instead of the Performing Arts building which is adjacent to the main Long Beach Convention Center building. We were slightly disappointed because of the grandur of the Performing Arts building. But those feelings quickly evaded us as we laid eyes upon the beautifully lit main stage for MSS. This is a massive step up in production quality from prior years. It set the stage (no pun intended) for many of the epic moments that took place over the weekend.
For all the major announcements and details for Knott’s Scary Farm, Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, WB Studio Tour Horror Made Here, Six Flags Fright Fest, and Halloween Horror Nights make sure to check out our most recent episode of our podcast! We have interviews with John Murdy, Chris Williams and Mike Aiello of Halloween Horror Nights, Jon Braver of Delusions, Gary Soloff of WB Studio Tour and Ken Parks & Pasta Rago of Knott’s Scary Farm! You can actually listen to it below!
Although there were many large announcements over the weekend, the biggest panel had to be Halloween Horror Nights. Fans come in droves to catch a glimpse of what Universal Studios had planned for this years event! The reason for all the hype wasn’t necessarily due to the maze themes, but because for the first time every, West Coast and East Coast representatives took the stage together! As fans of Universal Orlando Resort, it made us incredibly happy to see Mike Aiello along side John Murdy and Chris Williams discussing the details of this years event. It’s moments like these that truly help set MSS apart from all it’s competitors.
Other than the three main pieces of the convention, there is plenty of extra content to enjoy through the weekend. There is the Black Cat Lounge, Zombie Joe’s Urban Death, and educational classes revolving around different aspects in the creation of haunts.
Each year we attend MSS, we are always impressed with the amount of entrainment the creators are able to pack into just a couple of days. Truly testing ones sanity because there is absolutely zero chance to see everything there is to offer. But this is by design, purposefully and we love it! Because of this, even on sold out days (which happened to be both days this year) crowds never seem to feel overwhelming, the show floor is never at a stand still and the lines for the haunted attractions are always manageable. It’s hard to think that over three years, MSS had progressed as far as it has and it’s equally as difficult to image the team topping themselves after such a successful year in 2018. If we have any concern at all, it is whether or not MSS is out growing the Ballroom within the Long Beach Convention Center. Maybe next year they can continue to use the Performing Arts building to help alleviate the congestion issue that arose when ever a big panel let out. Although an issue, it is rather minuscule comparatively to the vast amount of things MSS executed perfectly.
What’s next for Midsummer Scream? Who knows! But what we do know is that August 3rd and 4th of 2019, Midsummer Scream returns to the Long Beach Convention Center. Mark your calendars now because we can guarantee you that Midsummer Scream is here to stay and it’s skies the limit for all us spooky kids who love Halloween so very much.