Thursday, August 3, 2017

Recap: Midsummer Scream 2017 - Day 2

Yesterday I shared my day one at last weekend's Midsummer Scream festival and all the panels, presentations, vendors, and other Halloween and horror goodies I got to see, and today I'll be wrapping up my coverage by sharing all that I did on the second and final day of the Halloween festival. Looking back on this year, I can't believe how fast it went and how much I miss it and wish it was longer. When I went last year, I only did one day and I remember being so exhausted, but this year doing both days of the fest invigorated me and I wanted more! I am already looking forward to next year, but for now check out all the things I did and saw at Midsummer Scream 2017 below.

Stuffed French Toast and mac and cheese at Portfolio Coffeehouse courtesy
of The Wild Chive - fueling up for Day 2!

Day two of Midsummer Scream in Long Beach, California started with brunch at Portfolio Coffeehouse. I had been dying to try their Sunday brunch, featuring a pop-up from The Wild Chive, so I took advantage of being in Long Beach and went! And I'm so happy I did, because it was some of the best food I have had in quite some time. I ordered the stuffed French toast (fluffy slices of potato Texas toast slathered with house-made chocolate hazelnut spread, strawberries, bananas, and slivered almonds and topped with a coconut whipped topping) and Mister Spooky  had the mac 'n' cheese. Both dishes were so phenomenal, but let me tell you that mac 'n' cheese was something else and some of the best I've ever tasted!

After our scrumptious brunch we headed to the convention center about an hour before doors opened (tip: arrive at least an hour early to allow time for parking, walking to the convention center, going through bag check, and getting a good spot in line). There was some weird confusion at the bag check, and we got stuck in the wrong line for about 15 minutes. Luckily, one of the organizers pulled us out and let us inside so we could line up in the correct front of line/press queue. The good news is that they let front of line and press in about 15 minutes early after finally getting their queues sorted.

Hall of Shadows entrance

Tribute to home haunter Gary Corb, who passed away earlier this year. 
Another neat feature of the Hall of Shadows cemetery was that the other
headstones contained the names of Midsummer Scream's creators!

Once we were in we headed down to the showfloor and to the Hall of Shadows (tip: the lines for the mini haunts in the Hall of Shadows get longer and longer as the day goes on, even for front of line, so try and do these early in the day if you are able). You enter the Hall of Shadows by passing under a gothic arch and crossing into the dark where you first see an old cemetery dotted with crumbling headstones and spooky old trees. The Headless Horseman menaces all who enter atop his trusty skeletal steed, as if the warn you about the horrors that lay within the Hall of Shadows...

The Hall of Shadows


Deep within the Hall of Shadows, there are twelve mini haunts to choose from offering previews of their Halloween mazes. These mazes range from ones created by home haunters to ones by pro haunters. Southern California is known for its rich history of home and pro haunts, and it was fun to see such an array of different mazes in the Hall of Shadows, all of which were different from last year's offerings.

 Unhallowed presents: The Last of Man

Immersive Parties' MAC: Mutation Analysis Center

I went through a little more than half of the mazes during Midsummer Scream. It was cool to see such variety in execution, theme, and skill. There were haunts set in space, haunts intricately decorated, haunts with full, rich storylines while others had simpler stories, ghost haunts, sexy haunts, Western-themed haunts, zombie haunts, Lovecraft-inspired haunts, and more. My two favorite haunts were the Hyde Street Massacre and Opechee Haunt's Apparition Adventure: Terror Twins.

Hyde Street Massacre

Hyde Street Massacre

The Hyde Street Massacre tells the story of Otis Hatcher, who was so obsessed with Halloween he lost his mind and became a serial killer. I obviously loved this one because both the outside and inside were decorated with amazing vintage Halloween decorations! Not to mention they had some fun scare actors.

Hyde Street Massacre

Opechee Haunt

Opechee Haunt has you follow in the footsteps of Specter Inspectors paranormal investigation team as you venture through the historically haunted Edwards Family Home, which is said to be haunted by two ghostly twins. I loved this haunt as it fully immerses you in a haunt investigation and its scares were so well-timed that it totally "got" me! Not only that, but the creator of the haunt is only 14 and he recruited all his friends to help design and work the haunt! How cool is that?!

 The delightfully whimsical art of Chicken Lips by David H. Everett

 Fiendies booth - they are behind Midsummer Scream's creepy-cute designs
this year and were offering this gorgeous limited edition Ouija board and
planchettes, plus enamel pins. Love their designs so much!

 Adorable crochet dolls at Rumplestiltskin Studios booth

My Sunday at Midsummer Scream was much more less scheduled than Saturday, where I had panel after panel (and still didn't get to see everything). I got to take my time perusing all the wondrous showfloor, whether it was getting spooked by wandering scare actors, oooooh'ing and aaaaahhhh'ing over gruesome goodies, scoping out the horror celebrities slinging autographs and photos, or checking out some virtual reality.

 Black Willow Gallery booth - they are always one of my favorites!

 Drklght Clothing always has rad tees with a positive message, but I really 
loved these "Hail Walt" candles. #DisneyGoth forever!

Halloween Horror Nights panel

The only panel I wanted to hit on Sunday was the Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood panel, so I made the trek to the Terrace Theater around 1, and the lines were already crazy (even for press, which shared a line with front of line). We got in, and at 1:30 we were treated to a sneak peek of 2017's Halloween Horror Nights from creative director John Murdy and art director Chris Williams! I adore HHN (check out coverage from last year and 2014!), and am already looking forward to their newly announced mazes based on The Shining, Ash vs. Evil Dead, American Horror Story, with more to be announced soon! We saw some sneak peek videos of the new mazes, and also got to see concept art and the beginning of the build-out of the mazes. John and Chris shared concept art of the characters that will populate the scare zones. They promised we would see more scare zones throughout the park and the costumes looked amazing! One section towards the entrance of the park will have more traditional Halloween-inspired characters, and I'm probably most excited for that scare zone. They also revealed that they are bringing back VIP tickets, and I really squealed at that announcement! I love their VIP experience and was so bummed when they got rid of it; I'm so happy it is back this year! You can buy tickets for Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood HERE!

The trek back to the main hall from the Terrace Theater with 
Lydia and Beetlejuice

I fell in love with the artwork of Jason Edward Davis at the Queer Horror booth!
OMG, that RuPaul artwork and Freddy Sloth?! I wish I had purchased more prints.

After the panel we headed back to the main showfloor and did another round of browsing the all the vendors. This year it seems like there was so much more to do, which is amazing, but there just wasn't enough time to do everything. I missed a lot of things I would have loved to see, but at least there is always next year! I didn't get to attend any classes (though, to be honest, since I'm not a home haunter there weren't many that appealed to me), I didn't go to any screenings, and I would have loved to cram in more presentations/panels. I am really happy with what I did do, though! I just wish there was more time to do everything else. 

Ghouls getting their makeup done

I think the organizers improved on the event a lot this year - the front of line kinks were worked out and the Hall of Shadows was organized much better and even the mazes were higher quality. There was better signage throughout the convention center, and better maps of the showfloor and convention center were included in the programs so it was easy to locate the different rooms and halls where things took place. The panels, presentations, and performances they offered were exciting, fun, and engaging. I just wish I had time to do them all!

The only slight hiccup to the event were the lines to get into the convention center - it seems like there was a disconnect between convention center staff and Midsummer Scream staff - it may have been helpful to have staff holding signs differentiating the general admission/front of line and press queues outside (they had signs inside, which was really helpful) and signs indicating people needed to go through bag check first. 

Another note - their aren't a lot of food options, especially for vegans, so plan ahead for that. We brought our own water bottles and energy bars (signs say no outside food or drink, but they didn't question these items at bag check). We also ate before going to the convention center, which helped and also saved us money. There are a lot of restaurants and some food trucks, but be aware lines will likely be long. Don't forget to plan ahead for that!

Overall, though, the event went very smoothly and I enjoyed myself immensely! I was sad when it was over, but I am already looking forward to next year!

For more info, be sure to visit the Midsummer Scream site and follow them Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for updates!

Stay spooky, creeps!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...