Dastardly Debut: Midsummer Scream Fest

The Halloween-plus convention brings the eeks to Long Beach in late July.

When you were a kid, dressed up as Frankenstein or a pirate or a ghost or some combination of the three, did you save the best block for last, the one with not one but two expertly decorated houses? The ones that gave out candy and had a spooky graveyard on the lawn?

Nah, you probably hit that block first, the better to enjoy those houses right away. Prepare to find that fright-tastic spirit again, come the hottest weeks of the year, when the brand-new Midsummer Scream makes its dastardly debut at the Long Beach Convention Center over the final two days of July 2016.

True, there is much Halloween macabre-o-sity afoot right around that time, with ScareLA unfolding like a bat's wings in Pasadena in early August. But that block with the two awesome, eerie houses? The block all the kids loved? Consider these two huge Halloween conventions to be those houses, sitting on opposite sides of the city, ready to frighten/delight all comers.

They're not affiliated, do note, but note that Midsummer Scream arrives at just about the time that the major theme parks begin to hire their autumn monsters, those people who love to shamble around Universal Studios and Knott's Berry Farm making visitors giggle/shriek.

Let's call Midsummer Scream, then, right on time. Your haunted hosts? CreepyLA and Theme Park Adventure. Your vendors, participants, and attractions? The Queen Mary's Dark Harbor, Ten Thirty One Productions (the mischief-makers behind the LA Haunted Hayride), and Figment Foundry are some of the early confirmers on an already lengthy list.

Pros in the art of the yard haunt, make-up experts, info-packed panels, and those who know Halloween as well as a kid knows the contents of his candy bucket by the end of Oct. 31 will all be in the capacious house.

Already moaning, undead-style, for a ticket to the July 30 and 31 gathering? They'll be on sale soon.

Already excited that your Halloween-style jumps start in July? It's a Southern California thing, the love of spooky-making hobbies, whether those hobbies lead the fall fan to dressing up her garage, ghoulishly, or trying out for a theme park event, or going into the film business as a professional.

It's a fun and fearsome thing, then, that we locals don't need to wait for the bags of candy corn to appear on the store shelves to rev up our spirited pursuits.

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