Midsummer Scream: Early Halloween Harbinger

Pick up costume tips, find eerie decor, and hear from the people planning the mondo theme park haunts.

Don't be fooled, for one moment, by these sweat-inducing afternoons and too-hot-to-do-much mornings we've been experiencing. For out of the corner of your eye there's frost on the pumpkin and a chill wind blowing down from the spooky house on the hill.

Which is all to say this: It's now pre-Halloween time in Southern California, and that's only one "pre-," and not pre-pre-pre-Halloween (which, really, is spring in Los Angeles). The theme parks will soon seek monsters for their big fall spectaculars, yard haunters are researching this year's macabre motif, and down at the Long Beach Convention Center? 

Oh, it's Midsummer Scream time, or nearly, witches, warlocks, good elves, and mischievous imps of Los Angeles. The two-day convention is back for year #2 and it has a host of panels, presentations, and ways to up your Halloween game on the eek-filled itinerary.

Some spooky doings to note for 2017? Beyond the Fifth Dimension: Creating the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is going to be a gotta-get-a-seat panel, no doubt. And the voice of the attraction, Mark Silverman, will be in the house (his primo Rod Serling impression is a gasp-summoner and a spine-tingler, both).

Those who dug "Are You Afraid of the Dark?," the '90s-era Nickelodeon hit, will want to queue up for the alumni-filled look-back at the series, and a celebration of 45 Years of Knott's Berry Farm'll surely draw buffs of Buena Park's annual Ghost-Town-and-more ghost-it-up.

"Into the Black," a new SoCal haunt for 2017, will get a sneak peek, too, in addition to the theme park panels, the ones highlighting everything from the Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest to Queen Mary's Dark Harbor to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood.

And over at the Queen Mary on the Saturday night of the convention? There's the Sinister Circus, a ball sure to draw many convention goers over to the said-to-be-haunted ship.

The Scene

Want to find new things to do in Los Angeles? The Scene's lifestyle stories have you covered. Here's your go-to source on where the fun is across SoCal and for the weekend.

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La Brea Tar Pits Museum's ‘Saber-toothed Summer' is right on point

The dates of all of this not-too-dastardly, semi-diabolical, monstrous-to-the-max fun? We'll wave our hands at the encroaching mist, now, to see if we can get a clearer read. Ah yes, here are the dates: Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30, and tickets are available.

We weren't joking about pre-Halloween beginning now in SoCal. The frost isn't actually on the pumpkin, and pumpkins are still a ways out, too, but fans of the fall are already plotting their costumes, their yards, their garage-based haunted houses, and which scary spectaculars they'll for sure attend.

No squirming out now, eeky people of Southern California: Midsummer Scream is a harbinger that signals further fun frights just around the corner. If you dare look, that is. <cue wicked laughter>

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