It’s starting to feel a lot like haunt season.
Midsummer Scream’s Awaken the Spirits! in August, several horror expos like Summer Spook Nights and haunted attractions like HorrorWorld and Halloween Horror Nights have already creeped back. And now, the return of Creep It Real OC Expo, which debuted in 2019 and went virtual in 2020, is making its way back to Orange County on Sunday, Sept. 12 to help reunite the horror community.
We chatted with co-producer Megan Valantine to get the details on the event and the impacts of 2020.
[Watch Creep It Real OC Expo 2021 footage here.]
HalloweenEveryNight: How has the pandemic impacted Creep It Real OC Expo and the people behind it?
Megan Valantine: The pandemic has allowed us so much more time to plan our expo and make it even better for our audience. In a time of uncertainty around the world, the Halloween community was still there, remaining vigilant and optimistic for what the future might be. We turned our cancelled event in 2020 into an online virtual Shop of Horrors Event, where the vendors who signed up for our event were still able to participate and generate some sales. We are so excited and feel so blessed to have had all the extra time to plan an even better expo for everyone this year!
HEN: How did the partnership with your new location at the Heritage Museum of Orange County come about?
MV: I had worked with the Heritage Museum of Orange County’s Executive Director Jamie Hiber in the past on another project involving weddings and that’s when I remembered what an outstanding venue this was for Creep It Real OC. For starters, the Heritage Museum of Orange County is already haunted with several ghosts. Once we realized this, it seemed like the perfect fit for a spooky gathering. Also, the historic Kellogg House and the Maag Farmhouse blend a perfectly organic atmosphere for a Halloween expo.
HEN: What can guests expect at the event?
MV: Guests can expect over 100 vendors in categories ranging from apparel and accessories to makeup, costumes, masks, hand-carved pumpkins and gourds, and even spooky succulents. There will also be haunt walk-throughs from Corona Haunt, The Grey Phantom and FA Vision Productions, as well as several horrific photo locations sponsored by other haunts and cosplayers. There’s plenty of food and terrorific treats to be had, including our sponsor Rad Coffee, see spooktacular vehicles such as the Ecto-1 and the Orange County Ghostbusters. The grounds will be teaming with cosplayers and monsters rocking out to musical performances from The Rhythm Coffin and our Halloween DJ. Play games and activities, participate in raffle drawings and so much more.
HEN: How has it evolved since the first year?
MV: We’ve definitely more than doubled in size. Our first year we had 43 vendors and this year we have over 100 vendors.
HEN: What safety protocols should guests be aware of?
MV: We are following the Orange County Health Department’s Guidelines for COVID Safety and if anything changes with those guidelines we will continue to keep our guests updated.
The Gory Details
Creep It Real OC Expo
Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021
12 p.m.-6 p.m.
Heritage Museum of Orange County
Santa Ana, Calif.
See photos from Creep It Real OC 2021. / Photos by Jessica Peralta