It’s been a weird couple of years for events, but Midsummer Scream creators are keeping holiday cheer up with an even bigger spooky-Christmas convention at this year’s Season’s Screamings.
Moving out of its Los Angeles shopping mall storefront location of its first two years, the Christmas-o-ween event is now housed at the Pasadena Convention Center.
“It’s a full shopping experience and a convention experience, but we really want it to be interactive as much as possible,” says Midsummer Scream Executive Director David Markland, “for people to make it basically their Christmas party slash shopping experience.”
This year the event runs three days — the longest of any Midsummer Scream event thus far — Dec. 17-19. The event includes some special guests — including Gremlins’ Zach Galligan and The Munsters’ Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster — along with panels and presentations, and The Hall of Yuletide Spirits, with holiday-themed mini-haunts and yard displays in a dark show floor. There will also be lots of Krampus with Krampus Los Angeles’ Krampus Walks at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Friday night offers a special Poltergeists & Pararmours Christmas Spooktacular at 8 p.m. — described as “a demonic Yuletide variety show of horrors.”
Markland took some time from his busy schedule to answer some of our questions about the event:
HalloweenEveryNight:Considering the past couple of years, what was it like putting this event together?
David Markland: I mean for me it’s an opportunity to do something … we did Awaken [the Spirits!] over the summer when we saw a window. We already knew we were gonna do Season’s Screamings. But that we’re still able to do Season’s Screamings is just a lot of fun ‘cause it’s a lot of fun different ideas that we’re trying to pull together that typically wouldn’t be at a regular Midsummer Scream. It’s almost like a relief. It’s a combination of relief and a treat to be able to do something around the Christmas season.
HEN: Did you always intend to make this year’s event larger?
DM: We did it for the two years as a pop-up. Especially after the second year, we knew we were going to have to find a larger space. And this was obviously pre-COVID. Maybe it’s time to bump it up and do it as a full-size convention. And the plan is to grow it, like even bigger than what we have this year. So it’s sort of been in motion a little bit. It’s one step towards making it a pretty big deal. Even though it’s smaller than Midsummer Scream, we’re still doing an event that’s filling up the Pasadena Convention Center.
HEN: Have there been challenges?
DM: It’s definitely been a lot of ups and downs and curveballs. I think over the summer, we expected at this point for there to be no masking anymore and like, you know, no restrictions, but obviously we still have the masks and not only do we have to do COVID tests but just a few days before the event, they shortened the time window that people could show negative test results, by a day. So that’s throwing a little wrench into our plans. It’s an inconvenience to some of our guests and is a distraction for us to do the messaging and make sure we accommodate and try to be as helpful as possible getting out what information we have. But at the same time, like we are excited we can do an event.
HEN: How big is The Hall of Yuletide Spirits?
DM: I think anybody who’s walking inside will be kind of blown away and they probably won’t notice that it’s smaller than the Hall of Shadows — but we still have, I think like a dozen different activations in there. I think about five or six of those are walk-through mini-mazes. … I think guests going through it will really enjoy it because just by the nature of the venue we can’t have as many people there as at Long Beach. So people who have experienced it before will probably find that the lines are shorter — just by the nature of it will be less people.
HEN: What’s the Poltergeists & Paramours Christmas Spooktacular on Friday night?
DM: It’s gonna have a combination of musicians and singers and sketches and some magic … dancers slash models walking around showing off these different styles … mostly themed around Christmas horror films or wintry dark fantasy themes. It’s crazy ambitious. So I really hope we get a lot of people coming to check it out and have fun watching it.
The Gory Details Friday, Dec. 17: 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Pasadena Convention Center 300 E. Green St., Pasadena Tickets