Former NBA all-star Shaquille O'Neal will loom large over the Shaqtoberfest Halloween haunt at the Queen Mary in Long Beach in October. / Photo courtesy Thirteenth Floor Entertainment
Former 15-time NBA All-Star Shaquille O’Neal will be looming large over the first-ever Shaqtoberfest Halloween event at The Queen Mary in Long Beach.
“Halloween can’t come soon enough,” said O’Neal of the interactive experience. “Thirteenth Floor Entertainment and I have some tricks up our sleeves to make this the most spook-tacular Halloween event ever.”
Shaqtoberfest will include six Halloween-themed areas for guests to explore. Featuring trails, games, live entertainment, food and more. O’Neal will also narrate the experience with his distinctive voice.
“Shaqtoberfest will be unlike any other Halloween attraction that we have ever produced, and we couldn’t be more excited to be launching it at one of the area’s most well-known locations and show our fans what we’ve created for them.” said Chris Strafford, CEO and founding partner of Thirteenth Floor Entertainment.
Guests can trick-or-treat before evening descends and lights and music turn on. O’Neal’s spooky minions will be released onto the trails to give everyone a good old-fashioned scare.
The H.M.S. Queen Mary sailed the Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967. On its final voyage, the ship left Southhampton, England, on Halloween 1967 and sailed to Long Beach, where the legendary ship was turned into a tourist attraction. The ship is also the subject of an upcoming horror film starring Joel Fry and Alice Eve.
Dark Harbor, the previous themed Halloween haunt that Queen Mary hosted, was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. It is currently unknown if it will return.
Jon Braver, director of Immersive Entertainment for Thirteenth Floor, answered some of our questions about the new event:
HalloweenEveryNight: What was the inspiration behind Shaqtoberfest? Jon Braver: We were introduced to Shaq through a mutual friend and they connected us as he began getting more and more into producing live events and Halloween activations. Shaq is all about fun, so it was a no-brainer to partner on what we believe is the most fun holiday of the year. We have so enjoyed putting this new twist on celebrating Halloween with Shaq and his team to bring Shaqtoberfest to the public.
HEN: Is Shaq a big fan of Halloween? JB: Shaq loves Hallowen — who doesn’t? Shaq is a known prankster, especially around the Halloween season when it gets spookier.
HEN: It’s a family event in the day and a scary event in the evening. How will the transformation take place? JB: During the day, there will be family fun trick-or-treating and entertainment for children of all ages who are encouraged to dress in their favorite Halloween costumes. In the evening, things will get a bit spookier — energetic lights and music turn on as the witching hour begins. Shaq’s “ghoulish minions” will storm the grounds and make their way through the haunted trails.
HEN: What has the process been like taking over The Queen Mary’s land for this event? JB: Long Beach has a long-standing reputation for hosting amazing Halloween events, so the process has been great. The city has been very helpful and supportive of us producing the event alongside The Queen Mary.
HEN: There’s a lot of spooky history surrounding The Queen Mary. Is some of that history going to be incorporated into the event? JB: The Queen Mary is so iconic and well known, as is its spooky background. The location itself will definitely incorporate the history of The Queen Mary and all of the eerie mystery surrounding its energy.
HEN: How many mazes and monsters can we expect? JB: Within the attraction, there will be six thrilling Halloween-themed areas for guests to explore, each featuring Halloween trails and special monsters — also known as Shaq’s “ghoulish minions.”
HEN: What other activities will make up the event? JB: Aside from the Halloween trails, Shaqtoberfest will include various games, delicious treats, speciality drinks, exciting live entertainment and more. We want to leave some aspects of the event to the imagination of the visitors and hope that they come out and love what we have put together.
To sign up for early access and stay up-to-date on the event, visitShaqtoberfest.com.