Thursday, May 30, 2024

Midsummer Scream—world’s largest horror and Halloween convention—returns to Long Beach for heated haunts


Oh yes, boys and ghouls: Midsummer Scream, the world’s largest convention dedicated to all things gruesome and grotesque, returns to Downtown Long Beach in all its gory glory. And yes, you can expect tens of thousands of cosplayers, horror enthusiasts, warmly welcomed nerds, and some of the most creative minds in the macabre when Midsummer Scream welcomes the ghastly’n’grim come July 26 through July 28 at the Convention Center.

Exactly what is Midsummer Scream in Long Beach? And before we answer: Yes, it is massive

When Midsummer Scream premiered in Downtown Long Beach in 2016, its 8,000 attendees was an impressive number for an inaugural convention—and then, things exploded: By 2019, over 30,000 people meandered the haunted halls of the convention center before the pandemic hit.

Upon its return in 2023? 40,000 were expected—particularly following the nervous rambunctiousness of its cooped up following—and, in actuality, some 45,000 people showed up and showed out: From classics like Michael Meyers and Freddy Krueger to odes to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion and outright created-on-their-own ensembles, Midsummer Scream is a wonderfully wicked teether for Halloween devotees impatient for October.

And it goes well beyond the cosplay: talks, immersive experiences—like their Hall of Shadows, which features some dozen-plus haunted walk-throughs, attractions, and elaborate displays

Yes, there’s always awesome Black- and queer-friendliness at Midsummer Scream

Let’s be honest: Horror has always had deep ties to the “Other” experience, especially for people of color and queers and especially for Black folk—both from the villain and victim angle. Outcasts, devils, monsters, first ones to be offed… These have all been labels largely cast upon queer and Black folk for centuries since the racist and heteronormative policies of dominating, oppressing human cultures have existed.

Midsummer Scream proudly desecrates this in the name of sacrilege and, ironically given its horror, decency: Not only is Midsummer Scream extremely queer- and Black-friendly, it has spaces dedicated to showing off Black and queer horror.

No, they are not relegated to a “special” area but rather part of the good ol’ regular program: 2024 features podcast baddies Jazz The 40oz Connoisseur and Kat Daddy of “Girl, That’s Scary” as well as Ivotres Littles of “Horror Movies and Beyond.”

And for the homos and non-binaries and all in-between, Midsummer Scream has brought back The Boulet Brothers of “Dragula”—of which Long Beach’s own drag king master Landon Cider happily won despite the bullshit that is the fact that Drag Race has yet to feature a king but alas, I’ll stay in my fundamentally assigned gay corner..

And yes, there it can be family friendly—with gore-free zones

Even more, families are warmly welcomed for the parents who love the dark side with little ones attached. Surely, there are obvious things to avoid: The front hall and convention floor is, admittedly, a free-for-all and, if your kid is not one to giddily giggle at the monsters, likely not for them.

And even after that, there is a chance: the Pumpkin Patch has a scare- and gore-free space with book readings, activities, performances, and more.

What to expect for the 2024 Midsummer Scream in Long Beach

Umm, some pretty badass guests the name of horror:

  • Cassandra Peterson, better known as the Mistress of the Dark that is Elvira;
  • Tony Todd, the Candyman himself;
  • John Kassir, the voice of the Crypt Keeper from the 90s wonder that is “Tales from the Crypt”
  • Bob Gurr, the man who literally created the “Doom Buggy” at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride
  • Roger L. Jackson, the voice of Ghostface in the “Scream” franchise

And honestly? A shit ton more.

For more information and tickets to Midsummer Scream, click here.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.


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