It may have been the end of July, but that didn’t stop the ghosts, ghouls and monsters from arriving en mass at the Long Beach Convention Center over the weekend.
The Mid Summer Scream convention took place over July 29-30, bringing together horror and haunt enthusiasts for a weekend of “spooktacular” fun.
For many, the convention served as a sneak peak into what major haunted attractions – namely Knott’s Scary Farm’s Halloween Haunt, Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, Six Flags Fright Fest, and Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor – might have bubbling and brewing for the upcoming Fall.
And in the midst of all the rotting bodies, psycho clowns and things that go bump in the night, there stood a familiar face – Downey’s own “mad scientist” (and Columbia Memorial Space Center Executive Director) Ben Dickow.
Dickow was on hand to present a demonstration of Spooky Science; something Downey residents have grown to look forward to every year in October
“All of the stuff that you see during Halloween time – all of the makeup, prosthetics, the effects – Halloween is a big special effects time,” said Dickow. “All of that stuff is science.”
Dickow brought many fun scientific demonstrations, many of which Downey residents may have seen during the CMSC Spooky Science nights in years past.
“When we do Spooky Science at the Space Center, I always do a half hour demo piece,” said Dickow. “You make slime; you work with dry ice and things like that. All of that has great kernels of science within it, and it’s all kind of dressed up to be in service of 'spooky,' 'Halloween-ie' kind of effects.”
Still, the obvious question of the weekend to those on the outside looking in is this: Why all the Halloween talk in the middle of summer?
Dickow has a few theories.
“Halloween is October 31st, but the Halloween season starts the last week of September,” said Dickow. “If you’re going to do anything during the Halloween season, you need to start promoting before the end of September…It makes sense that you want to have a Halloween convention sometime in the summer because you need to ramp up and promote your stuff at least that much time in advance.”
Dickow revealed Spooky Science will emerge from the fog at the CMSC once again this year for one night, featuring themed science demonstrations, a maze, and the return of the escape room that debuted last year.
Many details are still pending, however will be announced closer to time.
And what about those who aren’t promoting an attraction? Dickow says they are likely once closeted fans of Halloween who now has a common place to congregate.
“If you’re into Halloween, you really love it but you only get to do it once a year at one certain time of the year,” said Dickow. “At least now you have two times a year where you can come, dress up in costume, pretend that it’s October even though you’re in a convention center in the middle of summer, and you get two for the price of one during the year…it’s a fandom that I think people didn’t know existed, but it’s always been out there. And now you have a place to hang out as fans.”