There was no reception quite like the one at Midsummer Scream 2022. From the special pass I got to hold as media (EEK!) to the gorgeous banner greeting everyone on Friday Night hung above the show floor entrance reading “Welcome Home, Spooky Kids”. Every year I attend Midsummer Scream sets another jack-o’-lantern aglow in my heart. This year, although mixed with some mild melancholy, was no exception.
You saw me experience Midsummer Scream for the first time in 2017. I then shared my jump into Momvira with a seven-month-old in 2018. As if that weren’t crazy enought, they pulled me back in going totally tiki for 2019. Three magical years of Midsummer Scream with lots of anticipation for its 2022 revival.
Midsummer Scream always has a load of photo opportunities set up around the entire convention center and in vendor booths. Many of them I had the intention of returning to, but never did. Whomp. Whomp. I’m rather terrible about taking advantage of displays like this. Yet these photo-ops are a truly wonderful chance to snag a family or friend group photo. I feel like I say this every year, but I will be better about snapping those pics! One would think I’d be much better about this having two little ones. Alas, c’est la vie.
We did take a hearty amount of time to enjoy LVCRFT’s super fun Scream Studio. This served as a photo-op AND a recording studio capturing screams for future LVCRFT tracks. As if that wasn’t fun enough, I could not resist circling back to Mr. He’s amazing disco ball twelve-foot skeleton to admire her and her inspiring work. When it came to vendor displays, Velvet Apparition’s orange and black Halloween silhouettes booth kept me coming back again and again. It felt like everyone in attendance brought their A-game in their setups and I wish I had more to show you. Luckily, That Halloween Bro’s MSS 2022 essay is just what you need to see it all!
Queens Who Slayed Midsummer Scream 2022
By far, one of my most anticipated moments of Midsummer Scream 2022 was the “Night of the Living Drag” show. The show had to turn attendees away due to the room being PACKED with an eager audience. I felt so lucky to be sitting RIGHT in the second row from the front. I will cover more in my Midsummer Scream 2022 panels post, but every queen was ON POINT. We were ready to get up out of our seats and dance with each number the girls whipped out. We got to become acquainted with quite a few new queens, sparking a new obsession in Mr. He and Oceana. Not only that, but Peaches Christ MC’d the entire thing, leaving me in ecstatic pleasure.
Costumes and Outfits Fit for Trick-or-Treat
I felt like the number of costumers was not up to par as it had been in previous years. However, the ones that came for the scare absolutely brought it! My favorite look we came across was the Jeckyl and Pilgrimess from Thirt13en Ghosts. I’ve crossed my fingers for even more stellar looks for 2023 when hopefully cosplayers come out of COVID hiding.
I will admit that I was remorseful yet thankful that I didn’t try whipping up some costumes to wear. Dressing up for conventions is always a blast. Unfortunately, I couldn’t pull something together that would allow me to help with the kiddos when needed. Plus wearing costumes is exhausting. There’s no way I would have done half the things I did if I had. I did bring one ready-made costume I created for a fun project to wear at the After Dark dance. It was beyond rewarding whenever someone took a look at my ensemble and suddenly had the lightbulb go off.
Regardless, I attempted to outfit my family in matching looks. Friday, we started off the kids dressed as the Pines Twins. However, they got dirty and needed a change before we even made it to the convention center. Saturday was all Vintage Vibes, with Little Monster as a Pumpkin Princess (complete with a glow stick pumpkin wand). Meanwhile, Lil’ Boo “dressed” as the Owl who refused to wear his wings or mask. Meanwhile, we chose ultimate comfort for Sunday, with all of us wearing Midsummer Scream tee shirts. I made the littles’ outfits from oversized MSS shirts I bought on sale. Which I transformed into a dress and a romper. I think they looked adorable. On that note, mine and Erick’s were the perfect getups for parents chasing after little ones at a Halloween convention.
Little Monster’s Favorite Midsummer Scream 2022 Hangout : Pixie Hollow’s Pumpkin Patch
If our first stop on Friday night had been at the pumpkin patch, we wouldn’t have done anything else! The area was surrounded by tables piled full of crafts and projects. These were arranged around the comfiest orange plush rug that hosted a constant flow of child-friendly performances and book readings. No wonder Little Monster loved it. We caught readings of a couple beautiful Halloween books, a magic show and a puppet show. Little Monster is not as into book, especially if she can’t flip through them herself. However, she got into “Halloween Night” by Spooksieboo once the second reading of it came around. It was very entertaining to see how the authors would change their storytelling style to get the children more engaged.
Overall, hands-on activities won Little Monster over in the end. There was a generous selection of paper fan crafting, spooky box decorating, Halloween shaped rainbow scratchers, coloring pages AND slime-making. If this was the only space Little Monster got to experience, she would not have minded in the slightest.
The Hall of Shadows
I have to preface by saying I am NOT complaining about the Hall of Shadows. In fact, it was my favorite Hall of Shadows setup so far. However, those heading to the Haunt epicenter might have been a little disappointed. To me, it felt like there were fewer haunts than usual. That’s not to say that it was empty. In fact, there were a plethora of things to do, especially if you are NOT a haunt lover. I am not one myself, so I appreciated the non-haunt variety.
CalHaunts stirred up nostalgia of Halloween night by creating the coolest spooky street ever called Midsummer Estates. This was complete with a manhole monster and porch lights that signaled if the house was handing out candy. Yup! Actual candy for us trick-or-treating attendees. The Haunt with No Name…Yet returned from Season’s Screamings with a gorgeous cemetery display alongside Casa Calaveras with a day of the dead walk-through. Additionally, we came across a super cool set up of the Halloween house with scenes from the movie. These came to life across the different windows in five-minute intervals and was created by The Witching Auer.
My Kind of Vintage Hallowe’en
My favorite part in the Hall of Shadows HAD to be the Vintage Hallowe’en midway games by The Quail Run Carnival. This adorable interactive display with warm glowing marquee lights beckoned to me. The carnival games were so much fun to play and participants got a little candy regardless of winning. This was a blessing with two little ones who didn’t understand hitting the target. They also had an enlarged vintage witch fortune wheel to spin and I wanted it all.
I couldn’t help comparing this hall of shadows experience to our Season’s Screamings 2021 venture. It seemed that just like with the lack of costumers, there felt to be fewer scare actors roaming about. It is possible that this was due to whatever times we happened to be wandering the Hall of Shadows. However, it left me wondering if there was something more to this. I’m happy to hear that this went unnoticed by first-time attendees. Yet I am curious if any other seasoned MSS attendees felt the same. It seemed that the actors were still bringing their all within each haunt. You’ll have to watch Midge Munster’s Midsummer Scream recap for what it was like within the haunt. I still did not make it in to one, but maybe in 2023?
The Halloween Museum of Wow
Little Monster may have wanted to spend all weekend in the pumpkin patch, but I could have spent it all weekend in here! The Halloween Museum was full of memorabilia throughout Halloween’s commercialism in the United States. I don’t think I even scratched the surface of this exhibit. Each piece was curated into themed categories. These areas included a wall of blow molds, spooky games, earie Halloween soundtracks and even old costumes. There was so much to take in. I hope to see the museum return in 2023.
Connected to the museum was a beautiful gallery featuring original art pieces that symbolized Halloween nostalgia for their creators. Nearly all of the original pieces were up for sale. For those that weren’t, you could buy prints of them at a table near the entrance. My favorite piece was the jack-o-lantern wearing the witch hat, but all of the pieces were outstanding. I did not go home with any prints, but several of my friends did.
Meeting My Samhain Society Family
This was the first year where so many members of the Samhain Society community came together. I have had the pleasure of meeting Spooky Little Halloween and the All Hallow’s Geek team (Mike & his wife, Misty) over several Midsummer Scream events while also having the pleasure of being across-the-hall hotel roomies with Mike and Misty during Season’s Screamings 2021.
Joining the Halloween Summer Camp (as Spooky likes to call it) were Andrew and Devin from Your Best Halloween Ever, Midge Munster and Penny Snark from the Ghouls Night In Podcast and James of That Halloween Bro. As if that wasn’t enough, Bianca of Spooky Melanin Magic made a surprise appearance by jumping last minute on a plane to join the fray! Other special mentions included Lori of Ghoul at Heart whom we individually crossed paths with and Kristy from Halloween Haiku. Hopefully, we can gather even more of us together next time.
Living in Northern Californian’s central valley with raising my littles as my full-time job, I don’t get out much. Motherhood has been my life for nearly five years (it is part of my tagline), and it’s been void of proper friend time. I never been great about keeping in touch with friends and parenting often leaves me feeling like an outsider. I set myself up to fail, what can I say?
Mom Mentality versus Samhain Socializing
Watching all my Samhain Society friends run off to each other’s homes for special spooky projects over the last year or so left me feeling envious and determined to be social during Midsummer Scream 2022. However, I started off super rocky and it didn’t get better. Yup! I spent the majority of the weekend stuck inside my own head and focusing on the kids instead of putting myself more out there. Mom mistake 101.
Despite all that, there were still plenty of cherished moments. We mixed up a Sips & Spirits cocktail favorite for friends interested, squeezed six pals into our hotel room on Friday night for a Sips & Spirits segment, attended the After Dark party in a high school-esque dance circle on Saturday evening, and would gather like cobwebs in corners of the convention center when tired. It was only natural that we didn’t spend the entire convention together. All of our interests within the group are varied, but the after-hour hangouts were magical moments.
Final Midsummer Scream 2022 Thoughts
Midsummer Scream did it once again as the Halloween Kick-off party I needed to revive my spooky spirit. I wish I had done a better job of cataloguing it in photos and video. I do have a little for you just below, but you’ll find even more media coverage in my Midsummer Scream 2022 panels post.
The crowds didn’t feel as intimidating as 2019, however they’ll definitely need to up their organization game for next year. The crowds may have been just as large as 2019, but the staff were definitely rusty when it came to hosting a larger-scale event. This came as a surprise considering how well Season’s Screamings lines seemed to run. Despite that, every volunteer and staff person I interacted with had a cherry demeanor and were happy to assist when they could. I would like to see the tech crews assisting with the panels a little more practiced with the presenters as there were a handful of times where this was obviously an issue. Applause to the guests for keeping in good spirits when the technical difficulties did crop up. Honestly, those are my only complaints about the event. Anything else had nothing to do with Midsummer Scream directly.
As a parent, our complaint towards the convention center was the lack of changing tables in the men’s rooms. My husband is a hero who always wants to share the duties of kid-watching. In fact, when we attend events like this for me, he tries to take on parenting 100% so I can enjoy myself as much as possible. However, with our two-year-old potty-training son, pull-up changes were made challenging when I wasn’t around to utilize a changing table in the women’s restroom.
Would I still consider Midsummer Scream Family-Friendly?
Absolutely! Pixie Hollow is a family’s dream for entertaining your littles after you’ve had some screams for yourself. The Hall of Shadows acts as a great place for little ones tired from sitting in panels to be able to stretch their legs. We were able to navigate the stroller easily and had no issues bringing treats and water in for the littles to snack on. As openly advertised on Midsummer Scream’s website, this is a Halloween AND Horror themed convention. It is something to keep in mind for younger ones that are more sensitive to gore elements as they are openly on display on the show floor. Luckily, it was easy to navigate around these things when they bothered Monster or Boo.
Until next time, Midsummer Scream!
Cheers to five wonderful years!
Were you in attendance at Midsummer Scream 2022? I’d love to hear about your experience there. Be sure to drop your favorite moment down in the comments!