The LA Mart was the sight for the first Halloween Convention to be held in Los Angeles, appropriately called ScareLA. Being its inaugural year we didn’t know what to expect, but had always wanted to go to those big haunt conventions they’ve been having for years, such as HauntCon in Texas. We weren’t left disappointed as everything from the layout of the convention floor to the lineup of speakers and how-to panels were professionally done. Congratulations are due to Lora Ivanova and David Markland, the creators of the event, who we’re sure are already busy planning for next year.
The convention was held on the second floor of the facility and made use of every square foot. Upon getting off the elevators you’re greeted by an elaborate scene of pumpkins courtesy of The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. After that you see a huge round platform with people getting makeup done as goblins and ghouls under the supervision of Larry Bones (Bone Yard Effects) who’s elaborate work brings the Universal Halloween Horror Nights monsters to life every year. If you look to the left you see a display from Reign of Terror in Thousand Oaks and to the right is Dread Central (one of the ScareLA sponsors). You then have your choice of which aisle to go down to start your journey into a world of Halloween and horror magic featuring vendors selling and displaying the latest animatronic props, costumes, accessories, gifts, supplies and anything else you could think of to add to your collection or include in your own haunted house. Some actual haunts were there giving sneak previews of their attraction. Sinister Pointe even had a model of it’s new Spirit Lounge set to open in Brea this October. There was even a double-wide coffin ride courtesy of FearsGate in Oxnard.
With so much to see we didn’t have much time to catch many of the panels or how-to demonstrations, but the ones we caught really grabbed our attention. The first one that we saw was Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights which was hosted by John Murdy (Creative Director) and Chris Williams (Art Director). They were joined on stage by Jason Blum where the three of them announced the newest maze, “Insidious: Into the Further”. You can imagine how excited we were that Universal was going to have a paranormal maze. The next one that we saw Ghost of Los Angeles hosted by “Uncle Creepy” from Dread Central and featuring Richard Carradine (GHOULA), Scott Michaels (Dearly Departed Tours) and Richard Berni (Boyle Heights Paranormal Project). Talk ranged from paranormal activity at Linda Vista Hospital and the Curse of Griffith Park to a tour that features the dead. Finally, we saw Captured Aural Phantasy Theater where actors brought us back to the days of radio, melodramatically recreating scenes from horror comic books.
Overall we were very impressed with what we experienced and highly recommend that everyone come out and visit ScareLA next year. We can officially say that the Halloween season has kicked off.