If creepy dolls, horror-themed jewelry and Halloween-inspired art are your thing, husband-and-wife team Megan and Kevin Valantine have a place for you this upcoming spooky season.
Creep It Real OC Expo launches Sept. 29 at the Sea Country Community Center in Laguna Niguel for enthusiasts in the market for Halloween merchandise, as well as those wanting to learn more about local attractions.
“I’ve always been the biggest Halloween fan ever,” said Megan, who has a background in retail management. “Probably because my birthday is six days before Halloween.”
With larger Halloween conventions firmly established in the Los Angeles-area, including Midsummer Scream in Long Beach and Monsterpalooza in Pasadena, the Rancho Santa Margarita couple saw a need for something closer to home.
“It kind of seemed like the perfect [location] between San Diego and L.A.,” said Kevin, who works in video and event production.
For their first year, they’re keeping the event small with around 30 vendors.
“This fills out our main hall and has enough flexibility to allow some entertaining vendors to expand a bit,” Megan said.
There will be an area dubbed the Boneyard, a garage sale-like environment outside of the community center, that will be geared to DIY-ers.
There will be food trucks and a costume contest.
In addition to Halloween-themed products, guests can expect the presence of paranormal investigators like Orange County Ghostbusters and Orange County Ghosts and Legends, as well as haunted attractions like Laguna Niguel Haunted Trails, Fleshyard Haunted Attraction in Anaheim and Cross Roads Escape Games in Anaheim.
Cross Roads Escape Games, which opened in January 2016, is bringing its 10-minute, mini, portable escape game, “Hydrotherapy Box,” for Creep It Real OC Expo guests to try.
Owner and creative director Madison Rhoades said it’s an offshoot of their full-length game, “The Psych Ward.” The mini game, for three to five players, has one person in the box while the rest of the team works together to get their friend out.
“I think a horror expo a few weeks before Halloween is a great way to get O.C. ready for the spooky season,” said Rhoades. “It’s great for business[es] who have a creepy side to show off what new things they are bringing this year.”
Adam LeBlanc, owner and operator of Anaheim’s Fleshyard Haunted Attraction, said he plans to bring a themed booth he created where guests can snap Instagram photos.
The Fleshyard is in its fifth year, and this year’s maze theme is “supernatural slasher.”
“I think the O.C. definitely benefits in having expos [and] conventions like this that bring attention to the Halloween season,” he said. “Being a haunt owner, Halloween is definitely a year-long business for me.”
When: Sept. 29 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Sea Country Community Center, 24602 Aliso Creek Rd., Laguna Niguel
Cost: $10. Children 12 and under are free. Tickets available on their website, Eventbrite and at the door.
Information: creepitrealoc.com. Cosplay is welcome.