Events & Attractions

When Two Holidays Collide: Season’s Screamings 2022 Review

A Season's Screamings banner hangs over the entrance at the Pasadena Convention Center

When Season’s Screamings debuted in 2021, it positioned itself as a rather unique convention. A holiday twist on a convention that is typically the homecoming for Halloween lovers. Born of the annual Midsummer Scream convention, which has been held in Long Beach, CA, each summer since 2016, the convention looked to bring all that fans loved of the con, complete with panels, haunts, and vendors, but in a post-Halloween setting, and at a smaller venue. Somehow, they made it work. Like Haunted Mansion Holiday at the Disneyland Resort, which turns the spooky mansion into a festive “The Nightmare Before Christmas” infused holiday spectacular, Season’s Screamings does a fantastic job at showcasing what happens when two holidays collide, bringing the best of both Halloween and Christmas into a single convention.

Season’s Screamings returned to the Pasadena Convention Center this past weekend for its second year. The folks behind the event were kind enough to have us out to experience it and all of the holiday horror fun they had in store. While it could be related to the fact that its first year was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year it was up against L.A. Comic Con, one of the first things I will say about this event is if you are intimidated by the crowds of Midsummer Scream this is definitely one you’ll want to check out, as it gives you the best of the summer convention, but at a smaller scale and with much smaller crowds.

At the heart of the convention are the over 200 artisans and vendors, making the event the perfect place to grab the more unconventional gifts for that horror or Halloween lover in your life. The show floor is filled with vendors of all types selling everything from books and movies to toys and collectibles to artwork to clothing and accessories. Many of the vendors were familiar to me as I’m obviously at Halloween and horror events year-round. Still, one in particular that caught my eye this year was Little Cute Horror Creations, whose 3d paper art pieces I was particularly fond of.

Among the rows of vendors are also several photo ops, which make great Instagram fodder and could also serve as the photo for your annual Christmas cards.

One of the more unique aspects of Season’s Screamings is, of course, The Hall of Yuletide Spirits, a holiday take on the Hall of Shadows, which is a cornerstone of Midsummer Scream. The hall features holiday-themed haunts and displays from some of Southern California’s most popular haunters. This year’s hall featured a nightmarish North Pole entry piece from Fear Farm, which featured evil elves, giant gingerbread men, a sinister Santa, and singing heads on pikes.

The entry granted access to the eight other haunts and displays that filled the hall, including Santa Ana Haunt’s “Santa’s Naughty List,” Pizza Planet Truck’s “Gremlins Take Over,” the Casa Calaveras “Holiday Fiesta,” and more. You can see more from the Hall of Yuletide Spirits in my Season’s Screamings 2022 highlight video. While Fear Farm’s entry was perhaps my favorite part of this year’s hall, I also really liked the Valley Fright Nights 3D Killer Clown maze. The maze had a great Freak Show facade, and the 3D glasses element made navigating the maze a bit more disorienting, which I imagine ups the scare factor for folks who scare easily or are afraid of clowns.

For Season’s Screamings 2022, the event program featured over a dozen timeslots dedicated to panels, presentations, screenings, and more. New for 2022 was the addition of the HorrorBuzz Holiday Horror Film showcase, which curated 20 holiday-themed horror shorts that showed across two separate screenings on Saturday and Sunday. I was particularly excited about this since I always miss HorrorBuzz’s Screaming Room Film Festival at Midsummer Scream due to panel conflicts. The films were a mix that ranged from good to bad to WTF?! You can check out one of my favorites from the screening called “Humbug” below, and I’d also recommend checking out the animated short “Cookie Crash.”

Throughout the weekend, I attended most of the panels and presentations offered. One of the great things about Season’s Screamings is that with only one stage, there is no content overlap, and you can easily enjoy most of the panels. This year, like last, had a great mix of panels that ranged in topics from “The Shining” to haunt sliders to dark winter folklore from around the world to the “Flanaverse,” which was a panel hosted by Bloody Disgusting’s Boo Crew podcast featuring writer/director Mike Flanagan along with some of his regular collaborators like Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel, Annabeth Gish, and Axelle Carolyn.

As a horror fan, I particularly enjoyed “The Shining Legacy” panel, which brought together horror directors Mick Garris and Mike Flanagan along with actors Steven Weber and Henry Thomas to discuss their adaptations of Stephen King’s “The Shining” and “Doctor Sleep.” Garris directed the 1997 “The Shining” T.V. mini-series with Weber playing his Jack Torrance, and Flanagan directed the 2019 “The Shining” sequel “Doctor Sleep” with Thomas as his Torrance. Much of the panel was spent discussing how the directors and actors worked to separate themselves from the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of “The Shining,” which famously strayed from King’s storyline and is famously hated by the author.

The Season’s Screamings weekend was actually sandwiched by Flanagan, with the director taking part in the first panel on Saturday and closing out the event Sunday evening with the “Flanaverse Reunion.” This was a dream for fans of the works of Mike Flanagan as you got to really see how much Flanagan and his cast of actors genuinely admire each other and could get a sense of why they all work so well together.

I’d be amiss if I didn’t also mention some of the entertainment from the weekend. Saturday night of the event closed out with a secret screening hosted by Dead Meat’s James A. Janisse and Chelsea Rebecca. With Shudder’s “Christmas Bloody Christmas” being featured in pre-panel advertisements, it had many of us thinking it would be the contender for the secret screening, but instead, Season’s Screamings-goers got to be the first audience ever to see the Grinch horror parody, “The Mean One.”

Saturday’s schedule also featured “The Nightmare Before Dragmas,” a holiday horror drag show that was put together in about a week to benefit the Colorado Healing Fund, which was set up to support the victims of the Club Q tragedy in Colorado Springs. Produced by HorrorBuzz’s Norman Gidney and hosted by Barry Under Your Bed, the performance raised $1,266 through “tips” and donations; however, with $500 matching contributions from Midsummer Scream, 13th Floor Entertainment Group, and Backstitch Bruja, the total raised by the end of Season’s Screamings was $2,766.

Season’s Screamings again showed us what it’s like when two holidays collide, bringing the best of what Midsummer Scream has to offer, but creating a unique enough holiday event that doesn’t make you feel like you’re just reliving your summer memories. If there’s one thing I love most about Season’s Screamings, it’s that, in some ways, it helps make it feel like the Halloween season can last a little longer while still reminding you that the holidays are upon us. While nothing has officially been announced, I hope to return to Pasadena in 2023 for another weekend of holiday horror fun. In the meantime, here’s a moment from the weekend that I won’t soon forget; Actress Kate Siegel thieving an elf from the stage at the end of the “Flanaverse Reunion” panel.

For more information on Season’s Screamings or Midsummer Scream, be sure to check out

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