HauntX Southern CA, 2019

HauntX the Halloween and Haunter's Expo took place in mid-February at the Pomona Fairplex and was a small but fun little con. It caters to professional haunters, home haunters, and the DIY haunted house community. There were two full days of workshops and seminars on building props, designing scares, and even preparing for a visit from the fire marshal. The vendor room had about thirty vendors most of which was for the DIY haunter, but there were Halloween knick-knacks and collectibles, hard to find horror DVDs, and enough cosplayers and picture spots to keep most shutterbugs busy.

Unlike some other Southern California haunting expos like Midsummer Scream and ScareLA, there weren’t any haunted houses to go through, but there were some interactive booths. One of the most popular was the VR game called The Raft. It’s a four-player experience where teammates board a raft and defend the swamp against an infestation of supernatural creeps. Lots of fun for all ages.

Another popular area was occupied by the Decayed Brigade. The fantastic sliding monsters of the Decayed Brigade troupe are a collection of talented and athletic individuals who have elevated a haunt scare tactic into an art form, one that originated at Knotts Scary farms in the early eights. Many of the Brigade members are former or current sliding street monsters at Knotts. The group puts on shows at horror cons, and all kinds of events, birthdays, corporate gatherings. They even have a new show designed for elementary schools in which the dress up as literary characters to promote reading. They did not perform a show at HauntX but they did conduct two different seminars at their booth, one about sliding equipment and the other on techniques. If con goers brought their own slide equipment they were allowed to slide with the brigade and take lessons from some of the best in the business.

HauntX is currently under new management. It had been around for a few years moving from location to location, but it now seems with the new owners they will try to settle in at the Pomona Fairplex. This year it felt very much like a brand-new event, the kind that comes with growing pains. Midsummer Scream, a haunting expo that takes place in Long Beach in July brings in over 20, 000 visitors during its two days. Will HauntX ever grow to that size? I couldn’t say, but they are off to a really good start.

All photos by A. Anderson