For ghouls and goblins who haven't quite grown up yet, the mere utterance of the word Halloween elicits glee. For these folks, catching a glimpse of the Halloween Club, which operates year round, just off of I-5 in La Mirada, is enough make them long for October 31. This Saturday, Halloween hounds will be thrilled to know that everyone's favorite creepy holiday mega store will be hosting its fourth annual Spook Show.
The returning event will once again bedazzle guests with a host of vendors, colorful musical acts, artisans, props, artists, and a general aura of Halloween flavor. Event producer / Halloween Club social media marketer Dora Alfaro spoke with the Weekly in advance of the Spook Show to answer some questions about the Spook Show's creepy origin and about Halloween Club's role in the increasing presence of off-season Halloween related events.
OC WEEKLY (Scott Feinblatt): How did Halloween Club's Spook Shows get their start?
Dora Alfaro: Halloween Club's Spook Show got its start four years ago when the owner of the company, Jack Bhasin, came to me to coordinate a meeting place for the Phantom Coaches Hearse Club. He suggested reaching out to local spooky vendors as well to see if they would want to make that meeting into a bigger gathering to celebrate the spirit of Halloween in February... essentially creating an actual Halloween Club. Our very first Spook Show was in February that year.
Why is the event held in March this year?
Halloween Club is a Halloween warehouse. We sell Halloween costumes, decorations, and accessories year-round... but we live the lifestyle too. We travel across the country to Halloween conventions and tradeshows. When we return back to business, our 'business as usual' is geared toward preparing for the holiday. Undeniably, working in the Halloween industry is fun and rewarding on different levels - but we miss the celebration of the holiday too. Recent trends/themes/celebrities (e.g. Krampus, the surge in witchy-themed businesses, popularity in zombies thanks to The Walking Dead and cosplayers) indicates we aren't alone. The growing niche of people into the Halloween lifestyle do feel a void - especially after the Christmas holidays. There's no other Halloween event around the Los Angeles area until midyear, so we wanted to be one of the first ones to kick off the year and give the fanatics their Halloween fix. Logistically though, March made the most sense for us this year.
To what extent is there a Halloween Society (in terms of friendly relations or business partnerships) between Halloween Club and ScareLA?
We have gone on to see many of our vendors off to ScareLA and have been supportive of each other's ventures. We have always felt that all ventures like ours only strengthen our businesses as customers and our clients are exposed to more creative products and ideas.
I'm going to guess that the attendance has been good in the past given the increase in attractions / vendors. How much bigger is Spook Show going to be this year compared to previous years?
Last year our turnout was over 13,000 attendees throughout the course of one day (inside and outside of the Halloween Club store). It was such a positive experience, we had old and new store customers from different parts of Southern California come in for this big occasion. This year the growth of vendor applicants has increased over 50%. And we are anticipating attendance to grow by at least 20%.
Why is it necessary to RSVP for a free ticket? Will there be a ticket cost for people who don't RSVP?
The event is free, but we do require people to reserve their tickets so we can calculate Halloween Club preparations and personnel, heads up for the vendors to come armed appropriately with inventory - especially the food vendors. It's very important to gauge how many people are coming and keep them informed beforehand of event updates. So asking attendees to reserve tickets is the best solution. The event will still be free for people that don't reserve, but they will still need to check in at the entrance. Tickets are not required to enter our Halloween Club store though.
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Is there anything you'd like to add about the event in general or in terms of this year's Spook Show?
20th century Spook Shows were traditionally events that consisted of seances, magic shows and monsters, but Halloween Club's Spook Shows are a friendlier take on all that. However, as we continue to grow the Spook Show, we will incorporate some historical elements. This is why our reviewing process of vendors plays an important (and very difficult because there's so much talent) role in all this. We look for unique and spooky vendors/performers that represent what Spook Shows once were or hold strong appeal to the different subcultures related to Halloween. Our Halloween Club stores cater to all these groups. This includes people with a penchant for horror, gothic, witches, curios, cryptology, steampunk, and the cosplay scene.
Our Spook Show is a truly a labor of love; this is why we ask so heavily for feedback from attendees. We want it go grow more spooktacular every year. One of the biggest qualms last year was limited option of food vendors... especially for vegan! This year we'll be having the Jogaski, Lobostruck, Tri Tip trucks and Southern Fried Vegan, Mountain Witch Tea Company booths to name a few. There was also a demand for more vendors for our 4th Annual Spook Show so we've opened up the event arena to at least 25% more vendors. [Finally,] previous years our event has fallen on hotter than average days so we recommend that all event-goers come prepared.
Spook Show 4 will take place March 5th, 2016 at Halloween Club. Event doors open from 12 pm to 7 pm. Halloween Club doors will open at 10 am that day with a special storewide sale.