Spooky Empire is back in Orlando for its large annual convention, bringing plenty of horror happenings to Central Florida this Halloween season.
Visitors to the “Dark Side of Comic Con” can find dozens of art vendors and tattoo artists, celebrity photo ops, horror makeup and prop demonstrations, costume contests, a film festival and more. All of this takes place at Hyatt Regency Orlando Oct. 22-24.
“It’s three days of costumes, autograph and photo sessions, and celebrity Q&As. There’s also the vendor room, which is going to be the biggest we’ve ever had,” said Jaimz Dillman, “spooksperson” for the show. “It’s not just a horror convention, it’s all things combined … It’s an open invitation to everybody who doesn’t fit the norm.”
Here are all of the deathly details for fans attending the show.
Spooky Empire takes place at 9801 International Drive in Orlando, opening at 1 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. The vendor room is open 1-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Autograph room hours are 4-8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. The tattoo festival is 1-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets to terror
Those who purchased a ticket to one of the canceled 2020 Spooky events can use the tickets at Spooky Empire 2021.
Friday and Sunday tickets are $45 in advance or $50 at the door. Saturday tickets are $55 or $60 at the door. Three-day passes are $85 in advance or $90 at the door. Children ages 10 and younger enter for free.
Photo ops and other add-ons are available in advance online. VIP passes are sold out.
Autographs need to be purchased separately; celebrity guests charge their own fees for autographs, ranging from $20 to $80. Some celebrities may also charge for a photo at their table, while others may take a photo for free with the purchase of an autograph.
A number of celebrities will visit Spooky Empire for autographs, photos and Q&A sessions.
This year, fans can see Robert Englund of “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” Freddie Prinze Jr. of “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Scooby-Doo,” Kathy Najimy of “Hocus Pocus” and other icons from spooky flicks.
Guests can also visit with Tyler Mane of “Halloween,” wrestler Mick Foley, Alex Vincent of “Child’s Play,” Lance Henriksen of “Aliens,” Sherilyn Fenn of “Twin Peaks” and James Murray of “Impractical Jokers.”
Find a full lineup of celebrity guests at spookyempire.com.
Tattoos and vendors
Nearly 100 tattoo artists will be set up in their own section of the festival, ready to give attendees a new piece of body art. Many of these talented professionals take walk-ins for fans who get the impulse for fresh ink.
The exhibitor room is also larger than ever before, featuring a wide array of art, comics, creepy dolls and more.
“It’s every kind of art piece and craftsmanship that you can find all parlayed into horror, rock’n’roll, pop culture,” Dillman said. “In the vendor room, you’ll see one table that has lampshades made like human skin and on the next table, you’ll see someone with boxes of classic comic books.”
The weekend starts off in earnest with a Zombie Walk on Friday afternoon, which will bring together gory crowds for a walk from The Pub Orlando to the host hotel.
“At 3 p.m., we will slime our way down I-Drive toward the Hyatt,” Dillman said. “You can see everyone overtaking I-Drive and it is the best to watch the reactions.”
The weekend also features costume contests to recognize the weekend’s best cosplayers and craftsmanship. A kids zone area features trick-or-treating and crafts, plus a costume contest for the young ones.
The adult contest takes place at 4 p.m. Sunday inside the Windermere Ballroom. Registration is open Saturday and Sunday at the will-call area.
Spooky Empire’s Horror Film Festival is making its comeback this year with awards for the best short film, best feature, best special effects and more. Films will screen throughout the weekend with some panel discussions on the schedule as well. The best films will be recognized at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
Horror makeup and prop demonstrations teach creators how to work with foam latex prosthetics, make foam tombstones and utilize cenobite makeup.
Other special events and include burlesque shows, a shadow cast “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and a “Beetlejuice” singalong.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, attendees are strongly encouraged to wear masks, wash hands regularly and maintain social distancing between parties.
Fans should also plan to stay home if feeling sick and refrain from congregating in large groups. For celebrity photo ops and autographs, stars will set the masking policy for close interactions.
For tickets and a full festival schedule, visit spookyempire.com.