Celebrating its 20th year, Spooky Empire (a well-known and widely attended convention focused on the dark side of popular culture and fandoms) will return to Orlando later this month. Running October 27-29 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, this year’s event will feature famous celebrity guests, plenty of live shows and entertainment, expansive tattoo festival, special FX classes, and even a complete, indoor haunted attraction.
We were so honored to sit down with “Spooksperson” Jaimz Dillman to discuss the upcoming convention and what we might expect at the 2023 event. Thank you, Jaimz, for chatting with us. Now, let’s take a look at some of the things you can see and do at this month’s Spooky Empire!
Spooky Empire Zombie Walk
A fan-favorite Spooky Empire tradition, start your terrifying weekend with Orlando’s longest running zombie walk! Beginning at noon, gather at the The Pub on International Drive to enjoy menu specials, meet other horror fans, and prepare for the slow stalk to the start of the convention. The party at The Pub will run from 12-3pm and will include:
- a FREE pint of Elysian Space Dust Beer
- Beer, cocktail, and shot specials
- 15% off your bill at The Pub
- the opportunity for professional effects by Post Mortem FX, Mick Velasquez, aka Dr. SkuLL, Face & Body Painting by Justin, and Tifinie Boutot. (professional makeup services will require a small fee)
At 3pm, all zombies will make their way to the Hyatt Regency Orlando for the start of the convention. For more information about the annual Zombie Walk, check out https://spookyempire.com/zombie-walk/.
Celebrity Speakers and Guests
Of course, Spooky Empire offers the chance to meet many of your favorite celebrities and horror icons. There are simply too many to mention in this article, but some notable guests include Kiefer Sutherland (24, Designated Survivor, The Lost Boys), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Nancy Loomis (Halloween), Freddy Rodriguez (Bull, Ugly Betty, Six Feet Under), Alex Vincent (Child’s Play), the cast of Five Nights at Freddy’s, Rose McGowan (Scream), and many more!
Depending on their personal preferences and time constraints, celebrity guests will available for autographs and photos in the Autograph Room. You might also catch some actors in special movie panel discussions or Q and A sessions. Check out the Spooky Empire schedule for the most up to date information!
If you’re looking for a permanent souvenir, head inside the Spooky Empire Tattoo Festival! With over 50 talented artists, you’re sure to find one with a style and design that fits your needs. Too scared to brave the needle or not sure what kind of ink you want? You are free to walk around the area, watch the work being performed, and ask questions.
Each event evening, Spooky staff will give out a “Tattoo of the Day” award as well as other artist recognitions.
Special FX Classes
Want to learn how to create monstrous looks and horrifying special effects? This is your chance to sit in on professional demonstrations teaching gory make up, costuming, prop design, and more. Available instructors include Michael Burnett of BadMoonFX and artists from AEO Studios. Some classes may incur a fee for specialty instruction or materials. Check the posted schedule to see available times and to make a reservation!
Spooky Empire Film Festival
With a wide selection of independently produced feature-length and short films, find your new favorite monster at the Spooky Empire Film Festival!
The leadership at Spooky Empire is dedicated to the support of small businesses and independent artists. In this year’s massive vendor hall, you’ll find a variety of booths featuring horror and pop-culture themed artwork, oddities, clothing, accessories and more. So, stock up on Christmas gifts for your gore-loving and nerdy friends at Spooky Empire!
The Carving Haunted Attraction
This year you can enjoy an all-new haunted attraction INSIDE the Spooky Empire convention! Located in the Orlando Ballroom, The Carving will be available all weekend long!
Here’s the backstory for The Carving:
Irving Maxwell was a locally known pumpkin carver, but his town stopped celebrating Halloween after a boy dissappeared and the mother went mad, and began killing children. His business dried up and no one wanted his work anymore. Bitter and delusional he started traveling to fairs and roadside Exhibits to make ends meet. Late one night while carving his most delicate work he was interrupted by a drunk who would end up ruining the sculpture. In a fit of rage he split the man’s head in two and used the remains to correct his work. In his eyes it was a masterpiece. Now he is on the hunt for the perfect pieces to carve and turn into works of twisted art.
To visit The Carving, you will be required to purchase a $10 ticket. Buy your passes online to secure your spot!
Between celebrity panels, special FX classes, and trips through The Carving haunted house; make sure to check out the live entertainment at Spooky Empire! There’s a variety of creepy shows and programs available including a Rocky Horror Shadow Cast, burlesque troop, and even a goth dance party. As always, check the convention schedule for the most up to date timing and location information.
How To Visit Spooky Empire
Running October 27-29, Spooky Empire is located at the Hyatt Regency Orlando (9801 International Drive Orlando, FL 32819). VIP Passes are currently sold out, but you can still purchase single day or weekend admission on Spooky Empire’s website.
See you soon at Spooky Empire!
Don’t miss all the horror-filled fun at this year’s Spooky Empire! You can find more information about the event on their website. And make sure to follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for all the latest weekend updates!