Halloween is right around the corner and ScareLA kicked the season off with fangoric fanfare that included interactive fright zones, virtual reality, panels and live shows, photo ops and more macabre amusements. But the bloody heart of the event is always with its vendors who set up shop throughout. Here, the booths that stood out amidst the blood and boos.
1. Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats
The only 100 percent feral cat rescue, Kitty Bungalow takes these waifs off the street and teaches them what a little love and human kindness can do for them. Their graduates fall into two camps: the free working cats who help protect businesses from mice and rats, patrolling the premises looking for people to glare at, and the very popular work-from-home program, where promising young cats make a lifetime commitment to study the art of purring, making bread and needlepoint (on your lap) with their human companions. If you want to visit the bungalow, make a donation or just see some really cute photos, click here.
2. Drew Rausch’s One-Stop Spooky Shop
It can be very easy to become overwhelmed by the number of independent artists at conventions these days. Mashups are everywhere — from pin-ups of DC vixens to Disney characters both alive and undead to giant-eyed waifs doing or saying twisted things — but you don’t see a lot of artistry like Drew Rausch. The SoCal comic book and horror movie lover and co-creator (with Jocelyn Gajeway) is best known for the popular underground comic Sullengrey. Rausch does all his own printing, and you can score a print that looks like a million bucks, even if you only have 20 bucks. Visit his online store to see more of his amazing work or join his mailing list to find out which cons he will be at next.
3. Diva Dreads
I’ve seen Diva Dreads at several shows this past year and each time I can’t help but stop to talk to them about their wonderful instant falls (for non-glamour gals, a fall is a type of hairpiece). Family-owned and based in Riverside, Diva Dreads started six years ago with the mission to let all women feel beautiful and to let them express their unique style without damaging their natural hair. Shop online for Diva Dreads or see them up north at the northern Renaissance Faire this September-October 2018.
4. Dreadful Little Things — “Giving Old Dolls a New Afterlife”
Each of these demonic-looking dolls is a one-of-a-kind art piece created by an artist known as Megan. While she currently does not have a live online store, you can find her on Facebook to contact her about owning one of her creative darlings. Or check out Sinister Pointe's Curiosities in Brea or the Zombie Apocalypse Store in Las Vegas for her wares priced at a very reasonable $160 and below.
5. Vinyl Makeup’s Graveyard Glam
Sometimes you just really want to support someone other then Sephora (especially after we lost the indie brand Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics to Sephora’s machinations) and when you want to find a great vegan, quality brand you can’t do better than Vinyl Makeup. It's a true independent brand with cool rock- and goth-inspired names. Check out its Ace of Shades lipsticks and Thunder Kiss liquid lipgloss on the website.
6. Diaphonized Specimens
Diaphonization, developed by scientists G. Dingerkus and L.D. Uhler in 1977, is a process to render an organic specimen clear and stained by bathing it in trypsin, then coloring its bone, muscle, or cartilage with special dyes. These hauntingly beautiful, see-through artworks are the type of home adornment that is a bit frightening but also like the Siren’s song, impossible to ignore. Starting at $39.99 on Etsy, they make for a night light that really is more of a fright-light.
7. The Original Zombie Gnomes
With 6,861 sales in the last seven years on Etsy, Chris and Jane’s Place zombie gnomes are often replicated but never truly equaled. Having seen them at several conventions, I find myself stopping and trying to find an excuse to put together a Gnome Zombie Apocalypse room in my home. Prices are very reasonable, especially considering that each gnome is handmade and hand-painted in the United States.
8. Moldy Creations
Located in Pismo Beach, Moldy creates one-of-a-kind handmade works of grotesque art, from wine glasses to cannabis procurement devices. You can live like a scary serial killer without ever actually having to harm a living soul with these super-realistic grotesqueries in your home; they're a must-have for the truly dark of heart. Find them on Etsy.
9. Hellflower Soap
Soap maven Carrie Simpson has the solution for filthy, freaky types: cool and creepy soap with funny names and great scents. I never knew I needed popcorn soap till I smelled it, but I absolutely broke down and bought three bars at Hellflower. This was one of those cases of not looking but finding while at a convention. You can find Hellflower next at Spook Show Bizarre or buy directly from its Etsy shop.
10. Huntington Hospital Blood Drive
Ve want to take your blood! Ve want to take your blood! I mean, dude, come on — give a little blood! Only 3 percent of eligible California donors donate blood and we know you can spare a few pints for us, right? huntingtonhospital.org/Support-Us/Donate-Blood.aspx