There’s nothing like a trip to the county fair to get you in the mood for horror and Halloween! At least thats how I felt after visiting the Los Angeles County Fair a few weekends ago. I was still in the full swing of summer. You know…bbq’s, bonfires, and beach days. While at the fair I witnessed a few peculiar reminders that my favorite haunt season is just right around the corner.
Creepy Fair Rides
Let’s start with the rides themselves. Everyone knows how scary carnival rides can be. As the attendant loosely set my safety belt I couldn’t help but stare nervously at the nuts and bolts holding the ferris wheel together. It’s got to be safe…right? Probably not a good thing to be thinking about while you’re suspended 100 feet up in the air.
Among the fair attractions that will spin you, toss you around and make you utterly dizzy was one simple and slow dark ride called the Haunted Mansion that looked pretty cool. The outside of the ride was designed and painted with some really spooky imagery. There was even an animated prop of a man being electrocuted by the entrance. Unsuspecting guests would walk by and set off a trigger that made him shake violently in an electrocution chair. It definitely grabbed my attention!
We sat down and watched the people’s expressions as they exited the ride and it seemed they were all smiling instead of shaking their heads in disgust. That was enough to convince me to give it a shot. The tightly cramped seat (and I mean tight) ride car drove us through a door and into the darkness. And yeah…it was kinda scary! More creepy if anything. A light would shine quickly on a…thing in a corner that started moving. It was hard to tell what it was but damn…it was very creepy! Reminded me of a scene from the old scary movie The Funhouse (1981).
Famous Horror Icons
After eating some cotton candy and other deliciously unhealthy treats we saw some classic cars on display. My favorite (and the only one that got the most spectators) was the black truck with a large image of Elvira Mistress of the Dark painted on it. To whoever decided to paint that image on that truck…I salute you brother!
This year the LA County Fair featured a whole building dedicated to Halloween and horror. They had the usual art vendors, fog machines and other merchandise for sale. They also had a few life size replicas of famous monsters like Nosferatu, Freddy Kreuger, and Leatherface that you could take pictures with.
And then there is this guy. He was on display in a building with no air conditioning. I’m perfectly aware of how enduring Howdy Doody was to children in the 1950’s but this guy just looked a bit odd. Never mind that he’s missing all but one tooth. It’s that blank look on his face that creeps me out. I kept imagining that his eyes were moving ever so slightly.
Not everything at the fair was creepy though. In another room where they usually display the table setting contest winners I found this interesting setup. The theme is of course the Haunted Mansion from Disneyland. I love that they have the original Madame Leota face instead of the new one in the crystal ball. If you don’t know your Haunted Mansion history you really should read about it here: Favorite Ghost – Madame Leota.
Freaky Fair Foods
I mentioned we had our share of freaky fair food, but this one took the cake. The guy might look like a mad scientist performing some dangerous experiment but he was actually making one of the more popular desserts at the fair this year. He used liquid nitrogen to freeze a few favorite flavors together, then poured them back and forth between two containers to make small nitrogen liquid ice balls. My niece ordered one and as she ate the flavored ice balls, smoke billowed from here mouth and nose. Probably why the dessert was called Dragon Breath.
We wandered to another building where there were tables of old retro video games and comic books. I found this vintage Monster Mash record book. Pretty cool, right? Notice the original price was only 0.99 cents and they were selling this book for $10. Inflation. Now that’s really scary!