Screamfest may be dead, but the thrill isn’t gone just yet

The creators of Screamfest have a whole new thrill in mind for Calgarians this year, with the launch HEX, Canada’s first fan convention for Halloween and horror lovers.

HEX will run from Oct. 11 to 14 at BMO Centre at Stampede Park. The convention will feature vendors, seminars, film screenings, celebrities, and some new scares, too.

“HEX is like a mashup between Screamfest and a comic expo for Halloween,” said co-founder Mike Sheppard in a recent interview.

“It’s all to do with Halloween, more than just scaring you.”

Double trouble: Two haunted house decorations await final touches in the HEX workshop in Calgary on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Artists use fashion mannequins, old decorations, and other materials to build these custom creatures. (Photo by Oliva McFarlane/The Press)

Fans can purchase costumes, learn about pumpkin carving or costume makeup, and attend screenings of their favourite Halloween movies.

Celebrity guests will include Robert Englund of the 1980’s horror series A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Meatloaf from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

While Calgary’s original horror festival, Screamfest, wrapped up last year, it will live on as part of HEX.

“Screamfest will be just one small part of the whole event,” said co-founder Maureen Sheppard.

Attendees age 13 and up can explore six different haunted houses at the new Screamfest Resurrected, which will also take place at BMO Centre.

The rest of the convention will be focused on Halloween rather than horror, for those who love the holiday but don’t enjoy being frightened.

The Screamfest founders partnered with Canwest Productions, a trade show and event company, to launch HEX. The company also runs the Calgary Tattoo and Arts Festival and the Calgary Wedding Fair.

“I can’t tell you how happy we are with our partners,” said Mike Sheppard.

“They’re the experts at the trade show side, and we’re the experts at the Halloween side.”

Ticket prices range from $30 for single general admission to $299 for exclusive ‘RIP Admission.’ They can be purchased on the HEX website.

Talking heads: HEX co-founder Mike Sheppard poses with some creepy characters Calgary on Sept. 11, 2019. HEX will feature six haunted houses for ages 13 and up. (Photo by Oliva McFarlane/The Press)