Spooky Empire in Orlando was Delightful, yet Disturbing

Zombie Crawling Under Car, Spooky Empire, Orlando, Fla., Oct. 26, 2013
Lookout for Gnomes! Spooky Empire, Orlando, Fla., Oct. 26, 2103
Lookout for Gnomes!

Attending Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Horror Weekend in Orlando was delightful, yet disturbing. Food & Wine Weekends led me to the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek last weekend for a delicious experience. Central Florida is a hub of activity and taking place that same weekend was the horror fest. Typically, I would not have attended but my Sarasota friend Vi was attending in an effort to shop her screenplay and since she invited me to tag along I figured, why not?

Amazing Makeup with the Perpetual Evil Grin, Spooky Empire, Orlando, Fla., Oct. 26, 2013
Amazing Makeup with the Perpetual Evil Grin

Rats! I Forgot the Fake Blood
By no means am I an expert in the realm of horror and reading a Stephen King novel is about as spooky as I get. Indeed, walking toward the hotel’s convention center I realized I had forgotten something. Fake blood! Horns! A crossbow! This con was definitely a photographer’s dream as many attendees were extremely creative in their costume construction.

What’s in this horror season? Zombies! And zombie killers. Along with vampires. And spooky clowns with perpetual evil grins. (Freaky!) Werewolves are still in (I’m forever Team Jacob, re: Twilight reference) and I saw the most adorable little werewolf baby. At first glance I thought it was REAL! Even touching it I thought it was real but alas, it’s a silicone creation by a talented artist. See the photo below, isn’t it cute?

Awe! A Baby Werewolf! Spooky Empire, Orlando, Fla, Oct. 26, 2013
Awe! A Baby Werewolf!

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Vendors in the exhibit hall ranged from edible to wearable to wondering, why would you want that on the mantle? I’m talking about taxidermy mice and bats. Not the kind the Tampa Bay Rays swing, the kind with wings. Yeah, not my thing.

Sorry PETA. Taxidermy Mice. Spooky Empire, Orlando, Fla., Oct. 26, 2013
Sorry PETA. Taxidermy Mice.

I did find a pair of white, fuzzy ears and pink horns for my Halloween costume. Well, not sure if you call it a costume. Along with my everyday street wear, I’ll be wearing them for Halloween. I also picked up ghoulishly good pottery pumpkin from artist Catherine Galgano of River Mud.

Outside in the parking lot I got the heebeegeebees looking at all the hearses. Some were quite clever with their accessories, such as zombie mannequins and psychotic gnomes. There was even a vehicle made with a coffin.

Zombie Crawling Under Car, Spooky Empire, Orlando, Fla., Oct. 26, 2013
Zombie Crawling Under Car

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Vi and I attended a session for authors and although I have no plans on penning a horror novel, I would like to write something someday and this panel was extremely beneficial and inspirational. One of the authors on the panel was Michael Leonard. His passion for his fantasy book and being a writer was contagious (in a good way) so I decided to pick up his book Ryvah – Plight of the Fairies.

Treasures I Purchased during Spooky Empire, Orlando, Fla., Oct. 26, 2013
Treasures I Purchased during Spooky Empire, Orlando, Fla., Oct. 26, 2013

Not sure if I’ll find myself at another Spooky Empire but at least I can now say I’ve attended Florida’s largest horror fest. View additional images on Flickr. 

Happy Halloween!



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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