Monsterpalooza is a big horror and special effects convention in Pasadena, California, and usually takes place in the Spring time. Not far from Hollywood, the event attracts a lot of local special effects shops and is more focused on make-up and prosthetics than other shows.

I started vending at Monsterpalooza in 2017. It’s now 2024, so I’m updating this post. Here’s how things started.

My First Monsterpalooza

I had heard that Monsterpalooza was a good place to vend, so I gave it a shot. I figured there was probably a good bit of horror and stage wear/post-apocalyptic crossover. Monsters could look pretty good in some of my stuff. And who knows – maybe a special effects company would like my stuff enough to hire me to create wardrobe for their projects (hasn’t happened yet).

2017 was my first time at Monsterpalooza. I had heard about it in passing from some of my prop maker / special effects friends. I reached out to the event organizer, Eliot Brodsky, and he was able to work me in. He had heard about my time running Wasteland Weekend, which I suppose gave me an advantage. Vendor spots can be hard to come by.

I got to work creating some prototypes, which would be the Fraktur jacket, the Fury dress, as well as a pair of post-apocalyptic pants with some motorcycle stylings. I would premiere those at Monsterpalooza (and at Danzig’s Blackest of The Black Fest).

Monsterpalooza 2017 was also my first time at the Pasadena Convention Center. The drop-off system was a little complicated. I had to drop off my stuff during an allotted half an hour spot, which is just enough time to unload, cart your stuff to the elevator, take it up to your spot, and then bring the cart back (there are multiple drop off methods available – it can be easier if you have less stuff).

The vendors I met my first year said it was a great show, even their best, but they noticed a change in 2017. The crowd seemed to be shifting. They noticed a lot more “Halloween” shoppers (people looking for mass-produced merchandise like posters, t-shirts and masks) and fewer of the type of shoppers that made it such a great show in the past. Namely, the latter shoppers were appreciative of the artisanal quality of one-off or small-run pieces made by the skilled and talented artists of the local Hollywood special effects and prop scene. But overall, there was a huge turnout!

I had a spot in the back, across from concessions. It was a good spot, but probably not the best. Not too far from me, the owner of Shrine of Hollywood was selling his designs, as well as some Tripp NYC apparel.

My Monsterpalooza Experience

I can say after about 7 years that Monsterpalooza is indeed one of the best vending opportunities I have had. The show stretches out over 3 days and almost 20 hours. There are huge crowds, some fantastic customers there, and Eliot and his staff are great to work with.

A lot of my years have been break-even. That might sound surprising, but I think it’s fairly normal. I have come to see events like this as opportunities to gain customers who will hopefully go on to buy more in the future, and a chance to meet face-to-face with current customers and friends. I have also picked up many valuable insights from other vendors.

Luckily, the attendees of Monsterpalooza love to clothing shop, and some of my best years can be credited to my best sellers: the Wanderer jacket and the Fraktur jackets. I even sold a Wanderer to Tom Savini.

My table/booth has been more centrally-located in recent years, which I think has helped.

Monsterpalooza Demographics

For those considering vending, I took a look at what I sold and the kind of people attending, and tried to make some guesses at some things vendors should bring.

I think straight-up horror stuff – like flesh and blood and eyeballs sort of thing – should do well. I think flat art always does well at conventions.

There were obviously a lot of horror film buffs (films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead, Halloween, and Creepshow) in attendance.

Looking at the crowd, I noticed at least two groups of people that stood out.

There were a lot of punks and metal fans out there. These tended to be Latino and in their late 20s – early 30s. These were fans of bands like the Misfits, Iron Maiden, The Cramps, and Black Sabbath.

Then there was an older crowd of 45 and older males who were clearly more into it for the special effects make-up and technical side of it. They dressed fairly normally. These are probably the old-school guys who were getting into this stuff back in the 80s and 90s.

Son of Monsterpalooza

A quick word about Son of Monsterpalooza. I used to vend there also, but stopped after the pandemic. It’s a different show. It takes place in the Fall, at the Marriott hotel, and the attendees tend to be more local. People seem to come there more to socialize and have a few drinks.

My sales were never as good as they were at the main event, and I eventually decided to stop vending there.