Shaquille O’Neal Makes Trick-Or-Treat Festival “Bigger and Scarier” – What Is Shaqtoberfest?

Published 10/08/2023, 10:30 AM EDT

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If there’s a mayor of parties and spooks, they have an All-Star competitor: Shaquille O’Neal brought back his spectacular, universal, and entertaining festival for Halloween month for the second year in a row. It’s Shaqtoberfest now, the blend of horrors, music, entertainment, and food in a historic venue. After the successful launch last year, Shaq’s Halloween festival improved but stayed family-friendly at its core.

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If you’re a fan of the macabre looking for a ‘spooktacular’ experience, head to California where Shaqtoberfest is on a bewitching run. Before that, here’s what’s in store at the Big Diesel-curated fiesta.

Shaquille O’Neal’s Shaqtoberfest returns


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A natural on stage, Shaquille O’Neal is topping ‘The Event’ and his epic New Year’s parties in the Halloween season. He launched Shaqtoberfest in 2022 and he’s brought it back to the same venue, Long Beach, California. Enhancing his party-throwing panache are the Authentic Brands Group and the Halloween entertainment titans of Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group.

We are excited to come back bigger and scarier this year,” the Los Angeles Lakers superstar’s statement read. Shaqtoberfest prides itself on being family-friendly, focusing on entertainment instead of gore. It’s still a ghoulish destination for haunted house fiends, starting from its venue itself.


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Where is Shaqtoberfest?

The city of Long Beach took over the retired British ocean-liner, The RMS Queen Mary, in the ’60s. It converted the vessel and its surrounding grounds into a hotel, museum, and event space. With its history comes haunted stories. The Queen Mary has several accounts of ghost sightings on the vessel, making it a popular site for horror buffs all year round.

The pandemic impacted the business at this major tourist site. But Shaq is bringing it back to life with the undead. After three years of inactivity, the site is open to the public again with the arrival of Shaqtoberfest.

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It started on September 28 and will continue through October 31. Tickets start at $29 but vary on select nights. Details about tickets are available on the Shaqtoberfest website.

Shaqtoberfest’s unique attractions

Shaqtoberfest is not your run-of-the-mill single-course haunted house. It’s a large-scale Halloween festival with multiple trails and options to choose from. You enter through a giant model of Shaq in his wizardry persona, and are immediately surrounded by an immersive experience.

Zombies in disintegrated pre-war attire roam the place busking on misshapen items like drums and sinks. Some of the animatronics move to eerie hip-hop beats too. That’s not the only DJ Diesel touch here.

If you’re not walking through the horror trails, you can enjoy live DJ events at the grounds. The live entertainment is complemented by carnival rides, themed bars, and cocktail lounges. There are also different VIP packages with access to exclusive zones. The Homecourt Bar and the VIP Slam Dunk Lounge are where this horror show gives a nod to Shaq’s NBA career.

Kids who don’t want a nightmare can enjoy the Loopey Looney in the Midway Madness among other rides. But there’s a creepy clown on the prowl looking to recruit kids into a sideshow act. Another option for the kids is the classic ‘Pumpkin Patch.’

Those in a party mood should head to the LVCRFT Block Party. Hosted by DJ Reaper and Skeleton Sam, this live event spins tunes out of the official Shaqtoberfest ‘Slaylist.’ Keep an eye out for daily updates on pop-up performances at the Diesel’s Boathouse too.

No matter what, do not miss the ‘Witching Hour.’ 30 minutes after the festival opens, Shaq’s minions rise from the graves and gather in the Block Party for a blood-curdling performance.

The haunted paths of Shaqtoberfest

The distinct feature of Shaqtoberfest are the exclusive zones with different themes and activities. This year, Shaq and his creative partners have added more attractions to choose from.

The newest addition is ‘The Grey Ghost Haunted Trail.’ It’s named after Queen Mary’s alternate name when the cruise liner was made into a WWII troop carrier. It was painted battleship gray to camouflage in the mist, thus earning the name ‘Grey Ghost.’ This trail celebrates the reopening of the ground with a special horror zone in the belly of the ship. The challenge would be making out which ghost is fake.

The VIP Engine Room Experience is another spine-chilling trail. The “spirit-led” (read: self-guided) tour goes below deck, 50 feet under the water level, deep in the engine room. This spot is already infamous for alleged sightings of the ghost of an engineer who supposedly died in an accident here. The Shaq-curated experience gives the ship’s history beyond all the unexplained deaths.


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No haunted experience is complete without a maze. Shaqtoberfest’s mind-boggling offering is at the ‘Deadman’s Wharf.’ Watch out for the undead seafarers in the mysterious fog here.

A little adventure makes it even better in the ‘Pirate’s Cove.’ This treasure-hunt zone also has Captain Shaq’s Hideaway, a little themed bar with rum punch.

Delving into his new Fantasy Labs persona, Shaq has added ‘Shipwreck Graveyard,’ a multimedia space disguised as a fishing village. Visitors get to interact with live animations and take photos.


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With so much to take in, you can’t leave without a souvenir. Watch out for Shaquille O’Neal and Shaqtoberfest-themed merchandise shops among the scares.

When are you heading to Shaqtoberfest?



Written by:

Caroline John


One take at a time

Caroline John is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She has been covering athletes outside the sports arena since the start of her reporting career. A writer at heart, she graduated with a degree in journalism from a reputed university.
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Edited by:

Caroline Joseph




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