Insomniac delivers the happy haunts at Escape Halloween 2023

Mark Pacis

Other than EDC, Escape Halloween is one of my favorite festivals. The annual spooky Halloween celebration is an eclectic mix of visually striking stages and A-list musical artists. As it usually is with Insomniac and the NOS Events Center, they meticulously plan and use up every available space to give attendees a little bit of everything.

There is an area for various circus-like presentations, like freak shows or fortune tellers. Escape also had its own “downtown” area called Crazy Town. Here, you can find multiple small stages, like Poison Ivy or The Butcher—the latter featuring scare actors and “mutilated” bodies in the corridor on the way to the club area of the building. There was also a silent disco area where you could grab some headphones and party to the beats of the DJ playing for you.

Escape Halloween 2023 - The Grimm
Ivan Meneses for Insomniac Events

However, Escape’s main stage (The Grimm) features the event’s most elaborate stage out of the rest. Not only did Grimm house some of the biggest names in EDM, but it features one of the most remarkable stages with its completely movable skeleton figure—the centerpiece of the entire stage. Not only do the arms move up and down, but so do the body, head, and mouth. I’ve seen this skeleton before when I last went to Escape in 2019. However, it wasn’t as animated as it was this year. Not to mention, Grimm’s VIP area had some of the most immersive areas and activities to do there.

Escape Halloween 2023 - Feeding Grounds
Jake West for Insomniac Events

Now, I must admit that as a highly arachnophobic person, I wasn’t a massive fan of Feeding Grounds. It’s a stage that had a spider nest as its stage theme. However, since it was the season of scares, I toughed it out to see a few of my other favorite artists there.

Escape Halloween again showed me why it’s my second favorite festival behind the incomparable EDC. Insomniac’s artistry and attention to detail make them some of the best events to go to in the US. Insomniac founder Pasquale Rotella is a massive fan of Disney parks, and he recognizes the magic of immersion and fun. He brings that magic to his festivals by combining stagecraft, set designs, fun activities, and music. It all comes to the forefront with Escape Halloween, and this year is no exception. I highly recommend going if you ever can go next year. If you get scared easily, let the music of some of the biggest names in EDM put you at ease. It’s worth it.