It seems that nowadays Halloween is little more than tired social media memes and carnal desperation in costume form, stumbling into each other at a party (sometimes in the same costume). Sure—maybe it’s that I’m no longer a youth and feel bitter that God has forsaken me. But doesn’t it seem more likely that we’ve irreversibly wandered into the web 2.0 dystopia—an era of celebrity anarchy and narcissistic youth? Either way, it’s clear that the world should have quit while it was ahead. Yes, the candy is still good; yes, it still takes the edge off the beer. But one must wonder “What have we done to the kids?” Fortunately, there is somebody out there still thinking about the kids: The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
Every year the museum puts on a themed Haunted Museum for their members, bringing together science and scares—and for the past several years, we’ve designed the invitations for them. Last year, it was “Fairy Tales and Scary Tales,” for which we created a two-sided book featuring a mix of characters from ogres to dire wolves.
This year, the museum decided to turn the Haunted Museum into a travel destination of sorts: the “Land of Awes” (as in The Wizard of Oz). This destination concept delivered the design direction to us on a platter: we would turn the invitation into a travel brochure. Fleshing the idea out, we designed one side to be a poster inspired by travel posters from the thirties, while the other side became a metaphoric map of the evening’s itinerary. Naturally, both sides included a hybrid of Oz characters and museum specimens, such as a tin Thomas the T. Rex, a cowardly saber-toothed tiger, flying monkeys, and Fruitaden Munchkins. It was a lot of work, but fortunately Grace the intern was here to help us illustrate Thomas and the tiger.
While it is just one invitation to one event in one city, we feel proud that we were able to do our part to keep Halloween from falling completely into the evil clutches of post-adolescent party culture and keep it just a little bit fun for the kids (however doomed they may be). Plus, it was just awes-fully fun to create. @scottfuse
Take a look at the gallery, and let us know what you think. >>