Desert DJ Entertainment Group
The winner of last year’s Indio TerrorFest costume contest. Credit: Desert DJ Entertainment Group

If the current state of political affairs is not enough of a horror show for you, head to the Tack Room Tavern in Indio on Saturday, Oct. 26, for the eighth annual Indio TerrorFest. It promises to be wild, ghoulish, terrifying and spectacular.

During a recent interview, event organizer Paul Zepeda explained that this year’s theme is classic monsters. Think Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, The Mummy, Wolf-Man, etc. The stages/event areas are appropriately named, including Dr. Frankenstein’s Lab, Phantom of Tavern, Monster Squad and the Area 51 Lounge—with the latter, a photo-booth area, named after the Facebook joke event aiming to raid Area 51.

If you leave home without having dinner, fear not: The Tack Room kitchen will be open all night. Additionally, TerrorFest will offer three dance floors: one inside the Tack Room, one by Polo Pizza, and the third outside, with offerings ranging from classic rock, dance music and reggae/hip-hop, to disco and Latin tunes.

“Something for everyone!” said Zepeda.

Zepeda is the founder of the Desert DJ Entertainment Group, a collective of local DJs which includes of NickiMae, J-Sizzle, Rawkwell, Luthergates and Paul Z. This local ethic carries over to TerrorFest.

“All of the artists are local,” Zepeda said. “We support local bands and groups, and we try to give local people a shot to perform at our events.”

This year’s performers will include DJ Will, DJ Omar, The Flashback Boyz, Mozaiq and Delgados, as well as the Desert DJs themselves—plus special guests. Zepeda says he’s trying to keep the music “friendly and fun and for everyone. We want everyone to have a good time, which is what it’s all about.”

While costumes are strongly encouraged, Zepeda said it is best if party-goers leave costume props (swords, etc.) at home. Yes, there’s one hell of a costume contest. Zepeda says he will have costume scouts going around the event, identifying the best costumes and giving the wearers of those costumes a ticket. At 12:45 a.m., those with a ticket will be asked to report to the Monster Squad Stage. Winners will receive cash prizes and gift certificates to the Tack Room.

“We’re looking at giving a combination of $300 to first place, $150 to second place, and $100 to third place,” Zepeda said, adding that the competition is always fierce.

Since space is limited, it’s wise for attendees to get tickets in advance, which cost $20. They can’t be bought online—only in person either at the Tack Room or Skitzo Kitty, one of the event’s sponsors. Tickets at the door are $25. Though the event has a capacity of 1,200, many people were turned away at the door last year.

Zepeda recommends that people arrive early; doors open at 8 p.m., with last call at 1:30 a.m. Attendees must not forget their IDs, as security will be tight.

“Even (if you’re dressed like the) very frightening, 7-foot-tall warlock from last year, you must somewhat resemble your ID photo,” Zepeda said.

Indio TerrorFest will take place starting at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Tack Room Tavern, 81800 51st Ave., in Indio. Advance tickets are $20, available only at the Tack Room or Skitzo Kitty; tickets at the door are $25. For more information, call 760-218-4725, or visit