View Full Version : Darklight Tour 2011: come say hi!

04-24-2011, 01:27 PM
Updated to reflect current status (9/3/2011):
Keeping up with customers and getting insights to the industry has been key to our business this year. As I'm writing this, I'm planning our upcoming cross-country haunt tour for the Halloween season. Besides the tremendous amount of fun we'll have visiting some of the best haunts in the country (I'm sure many of you are jealous), we'll be able to get insight on how customers are lighting their displays and get new ideas on how to make Darklight's products even better. If any of you on this forum are along the way and willing to host us while we're in town, we would greatly appreciate it =)

This turns out to be a lot more travelling than we've ever done, but we're young and super excited!

I'm posting our upcoming itinerary and hoping people on this forum can offer suggestions on places to go to help fill the gaps in between. We'll be flying and driving to many of these places. To add to the madness, we have 3 trade shows to attend along the way in October and November!

Ok here's our schedule:
9/30 - Pirates of Emerson, Pleasanton, CA
10/3-5 - Erebus and local haunts, Detroit, MI
10/6-7 - Statesville Prison, hang out with Zombie Army, Chicago, IL
10/8 - Nightmare New England, Litchfield, NH
10/9 - The Haunted Graveyard, Lake Compounce, CT
10/10 - Six Flags New Jersey and Bayville Scream Park, NJ and NY
10/11-13 tour a few days in New York --- any haunts there open Tues 11th and Wed 12th?
10/14-17 exhibiting at American Science and Technology Center conference, Baltimore, MD
10/18-19 -- need suggestions for this Tues and Wed, will still be in the Baltimore area.
10/20 - House of Shock, The Mortuary, New Orleans, LA
10/21 - 13th Gate, Baton Rouge, LA
10/22 - Nightmare on the Bayou, Houston, TX
10/23 - Phobia, Houston, TX
10/24 - House of Torment, Austin, TX
10/25 - 13th Floor, San Antonio, TX
10/26-27 - friend's new haunt (dunno the name yet), Laredo, TX
10/28-30 LDI conference and Busch Gardens, Orlando, FL
10/31 - Halloween Horror Night, Orlando, FL
11/1-3 - hanging out in Orlando
11/4 - Netherworld, Atlanta, GA
11/5 - Disturbia, Huntsville, TN
11/6-10 hanging out somewhere, suggestions?
11/11-12 Legendary Haunt Tour
11/14-18 IAAPA - exhibiting

Please offer some feedback and we hope to meet many of you along the way on our tour of the country!

- Quan

Original message below:
Ever since founding Darklight with my wife, Charlie, we've never been busier and happier! The support of our customers have been tremendous and we want to make it a point to visit as many places and people in 2011 as possible so we can hear feedback, answer questions, and learn how to make even better products for our customers.

On our schedule is to exhibit at 8 shows this year and tour as many haunts in Oct. as humanly possible. We want to see where and how our customers are using our products and take feedback for improving our product line.

Here's our lineup:

3/10-13 Transworld (done), Lemp Brewery, City Museum
4/29-5/1 HauntCon, preshow tour + all other tours
5/5-8 National Haunters Conv.
5/13-15 West Coast Haunters Conv.
5/22-25 MuseumExpo
6/3-5 Midwest Haunters Conv., preshow tour
Sept-Oct Haunt tour across the US
10/15-18Assoc. of Sci/Tech Center Conference
11/11-12 Legendary Haunt Tour
11/15-18 IAAPA

If anyone is going to any of the following events, please stop by and say hi! We'd love to meet you =)
Also, if you guys can suggest anything we've left out but is a MUST SEE --- we'll try to fit it onto our plate.

The next month and a half is gonna be crazy for us, we have 5 shows back to back --- louisville, king of prussia, salem, houston, and columbus. It's gonna be the most travelling we've ever done in a single year and we're so excited to be exposed to new places, new people, and new opportunities! Since we're based in California, we have no time to come home between the shows --- we'll just be roadsters for a month and a half, we'll see how that goes =P

I'll attempt to use this thread as kind of a blog to keep track of all the awesome people we've met and places we've been. Hopefully y'all can give us some pointers on where we can go during our off time in these cities, thanks!

04-24-2011, 09:42 PM
We'll be glad to see you at Screampark! Any chance of dropping off our order while you're here? -Tyler

04-25-2011, 01:52 AM
We'll be glad to see you at Screampark! Any chance of dropping off our order while you're here? -Tyler

we can't wait to see your show! as for your order, there are a few items that aren't ready yet (the waterproof lights will be shipping in July) --- im not sure if you guys wanted me to send you the available stuff first or just wait for everything in one package. do let me know in the within the next 12 hours because we're packing up.

- Quan

04-25-2011, 09:22 AM
Sent you a message! -Tyler

04-25-2011, 09:43 AM
I'll be stopping by to say "hi!" at the Haunter's Convention in King of Prussia!!!! Sooo excited!!!! I haven't decided if I should wear my pink glitter devil horns or not to the show, LOL!

04-25-2011, 03:01 PM
I'll be stopping by to say "hi!" at the Haunter's Convention in King of Prussia!!!! Sooo excited!!!! I haven't decided if I should wear my pink glitter devil horns or not to the show, LOL!

cool! we just figured out our costumes today, gonna try to incorporate some of our spotlights on there, getting pretty excited about wearing it to all the shows =)

04-27-2011, 11:23 PM
was worried in the morning turning on the tv hearing about tornadoes, flash floods, severe storms warnings... but our trip seemed to have stayed away from all that.

Waverly Hills --- one of the most haunted buildings in the nation, sought out by many paranormal investigators. this build has a lot of history --- used to be the most advanced tuberculosis hospital in the country but death rates were up to one per hour. a REAL haunted house, lots of ghost stories, amazing architecture. I met Brian, one of the members, on the plane yesterday and he old me of some bone-chilling phenomenon that goes on at this place.

wicked world -- impressive displays, most memorable was this "old baby" where an old guy's head was imposed over a baby's body and the baby squirted "piss" on passers-by.

ScreamPark Lexington - 3 haunts under one roof, very colorful scenes, well detailed. lots of really cool queue entertainment. absolutely gorgeous graveyard scene, wide open and full of a color, gave the feeling of being outdoors even though still under a roof.

St. Rita - awesome oldschool haunt, really impressed by the amount of stuff they were able to fit into such a limited area. one of the highest actor density shows we've been to, up to 4 actors in a single room!

Dent Schoolhouse - have heard of this place for quite a while and it definitely made the trip worthwhile. gorgeous scenery, very detailed, and one of the best themed haunt's we've been to. some of the scares were unexpected and well timed. had the opportunity to see their backstage, very organized production. very good mix of detailed scenery, animatronics, and amazing actors.

I can see this year's HauntCon is gonna be spectacular, it's an awesome start already.

04-28-2011, 05:59 AM
It was nice to meet you. I enjoyed our conversation. It made the bumpy flight go by much quicker. Sorry I missed you on the tour. I was with the other group. Hope you liked our little place. See you at the show this weekend.


04-29-2011, 01:37 AM
went back to Dent Schoolhouse for lights on. lemme tell you --- the scariest part about the haunt is how CLEAN Josh is able to keep his workshop! =) he tells me it's that clean all year! they say you can tell how good a restaurant is by looking at its bathroom, i say you can tell how detailed a haunt is by looking at its workshop haha. i think we can all learn from his organization even though running a haunt is often a play-by-ear kindda thing. i was very impressed.

afterwards we stopped at Necropolis, huge haunt with a lot of attention to detail as well. they didn't have the placed manned with actors but the set was still awesome.

came back from the preshow tour after a few hours on the bus, skipped dinner to setup out booth for tomorrow and hit up the thurs night tour. had the privilege to party it up with the Zombie Army on their bus! the bus was like a party limo that you can stand up and dance in, even had bar service and awesome music. it started raining pretty hard so we stayed in the bus instead of waiting in line in the rain - no complaints there. they were also really awesome to provide trashbags for us to use in the rain --- it was a pretty "trashy" bus party :cool:

Haunted Hotel packed some punch! very much performance driven and interactive. a good blend of animatronics and actors. most memorable was the christmas themed room. happy music with blood all around makes it kindda creepy. after we got out, there was a full rainbow!

culbertson mansion was also very much an actor driven show. had a cool casket ride to end it off. the queue was a bit long but fortunately we had the opportunity to chat with Ben Armstrong from Netherworld. he recommended a few haunts for us to check out on our sept-oct tour later this year.

got back to the hotel and hung out with all the awesome people we met so far. gotta get some sleep so i can man our booth later this morning... more to come.

05-02-2011, 11:22 PM
i have to say this was the best HAuNTCon we've been to yet (3rd one for us), tours to great, more vendors, and more guests --- most of the tour buses were sold out throughout the weekend. we ended up riding with Zombie Army to all the tours, it was a lot of fun. had the pleasure to meet lots of wonderful people and learn from their experiences in the haunt industry.

I see hauntcon as more of a tight-knit gathering, I come for the classes and networking opportunities, it may not be as large as Transworld, but the connections I made at the show are a lot closer, it's not all about business at this show compared to transworld, it's more of a reunion of friends.

Hauntcon has a special place in Charlie's and my heart because we attended it for 2 years as haunt owners, and this is the first year as vendors, it's also how we first got started in the haunt business. That's also why we wanted to sponsor them because we support the show from both a haunt owner and vendor's perspective.

Here are some pictures from this fantastic weekend:
partying it up with the Zombie Army

our booth at HAuNTCon

us and Leonard as Freddy at the costume ball

I borrowed Gale's very apropos costume for Kentucky at the end of the night...

the after party.

checked out of Kentucky this morning and now we're in Philly, getting ready for National Haunters Convention later this weekend. but first, a trip to the city --- more to come =)

05-03-2011, 05:11 AM
Looks like you guys had a BLAST!!!! I'm hoping Haunters Convention will be just as fun!!! Are you guys going on the haunted house tours there as well? We are and I'm really looking forward to it!!! See ya in a few days! :)

05-03-2011, 06:27 PM
Looks like you guys had a BLAST!!!! I'm hoping Haunters Convention will be just as fun!!! Are you guys going on the haunted house tours there as well? We are and I'm really looking forward to it!!! See ya in a few days! :)

we are considering it --- have you heard much about the lineup? see you soon!

05-04-2011, 05:20 AM
It's Scare Brothers and Fright Factory, both in Philly and includes a dinner of some sort too.


I've never been to either so I'm excited!

05-11-2011, 09:34 AM
after hauntcon, we headed for Philly and stayed in the city for 2 days. saw the historical sites and a bunch of museums. of the most interested to haunters would definitely be the Mütter Museum --- it's a museum of medical oddities. too bad they won't allow you to take photos, everything in there looked fitting for a haunt! a lot of skeletons of people with abnormalities and deformities. at the same time it was very educational to see the affect of diseases on the human body.

Magic Garden

Liberty Bell

Downtown Philly at Night

took the bus to King of Prussia and started setting up for the trade show on thursday. we're getting better and better at this, booth setup took only 1.5 hours! that's about 3 times faster than when we first started doing shows, last year.

our corner booth

the organizers at NHC were very friendly, helpful, and attentive. the meet and greet the night before the show was also very useful. attendance could have been better if it weren't mother's day weekend, however I'm glad that it didn't coincide with hauntcon this year, we'll definitely be back again next year. This show had a larger variety of visitors coming through than Transworld or HauntCon, a lot more home haunters and enthusiasts, which isn't necessarily bad for business because they tend to have non-standard uses for our lights and help us branch out more. We had several DJs come through the show really interested in our DMX lighting. all in all, a wonderful show, even with a good mix of interesting vendors.

wrapped up Sunday night and flew out to Portland on monday.

our shipping container that's travelling with us to all the shows.

05-11-2011, 10:19 AM
on our way to the West Coast Haunters Convention this weekend. flew into Portland on monday night and spent all of tuesday touring the city. checked out the Zoo first thing in the morning, witnessed a python swallowing a rat, and saw how bats hang around and poop guano...

yum yum...

we even witnessed these guys mating...

after the Zoo we headed to a bunch of museums. Darklight is a member of American Association of Museums (since we're exhibiting at the MuseumExpo next week) and that membership gets us free to most US Museums! checked out the Portland Museum of Art and Museum of Contemporary Craft

this is a sculpture! i expected him to jump out at me anytime!

portland waterfront

since we're gonna be away from home for almost 6 weeks --- we didn't want to succumb to poor eating habits on the road, we try to stay away from normal convention food which consists of pizza, fries, and hot dogs. for dinner we looked up a vegan restaurant and they made some pretty good chili bowls. a good friend we met at HauntCon (Tim Radley) introduced us to healthy eating and organic foods. although we're not as hardcore vegan as he is, but we try to eat healthy whenever we can and reduce our intake of meats. If you guys ever meet him, he's a DJ, shoots a lot of film for the haunted house conventions, and looks 10 years younger than he really is!

healthy and hearty vegan dinner bowls

Charlie planned for us to purposely travel light, so that she can go SHOPPING at the Woodburn Outlet (near Salem, Oregon) tomorrow... I hope I can get outta this one alive =\

05-17-2011, 11:26 AM
this past week was West Coast Haunters Convention, put together by Ed Roberts from Oregon School for the Deaf. The story goes that he's a life skills counselor for his students, they put up a haunt annually for a major fundraiser for school programs and supplies. Each year, he would try to send his kids to one of the major trade shows but with the public school budget cut, they just couldn't afford it. Instead, he looked at the problem on the flip side, why not HOST a convention and bring all the vendors to the west coast!? There isn't a convention on the west coast anyway. His students learn a lot by helping him organize a full scale convention, with classes, show room, a mini tour, and social gathering. Last year, at the same time, his school was selected by Extreme Makeover Home Edition to completely redo their haunted house and dorm --- this has also brought a lot of attention to his efforts and also boosted attendance of the show.

Salem, OR was a beautiful small town. too bad my allergies were kicking in like crazy with all the trees and plants, but nothing a little claritin can't fix.
Willamette River... i remember having to float down in this river at the end of Oregon Trail back in elementary school =)

this is only the 2nd year for the west coast show and they've outgrown the gym, there was a vendor waiting list after 30+ vendors have already filled the spaces. So next year, they're moving to a hotel.

our booth getting busy doing demos

the our neighboring booth was a comic book shop, they brought a bunch of local characters to the show. loving it.

we toured the Nightmare Factory, which is the school's completely made over haunted house. Each room had a lot going on, most of the drawers and lockers were banging back and forth with pneumatics. Quite a few actors lurking around and popping out in expected placed. Although many of these actors were deaf, they certainly knew how to scream!

entryway to the Nightmare Factory at the Oregon School for the Deaf.

that's a nice "twist" to costuming.

the show had a good mix of people both haunt owners and home haunters, a lot of these people hasn't had a chance to make it to any other haunt show so I definitely think West Coast Haunters Convention is gonna pick up traction in the years to come. we'll be there to support them.

09-03-2011, 02:54 PM
sorry it's been a while since the last update--- lots have happened since Midwest. keeping up with customer demands is definitely a challenge for a new company like ours but so far so good. since Halloween is right around the corner, we're making plans to visit many of our customers and hoping to get some insight to how they use our products.

09-03-2011, 03:59 PM
You're always welcome back to Kentucky anytime! -Tyler

09-05-2011, 12:58 AM
You're always welcome back to Kentucky anytime! -Tyler

I'm sure we'll visit again, thanks for hosting us at HauntCon this year!

10-03-2011, 01:14 PM
Pirates of Emerson was coming back full circle for us --- we wouldn't be in the haunt industry if I hadn't volunteered there as an actor many years ago. went back to say a big thank you to Karl. the haunt was bigger than I when I had last worked there --- 6 elements + a corn maze. tremendous amount of detail for a temporary haunt, lots of actors and scares from many different directions.

Winchester Mystery House was an artistic masterpiece. They built the haunt nicely to weave in and out of the existing architecture to add to the atmosphere. We got a VIP pass to go in and take photos of our products in action. turned out beautifully!

here are a few, quite a bit more on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/darklightsystem




10-04-2011, 05:28 AM
I may be at Netherworld on November 4th. I will certainly look for you...