View Full Version : Any word from National Haunters Convention?

05-07-2013, 09:25 PM
How did it go? Attendance up or down? Any new and cool vendors? Any vendors have success stories I've heard less about NHC than I have Hauntcon.


05-08-2013, 12:35 PM
The tradeshow floor was pretty big


Saw some really cool/unique "Dolls" from Dark Creation (http://darkcreation.com/) - Really eye-catching, first time I've seen them.




05-08-2013, 05:25 PM
For someone who lives that close DA why don't you go to the show?

05-08-2013, 06:49 PM
Thanks for the info Frog Zombie.

Karen, I've been before too busy to go lately. But I hear its a better time than Hauntcon with more qualified speakers that's for sure.


Greg Chrise
05-08-2013, 07:22 PM
I'll bet there are about 30 people from Texas that are SO thrilled you have an opinion about their qualifications. Or that you think there is some competition between conventions neither of which you attended. Every one stands corrected I'm sure.

Tell us more about yourself!

05-08-2013, 07:26 PM
Greg I'm glad you know where you stand!


05-08-2013, 07:37 PM
As a first time attendee who also had a booth, I went into it not really knowing what to expect. I was told to expect lots of home haunting and crafty-type things and that was absolutely true.

I have read some mixed reviews on a couple sites about NHC as most of the 'big name' vendors cancelled on them, some at the last minute. The reviews I see on Facebook are definitely trending negative. Most of them were disappointed that the larger vendors cancelled and there were NO prop controllers, pneumatics, or similar vendors attending. There appeared to only be one animatronic vendor. There were a few static prop, mask, and weapon makers, and the rest were either steampunk, pirate, or home haunting themed items. Lots of accessories like contacts, jewelry, and knives. Several authors, and one well-known late-night horror host were also in attendance. The hearses were plentiful and I heard ok things from the haunt that was inside the event center (I did not go through). The classes have received generally positive reviews. (I did not attend any).

I met and talked to a LOT of people about the podcast and I was amazed at how many home haunt and yard haunt people there were. Out of all those I talked to, only 5 were 'professional' haunts and 4 of them had been in business for less than 3 seasons. (I asked specific questions so I could get information about our listenership). Victor Bariteau from The American Scream documentary was selling DVDs at our booth and did better than at TW, mainly because of the home haunters aspect of it. It was cool to have folks come up and say they listened to the show and I took several suggestions and got some good contacts for future guests. We will even be making an announcement on the next show about a 'new' member of the crew.

I did not go on the haunt tour and only stayed at the costume ball for about 2 hours. The food was excellent and the conversations were good. Met a lot of new people and had fun at that.

Overall I was a bit disappointed, as many people talking on FB have said that this show has been in decline since 2008. I have heard from the organizers that there WILL be some major changes to the show structure next year and one well-known vendor has already offered to help in any way he can. Since I was not selling a specific product, I wasn't worried about sales. Several vendors I talked to were pleased, others weren't. I guess that's true at all shows though.

Would I go back and have a booth? Sure. Would I go back if I had to pay what people paid to get into the show? Probably not. There are better and worse conventions out there but I think this one has potential, there's just something not clicking with the haunt community that makes them want to attend this show. That is not a discussion for this thread though.

05-08-2013, 07:40 PM
Greg you know that Allen guy that was a hauntcon really doesn't know any thing about the haunt industry he has been faking it for over 20+ years. I wish I could have gone to national but I could only do 4 shows this year. May be Lenard should have Dark speak next year, he seems to think he know every thing about the haunt industry. The show are all different to me and you go to them for different reasons I had a great time with my friends in Texas and I hate Texas. The haunts there know how to roll out the red carpet for the people coming. Next year I will make national.

05-08-2013, 07:45 PM
Drew am I the new host? Did you forget to tell me? I got the feeling that I missed that memo some where. Keep up the good work and thanks for the shout out on the show.

05-08-2013, 07:49 PM
Drew I want to thank you for a good honest assessment of NHC, I know you and can say that you tell it like it is.

05-08-2013, 07:50 PM
Greg you know that Allen guy that was a hauntcon really doesn't know any thing about the haunt industry he has been faking it for over 20+ years. I wish I could have gone to national but I could only do 4 shows this year. May be Lenard should have Dark speak next year, he seems to think he know every thing about the haunt industry. The show are all different to me and you go to them for different reasons I had a great time with my friends in Texas and I hate Texas. The haunts there know how to roll out the red carpet for the people coming. Next year I will make national.

Phatman, I'm sorry I don't recall ever saying I know everything about the haunt industry. Allen is great but as good as he is I think Ricky Dick and John Denley have a little more experience than Allen and the others there. I apologize for grouping all Hauntcon speakers in one.


05-08-2013, 07:58 PM
Dark I think it's just easy to be critical when you were not there. And I have had a class with every person at national and they are good but that does not mean that the guys at hauntcon were bad I think the were outstanding too.

Greg Chrise
05-08-2013, 08:24 PM
There are lots of people that have been around just as long or slightly longer and been hard core. I respect the John Denley and Ricky Dick experience. There are just hundreds across the country that suck at self promotion and don't wander around making sure you know their actual experience or fathom the long history of how the whole country kind of has worked together. There are about 80 of us in Texas that have just decided to let Allen Hopps do what ever he wants. I think he is doing a wonderful job in an industry or region that is so difficult to make a buck in.

Instead of being a hater, you should live vicariously through the power of the Hopps.

05-08-2013, 08:30 PM
Amen Greg well stated

Greg Chrise
05-08-2013, 08:36 PM
Who are the energetic young shining stars trying to make it in the real world in your region?

Greg Chrise
05-08-2013, 08:44 PM
Don't just quote a bunch of names old enough that dust comes out when they fart. Maybe this is why things are declining in some areas. It takes younger people (with positive attitudes) to keep the industry bringing in the new generations, the new ideas, the skills the old dudes have just decided not to pick up. I'm as old as John Denley and Ricky Dick so I can say that.

05-08-2013, 08:58 PM
I think the thing that people get confused that age means experience, but some of the young talent has the advantage of not knowing any better and trying things that us old farts may not see. I listen to the wise one and keep an eye one the innovative ones. I am not the smartest guy out here but I am smart enough that when I go to conventions I go to a lot of classes to learn from people and steal their ideas. I own one of the largest instructional haunted house DVD sets around, I can not get enough input. I go to over 40 haunts (50 this year) a year to learn from other haunts around the country. I have heard good thing about NHC but I was not there and it seem to be more of a regional show from what I have heard. One last note Greg you Texas Guys can stay the hell down there you know how to haunt, stay out of Michigan you are not welcome unless you are just visiting. LOL

Trepidation acres
05-08-2013, 09:02 PM
Geez!!! Everyone just have a bad day or are y'all always this pissy? I guess opinions are not welcome here.

05-08-2013, 09:20 PM
Geez!!! Everyone just have a bad day or are y'all always this pissy? I guess opinions are not welcome here.

Welcome to the modern fright forum, where having an independent thought is frowned upon. But you can get acceptance if you idolize the handful that thrive on attention.


05-08-2013, 09:22 PM
Sorry you are right, Dark always wants to talk about things that he has never been to (in recent history) or done. And some people call him out about it. I would like to hear about NHC from some body who went. Drew gave a good vendor point of view but I would like to hear about the haunts and show too. I don't even care if its a home haunter, if pro haunters used the money they have as efficiently as some home haunters we would all be Neatherworld. Looked for some video but have not seen much. I am considering going next year so I guess my biggest question is would you go to NHC again, why or why not.

05-08-2013, 10:19 PM
Don't worry acres, there's plenty of good left, some are just a rotten few on here.

Anyway, I feel like I can chime in here from both customer and vendor side. I had originally signed up for a 10x20' space pre-Transworld for Decimated Designs, and the show management did an incredible job and was MUCH more supportive/willing to help and caring than the Transworld show team. From a vendor prospective, the NHC show management is the best, and very easy people to work with. Unfortunately I had to cancel because my expenses became just too high to make money....getting ALL the product there, lodging, printed materials, and travel costs we just couldn't see any profit...WHICH brings me to the customer perspective:

At Transworld this year I was too busy to do any real shopping....so I wanted to do some fun shopping at NHC. THAT was where I was disappointed. Although a good and friendly staff, the show floor is too chaotic. I didn't feel as if most of the vendors there had anything that could benefit my haunt. There were chocolate vendors there, leather vendors, jewelry vendors. Someone who makes blankets and stuff....And a bunch of contact companies. There was one animatronic vendor. And a BUNCH of hobby-esque mask makers. But then there was a cheesy prop shop. A stage that does quizzes and trivia and magic and other silly things at random intervals. Theres random vehicles set up all over, and that's about it...... The show advertises as being a haunter show but it just doesn't cater to just us....it's turned into too much of too little (if that makes any sense). I didn't get to really buy much, bought a pair of contact lenses for fun and got a kit of foam tools from that older couple that sells for hot wire foam factory who are really cool. And that's about it....I need better vendors for a concentrated subject, they need to really get BIGGER or at least established names into the door and be more organized in that sense....as a customer nothing stands out and tells me to GO, I was there for an hour and saw everything.....it needs more precise things to really get me to stay and spend.....they just don't bring in the right vendors. The market density in this region of the country is SUPERB and this show has MUCH potential, but the management/coordination just isn't there at the moment..hopefully next year they do well.

I'm interested to know how Halloween Extreme will be....I know the floor plan didn't really full out at all until much recently.....but I really want it to be successful so we can go next year.

I already know MHC should be fantastic, I can't wait to go next year. I wish I could make it this year!

05-08-2013, 10:37 PM
Thanks Bobby I will see you at Midwest

05-09-2013, 02:27 AM
I think all of these shows can be a great thing however... for vending this is where the problem is! These vendors just can't attend all these shows if they did they would never make any product. Going to a show is an entire week out of production GONE, then you have time to prepare for the show, plus costs of the show, its just not possible. Its actually only practical for haunt vendors to attend one major show, the second show I would attend would be IAAPA but even that is hit and miss. Vendors can't spend their entire year traveling around to tradeshows because honestly then we'd have no vendors that actually delivered. Honestly there are too many of these shows now and they can't all be fully supported. Something has to give at some point... and I'm not picking on these guys I'm saying general because now even Transworld has another show. I mean when is enough enough?

You would think our industry is a 1 trillion dollar industry, with 10 million buyers... its NOT!

So I'm not surprised when I hear any of these shows had low attendance, or hardly any of the MAJOR vendors or whatever... its just not practical to think they can attend all these events. I know for the buyers especially the local ones you hope and expect it but it just isn't going to happen anytime soon.

Professional haunt owners also should be good and busy building their haunts by now, should already have firm plans on what they are going to build, what they need, and where they are going to get it... not everyone but most should.

Buying and selling takes place in three stages in our industry now...tradeshows should remember this here!

WINTER: Many haunts love to spend the minute they close and work with vendors for custom stuff, or getting heavy discounts. This probably is a huge chunk of many vendors yearly totals maybe as much as 20%.

SPRING: Transworld time... probably as many as 50% of the industry has already or will pull the trigger right here on the spot!

SUMMER: No matter how many shows you put between TW and mid-summer won't matter... you have many haunts who are waiting for locations, or want to use credit cards, or simply are those last minute haunts this might be as much as 50% of all money spent around early July all the way through early October. They wait again for locations to finalize, last minute type haunts, charity haunts, even amusement parks wait until summer is nearly over, and like I said many wait to use credit cards.

These are three buying seasons that a tradeshow should wrap their teeth into!


05-09-2013, 06:20 AM
I agree Larry the buying for most is TW in march, they have the newly released props there and everyone can come see them there or online. The other conventions should focus on education and fun stuff like tours. The exception to the rule seem to be Midwest Haunters Convention and that is the buyers that could not go to TW and still want to go and see products. MHC seem to grow every year and be fitting a segment of the market that is not your large budget haunt making those big purchases. The other shows need to find a niche, Hauntcon has the traveling show that takes you to different parts of the country with a good haunt tour for those that don't get to see haunted houses during halloween, good classes, and a great social setting. I have not been to NHC or IAAPA but plan next year to hit one of them. I like the tours a lot, i go to see how different areas of the country do things and it gives me a standard to judge your own show by so you can see where your week spots are. You are right that the shows seem to be cramed into a very small time frame and are tough to make as far as scheduling, 7 shows in 6 months is tough when you have a haunt to build.

Gore Galore
05-09-2013, 06:41 AM
As a vendor,
We can't afford the time or the money to do more than one Tradeshow a year, let alone any conventions.
And with Transworld doing well for us it is even more reason not to do any other shows.

But ALL these other conventions have an important part to play.
The problem is if they try to go head to head with transworld on the tradeshow floor part of it they will fail and painfully.
However, it doesn't have to be a win or loose.
If they choose something to specialize on then they can be massively successful on that level. Just like vendors. Vendors, that just copy what others are doing fail. We have seen it time and time again. But when someone comes out with something inventive. Well, hopefully they do well.

I think the shows look like this.

-Transworld has the most successful show floor and the new product sales.
-MHC has it when it relates to a big costume party, and on being actor focused.
-Hauntcon wins on being a traveling haunt tour and I think that is a big draw.
-NHC wins on home haunt and new haunter education. I think this show could be a big deal with the right approach. It does have some major haunters vending and giving seminars etc... With the likes of John Denley, Ricky Dick, Chris Handa and many others. I think this show has the potential to be the show that brings newbies into the industry and shows them the potential of what this industry has to offer.
-Halloween extreme: We don't even know what this show is yet.

But I think for these shows to be successful they have to separate themselves and develop their own identities.

05-09-2013, 08:48 AM
Badger, Bobby and Kevin thanks for your assessment of the convention.


05-09-2013, 10:17 AM
Hey Kevin,

You forgot the West Coast Haunt Convention, the Canadian Haunt Convention and I think its fair to say IAAPA since its an option for haunt buyers and vendors. Its all just too much!

You make a great point that they should try to be unique and different and offers something the others don't.


Allen H
05-09-2013, 10:40 AM
If I were local, I would go to NHC again. I went (and taught a few classes) there last year. I had the smallest turnouts for a class in years 19 people. I was told those were good numbers for class attendance, that must have been true because the rooms would not have held many more. The management seemed unorganized and off schedule. The show floor was small and mostly seemed like a home haunters yardsale. Creepy collecion and Haunt tactics were the big name vendors last year.
I actually felt really bad for a reality TV show that came to film at the Masquarade ball and there was about 30 people there total. They had to move us around the romm so it looked crowded depending on where they shot.
In my opinion it was bad, but that is just my opinion. It was great to see some of the people and the show is an excuse to do that. Hauntcon (with all of its problems) seems to be a much more professionally produced show. I think they have potential, but vendor screening, teacher screening, and management all need attention.
I did not go there this year, but hopefully I can make it back next year. I enjoy haunt shows and braced for what it is it may leave a better taste in my mouth next time.
I was brought up earlier in the thread, and I cant see why. Everyone has an opinion. Its pretty hard to find me promoting myself anywhere, for every video I have posted I have posted ten you have to look for. I just try to help- I dont call myself an expert...Meh...not worth typing.

05-09-2013, 07:19 PM
Re: Halloween Extreme

This is a different type of show. This show is designed to bring together a strong HORROR audience (by co-locating with a major horror convention) with HAUNTERS and HAUNT VENDORS. This is a fusion, a fresh mix. It also has participation from Florida horror icons like HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS and HOWL-O-SCREAM, and we expect a large dose of haunt FANS. If you are heading down to see the parks with the family why not get some horror and haunting action at the same time? Hopefully you can come down to see what is all about. Me I am bringing up lots of our props and goodies to show off... Here are a few of the monsters about to get packed!