View Full Version : Haunted House Association Updates

04-06-2008, 10:53 PM
Several updates coming right now...

1) The association now has nearly 200 paid members. This is before we've even launched a MAJOR effort to make the whole industry aware of the association for our industry. We expect to have around 500 to 800 members by this time next year. Once the membership is in place, bylaws will be implemented, and the membership will vote on a board, executive board members, and the direction of the association. Hauntworld, Inc. will donate the website (www.hauntedhouseasocation.org (http://www.hauntedhouseasocation.org)) and the data base to the new association, which will have bylaws created by the industry. We predict this will happen within the next 6 months or after the Halloween season.

2) We have added a new page on the site called 'Media'. The page is devoted to offering links to MAJOR stories done on our industry. We will add members links and stories to this page or youtube videos.

I only added a few, and will look for feedback on other things to add. Please email me all suggestions.


One of the major objectives is to PROMOTE the industry, and through this website will wil accomplish this mission!

3) We have also updated our vendor discount program page with additional discounts to additional vendors. Go here to read them all... http://hauntedhouseassociation.org/vendor_discounts.htm

If you are a vendor and want to offer a discount let us know before we launch the industries LARGEST effort EVER to drive membership to the new association. We will TOP any previous association ever started in this industry in membership after this drive. We will MAIL and EMAIL over 4,000 potential new members to let them know that our industry finally has a home, someone who will try to defend them, fight for them, promote them, and be steered by industry professionals.

We're moving forward and not looking back!

Its time for our industry to move forward, not repeat past mistakes, and only look forward to making our business grow!


04-07-2008, 03:25 AM
Looks good, that's a lot of vendors on board. On a side note, when do you sleep??? :)


04-07-2008, 04:28 AM
I wish HHA Luck in the Future, I hope that HHA can learn from other Organizations MISTAKES.
I hope that HHA never forgets what it was intended to be,
I hope that HHA never forgets the people it is intended to be represent,
I hope HHA can stay out of all the bullshit politics that the haunt industry seems to generate.
and Honestly I HOPE for awhole lot more out of HHA

04-07-2008, 05:49 AM

I can promise you that!

The one thing I have learned over the years is this... if you want to do ANYTHING right it takes time. In my youth I would just rush in and do do do... now I realize everything you want done right just takes time.

Give me time and I will make everyone proud! I already have a great group of people helping me, and a great group of haunters who've joined. We will reach OVER 300 by June and I feel we'll be around 500 by Halloween.

When we started the Hauntworld Magazine, we started off with only about 250 and before you knew it we had over 1,000, and soon there after we had 1,500 and now I think we're at something around 1,900.

I want to get all the eggs in the basket first, then let the industry decided how to proceed.


04-07-2008, 12:12 PM
congrats on the so far sucess of HHA! Can't wait to see more good things come out of it.


04-07-2008, 12:48 PM
You have with out question been able to do so much in the time you have been working on this. When the day comes that I open the doors on a pro haunt, I will not hesitate to join. Keep moving it forward and as you said don't look back.

RJ Productions
04-07-2008, 01:44 PM
To give credit where credit is due, you need to understand the "back story". I am sure there are others who state or have the idea Larry has started the HHA just to spite or because he could not get his way with IAHA. This would be an inaccurate and unfair assumption.

Larry started out badgering the IAHA, because he felt that they were not representing the industry in the correct light. Many things were wrong, but it was a fledgling association. There were problems with the leadership of the organization and Larry was vocal about that. Several individuals including myself and Ben Armstrong were conversing with Larry and basically convinced him to put his efforts behind supporting the IAHA to help correct the problems.

Larry took on the task in typical Larry fashion; he jumped in with both feet. He not only joined but ran for the Board and was elected President. Say what you will, but more was accomplished during his tenure than in the entire time the IAHA has been in existence. The Board adapted an actual goal and direction, work began on what developed into the 3 year plan, web site was revamped, new logos, a strengthen relationship with TW, increasing membership, the formulation of a national PR program to name a few. Larry saved the association thousands of dollars getting TW and other sources to pay for many of the things that we as members had been footing the bill for. He personally took on the fund raising at TW and raised more money that ever before. Larry did not just complain about things, he jumped in and helped to correct those problems!

Not wanting the IAHA to be merely known as “Larry association” he declined a second term as president and preferred to focus on the PR program he felt was a cornerstone of the association revival. Instead of taking the momentum and continuing, the association returned to its floundering roots. No one wanting to fill the void and do everything that Larry was doing (you’re right I don’t think he does sleep!) Larry fought for the PR program but the new board did not want to fund it to the level Larry thought necessary to be effective. Instead of dropping it, he convinced several of the country’s largest haunt to fund the program. The IAHA wanted all of the benefit of the program but none of the liability.
The association began a quick return to its former roots and problems.

The inherent problem was created from its inception. The association lacks focus. It is supposed to be an association for the Haunted House owners and operators (International Association of Haunted Attractions) as opposed to an association of haunt enthusiasts. But when formed it needed numbers so it took in anyone. I was at the first official meeting. I didn’t own a haunt yet and was excited about the prospect of being able to join when I opened my attraction, I was told “you don’t need to own one, you just have to be interested in it.” That is the base problem. Members that do not know or understand the owners point of view, yet have an equal say in the direction and position of the association. I have fought this since day one.

Larry fought it and tried to correct it, to no avail. IAHA has some very dedicated members and Board members, but they continue to flounder because of the focus problem. You can not be an “end all, be all” organization and effectively represent the industry. Finally in discussions with several people it was felt that the best course was to start over. Do it right the FIRST time. So the HHA was begun. As Larry has stated, he has learned from the past and is approaching this one step at a time. Will the HHA have non-haunt owners as members? I hope so, there is a definite need for these people. As a home haunter I wanted to be part so that someday when I made the fateful leap I would be prepared, but I never assumed I should be anything but a associate member.

If the HHA is constructed correctly it CAN become the unified voice our industry needs. At least it is being formed correctly from the foundation. The IAHA had more potential that it ever imagined. But it will never succeed without focus. The PR program was successfully launched, then reduced to nothing but a couple of lame press releases. The 3 Year was developed and implemented with great ballyhoo. Now it is nothing but a splintered program that a couple Board members are working on. The “president” does a year end report in TAP, not ONE mention of anything accomplished for the 3 Year plan!! It is merely a façade. When anyone asks what the IAHA is doing….”We have a 3Year Plan!!” What happens as year 3 approaches? Do we change it or the 5 or 10 Year Plan?

Larry has a “like him-hate him” personality. This is a trait usually attributed to people who actually get things accomplished! You tend to ruffle feathers when you shake up the nest! The IAHA needed its nest VIOLENTLY shaken, not stirred. It has decided to settle back into its comfort zone, so its time to move to a new nest. Maybe it’s one on the utmost tips of the branches, but now one that will be seen, one that will have to be contended with.

Long winded, I sure am!!(sorry) But hopefully I could shed a little light on the “background” story. The IAHA had the best intension. I fought for it for years myself. But it is hopelessly lost in its own mire. Larry is not forming the HHA out of spite, but out of NEED. WE as Haunt owners need representation. We need accurate public information about who we are, not references to “Tunnels of Love”. IAAPA is not being governed by amusement park enthusiasts but by people actually IN the business. Do we deserve anything less??? Larry doesn’t think so, what about you?


04-08-2008, 01:59 PM
I can't say all the details right now, because way too many people have been trying to flub up everything I do, or copy what I do. So here is the deal... this association will be a REAL association within months, with bylaws, and soon thereafter a real board.

I can't say who all will now back this endever because its some major people but this will be HANDS DOWN THE ONLY association for this industry.

There will be no other that represents the haunted house industry, and I say 'Industry' because I mean the industry. I also can't tell you what exactly this new association will be doing but its so freakin major you won't believe it.

But everything is coming...

Couple things...

Will this be a Larry Kirchner thing? NO it will not be. We plan to donate all assets to the new association within months after it has become an official association. What I mean by assets are websites, data bases, logos, etc.

Will I serve as Preident or run on the board? ONLY if I'm voted in by the members. I do plan to run for the board, and I already know of several others who plan to run as well including vendors. So yes I plan on running but I can only be on that board if voted in.

Who will vote? The membership. Right no the membership stands just north of 200,and that will climb once all the official flyers go out the door promoting the formation. We expect 500 plus to join within the next 6 months.

What will the association do for you? That is the cool part, and most of the things I can't say just yet for fear someone will try to foul up a good thing.

Why this group over the other one... the other group is a total toothless tiger, it neither runs a tradeshow, magazine, seminars, has nearly no haunt owner members, doesn't almost nothing on national stage in terms of promoting your industry, and for the most part is operated by people who seem to live there forever. They have no idea's, no real plan, and never will.

This group will be operated with one purpose in mind... FIGHT FOR HAUNTED HOUSE OWNERS, VENDORS and OPERATORS! To help you make money, to expand your business, to bring you oportunities you didn't have before, to defend the industry in a time of crisis and to help steer our future!

This group will be directed by owners, operators and vendors... all can join but not everyone can steer the association without required amounts of exerience and expertise no different than IAAPA. The entire association will be modeled after IAAPA but only for the haunted house industry.

Good things are coming...


04-08-2008, 03:33 PM
I would like to say the following......I am just a little home haunter, not a pro, but I do read a lot on the various boards, so this is my opinion from an outsider looking in.
From what I have seen and/or read this seems like a great thing headed in the right direction.
Keep up the good work!

04-08-2008, 04:45 PM
Thanks!!! And let me say this just so its CLEAR! Anyone can join, and as I've already stated we're modeling ourselves after IAAPA, where anyone can join. Yes, everyone starts somewhere, and you look to things like associations for information and we will do that for you.

However the main difference is if you want to steer the association, you must have qualifications, experience, expertise, within the industry. Do people who have never gone through medical school sit on the medical board of America?

Yes everyone starts somewhere, even a future doctor, but the board who runs the association will have experience and meet requirements set by the bylaws, therefore you have a board of peers, who have the best interest of an industry in mind, and we will lose all this drama stuff or never being able to do things that help all haunts!

THat is the goal HELP ALL HAUNTS!

Join today... www.hauntedhouseassociation.org


04-08-2008, 08:58 PM
Will the board be made up of the same old same old? No offense, but there seems to be a few people only that get most of the attention in the industry...I think people will join up more so if they didn't think things will ultimately benefit the same inner circle who gets all the mention, press, accolades. There are great haunts but do we have to constantly toot their horns evertime?

I'm sure I speak for other people thinking this too, it may help people decide to join like myself.


04-08-2008, 09:51 PM
I could not agree more I am keeping a clear mind when I think that the HHA will have more than the same old same old. It does seem clear that the same ones are getting all the press and attention here thats no big secret. Maybe they are good friends or maybe they are paying but either way I am hoping that this will be an orginization of a wide range of haunts and their owners. We will have to wait and see. Time will tell Larry lets see some new names and faces that will work for us. I myself joined and am giving it a chance. Lets all see how this plays out. Larry will people be nominated for positions and we vote? Or will you place everyone yourself? I am hoping it will be a vote.

04-08-2008, 10:25 PM
You want to talk same old same old... look over at IAHA. That board is loaded up with people who have NEVER owned a haunt and NEVER plan to own a haunt, and some are exec board members. Randy Young has been a board member forever and he has NEVER owned a haunt. So in some ways I think you're thinking about IAHA, not HHA.

IAHA is a CLUB... their new election proves that, but with HHA haunted house owners will vote for who will or won't be on the board. YOU WILL HAVE A VOTE, things will be done RIGHT, not in secret, not behind the scenes, nothing of the sort.

I will say however that you will have to have been in the business for at least five years otherwise you can't run for the board. The board will need EXPERIENCED leaders...

Additionally there will be hoops to jump through to become a board member just like IAAPA. So if you want to jump through the hoops then you're proving you want to serve! Do you want more deadbeat board members like IAHA has had all these years? Or do you want people who want to DO SOMETHING and make a DIFFERENCE?

But same old boys club NO! I think you'll see a lot of vendor serve, which should drive Shane crazy! LOL


04-08-2008, 10:26 PM
i joined the minute i first heard of it...lets talk..how can you go wrong..??..some people in this industry work tirelessly to help every haunt out there...and where it counts the most..putting money in every haunt owners pocket..i do not think it matters that some haunts are recognized more as much as it does that those haunts represent our industry very well..industry leaders..in every way...just take a look at some of these haunts..then look in the mirror...i for one am very relaxed in knowing these haunts represent all of us...and articles in U.S.A today and the Wall St. Journal..and Goodmorning America..etc..are doing stories on some of the best this industry has to offer....and it puts money right in all our pockets...as long as HHA does this for all of us and more..you have got my money and thanks..finally an organization with the big picture in mind...this is a business ...and it is important we have truely successful business leaders on this board..and the success of the HHA and the haunting industry will follow

04-08-2008, 11:29 PM
Yeah, those national news articles were great, for the haunts they featured. Sure it sheds a more professional and positve light for the industry, but it's the haunts that were actually featured in those interviews that benefit mostly. That's why they all slap it on everything they do promotional wise, website, everything. Of course, I would too if I were them. But that didn't put any real money in your pockets? You're not going to try to impress your patrons and your local media by showing them yet another highlight of the big haunts out there with you not on it....Wouldn't that tell your guests and media that you're not good enough to make this top list and therefore not worth covering other than being a local haunt? It would seem the media would want to cover and would be proud of THEIR local haunt getting national exposure.

I think that membership should be limited, not just anybody should be a member that's what hurts IAHA, People who aspire to one day run a good haunts or don't even have a haunt trying to lead for those that do have haunts is not wise.

I have been looking into the industry learning for several years before I open. I can pretty much gaurantee some board members that will be serving. And from that, I bet these "National campaigns" that are supposed to help everyone will be geared at the same haunts that get featured in the "top haunts" site and Travel Channel. I can understand the "Good ol' boy" network, taking care of your friends for things but in order to grow it's time to spread the wealth and broaden the industries horizons.....

I do see more of a future for HHA than for IAHA that's for sure, would be interested to see how things develop though....


RJ Productions
04-09-2008, 02:29 AM
Great comments and good comments so far! I would heartedly support more stringent rules for Board participation and even a set limit to the Board size. The IAHA had 18 members at one time which was ridiculous! If every person that runs, wins what’s the point??? You need qualified people, having specific requirements is a great start. Granted I am sure there are talented people out there that have only been in business 1 or 2 years, but just think how effective they will be as Board members after they’ve been in the business 5 years!!! And if they are around for 5 years maybe they really WEREN’T that talented!

And you don’t need umpteen Board members to be effective! One of the last national Boards I served on we had an Executive Board that ran the organization. The work was accomplished in committees. Chairmen ran the committees, accomplished what need to be done and reported to a specific Board member. Simple and effective. There were requirements to be able to even run for a Board position and you had a limited term. You have to make running for a Board position a seat of respect, something that is EARNED not just given to anyone to fill! Also something I tried to get the IAHA to do was have the former President involved in your new Board. He(she) sits on the Board to bring continuity to the leadership. They are involved but only vote in case of a tie. If we bring in the best ideas that other similar sized organizations have found beneficial we can alleviate a lot of the stupid mistakes and take a leadership role for the industry.

Another comment was on the same haunts being featured time after time. I really don’t might as long as those haunts continue to grow, update themselves, and remain “cutting edge”. It’s the haunts that are featured that are stagnated that bother me. Netherworld and the Darkness are prime examples. They get national exposure, but then they actually EARN it! They don’t rest on their laurels but constantly strive to change, to better themselves, to remain on top of their game. To me those types of haunts deserve the recognition, they set an example that we should ALL strive for. But I agree, an attraction that just sits on its past glory or accomplishments does not deserve to remain in the spotlight. Possibly you focus on some of the established attractions but feature “new and upcoming” attractions or unique or unusual attractions.

An association must fulfill the needs of its members, NOT the needs of itself to remain successful. Unfortunately the IAHA has lost sight of that which I feel is its biggest downfall. It may be fun to have parties and socialize, but accomplish something first, party afterwards.

04-09-2008, 06:00 AM
I don't have a problem with requirements of business experience for board positions. I may have a problem with vendors. Are you talking the owners of the business like many of the vendors we know? Or are you going to allow someone that is a salesperson. There is definitely a huge difference between working for and owning/managing a business.

I also would like to see a paid staff member so the board could be kept to a reasonable number and take some pressure off the board as well. And Larry could relax and be a consultant instead of a board member and dedicating so much to it.

And as far as the top haunts. Didn't this big paid promo thing get financial help from IAHA as well as the haunts that paid for the top ratings? Wasn't it like 15-20 thousand from IAHA and ten thousand per haunt?

And some of the other rankings out there are who you know or support and the public and many in the industry don't know it.

Don't get me wrong, some of the top haunts deserve year in and year out top ranking, but it would help everyone if the rest of the rankings were spread around. The haunts that got a ranking could use it in advertising and it would be good for the industry all around.

Brett Molitor
JamBam/Huntington Jaycees Haunted Hotel-13th Floor

04-09-2008, 06:59 AM
Amen Brother I so totally agree. Larry the Vendor thing scares the HELL out of me!!! Hum lets see I have neen in the haunt business for 15 years although I am new here and everyone knows why I came here its no secret! But will there be secrets in HHA? Like I say time will tell but I am keeping an open mind.

04-09-2008, 08:00 AM
i think it is important to the future of HHA..

in larrys own words..

to not discredit what others do to make yourself or what you are trying to do look better...

so i say stop putting IAHA down..i am a member as are many others here..whenever you have a board and are trying to get things done..its difficult..believe me when i say i have some experience in this department..

i have listened to your arguments about the problems with IAHA and agree to a point..if you plan on setting up a board and want to accomplish positive things for haunt owners then this board should be haunt owners...and not any one else...hence future conflicts..

i remember not long ago you making the statement about board member abc not owning a haunt.....and xyz board member not owning a haunt...lets learn from past mistakes..

and i could not agree more...i see our city council stale mate some great things for my community just because a couple opposing views of unlike minds stand in the way........hmmmmmm just like IAHA.........i say lets make HHA a force OF pro haunters FOR pro haunters

we don't want stickers...or handbags..or parties..wasting our money...we want strong business decisions...not stale mates

sure anyone can join.....but the decision makers needs to be a group of PRO HAUNTERS

04-09-2008, 09:39 AM
As a Vendor and Hauntowner, Im confused as to the reasoning of why a vendor serving would be scary for individuals, Vendors are a HUGE part of this Industry, and the input of vendors would be a valuable asset to any organization. In order for something of this magnitude to be succesful, everyone has to work together, and to begin alienating one section of the industry right off the back.....

04-09-2008, 11:57 AM
the fact is boards are scary..and its hard to bring everyone together..its my understanding HHA is about promoting haunted houses to the media...good plan..
and Larry is a great man for the job...but you make a board and the plans start to change..changing the plans is what boards do...especially when you add multiple interests..the please all mentality creeps in...hence many of the problems with IAHA...

04-09-2008, 12:01 PM
To respond to Badass concern.

First, I want to say that I am a member and supporter of IAHA and recently paid for the HHA idea. Remember, at this point it is just that until bylaws and officers are in place. It is still in the organizing mode. Been there, done that in other organizations.

I have reservations about vendors because of the possibility of a new employee being put forward without the exact experience we say that we would like involved. Say, Tom is a new saleman for A1B2C3 company that sells XYZ Haunt items. Or more specifically, the guy from Scareparts in that posted video talking about getting drunk and brainstorming haunted props. That person has no business making decisions for the industry. Or for that matter, anyone who can't stay positive despite personal and business events. Too risky for me.

If there is a qualification needed for a board position, someone that has previous experience running a haunt or vendor business as manager or owner, needs to be allowed the same as a current owner. Case in point, Cydney Neal and Randy Young. They both have over twenty years of creating and owning or running a haunt. Do you really NOT want their experience to contribute if they would be crazy enough to step forward? Both of these people by the way were founding members of IAHA and have volunteered many hours like Larry did when he was president of IAHA.

Again, I also think that the dues should be high enough to support at least a part time if not full time staff person to do many tasks that an organization needs to be done. And there can be good from both organizations to exist without slamming each other. Remember, NO ONE has been good enough to live in a glass house for the last 2008 years!!

p.s. Stay positive!

Brett Molitor
JamBAm/Huntington Jaycees Haunted Hotel-13th Floor
(hoping to make the Top13 this year!!!!)

So, you can't

04-09-2008, 01:31 PM

It is an upcoming project to create bylaws for this new association. This will be done with the help of 5 or 6 other haunted house owners. Once all of that is in place then and only then can you have elections based on what the bylaws state. All of this will be done.

As for dues...you're 110% correct. Dues should be in the area of $200 or $300 per attraction so you can support a full time staff. However dues won't be the ONLY place THIS association rakes in operation money. More on that later! Shhhhh....

But you're 110% correct, any association needs operational money to support a full time staff and that is the goal from the outset. The only good thing I feel IAHA has offered is what not to do, learn from the mistakes. When I was on the board several people all agreed the bylaws should be changed, but they never got changed. There was too many people who didn't want them changed which might limit who can or could run the organization if you know what I mean by that one.

As for people like Randy Young, he never owned a haunted house ever, not that I know of and I never felt he offered much in terms of the vision of the future. You see some people are stuck up on wanting to be popular so they run for the board over and over again and when they are there are more concerned with helping friends, delving out money to their buddies, or silly things like buying book bags or sponsoring events or whatever.

There are two chains of thought here... one from someone who sees the need for something like this because they're actually in the business, and those people see common goals and common ground. Then you have this other group who do not own haunts, and they see the thing more as a social club wanting to do social events and activities. Currently OVER half of the IAHA board does not own an attraction.

You talk about a concern with vendors, what about people who do not own an attraction. Again Randy Young, or Bobbie Wiener or whatever these people have NEVER owned an attraction, probably NEVER will, so what are they doing here? Randy worked at a Boy Scout haunt several years ago, and was replaced by other cub scout people, and for the past several years has had NO involvement what so ever in our industry other than IAHA.

That is the problem right there...not Randy Young perse but who runs the board. Randy should have stepped aside years ago, if the current board wanted the most qualified they would have asked him and people like Bobbie Weiner who has basically NO insight what so ever about our industry to step aside, but they do not. WHY? Because they think alike and will vote for whatever the people running the thing want to do.

I mean no disrespect, its just that if you're an association for a professional industry, find people who OWN attractions who KNOW the needs, WHO have insight into the future vision of our industry, NOT insurance saleman, people who do not own haunts, or people who are sorta a vendor but not really. Make the board up of attraction owners and operators and you will get somewhere!

That is my view.

Until then it will always be nothing more than a social club, and an industry that had 24 MILLION ticket sales last year needs more than a social club. Let IAHA exist for another 100 years as a cake and party club, let them have auctions, parties with punch and fruit cake, while people who are really in the business, and people who are planning on getting into the business make our industry stronger, safer and better!


04-09-2008, 01:48 PM
Do we have any idea who those other 5 or 6 other haunters are? Hhmmmmm


04-09-2008, 02:11 PM
What I don't get is why these board members over at the IAHA that have never done a haunt would even want to be on a board that over sees (sic) the haunt industry? I would think that anyone that would want to get so involved would have a long history in the industry that they want to represent.

04-09-2008, 03:59 PM
As for the who the five or six haunters would be...one would be an attorney. The bottom line is this... before any bylaws were made final they would be sent out to the entire membership for review.

We want to do this RIGHT!

All members at the time the bylaws are completed would be given a set for their review. Any suggestions, comments, or concerns would be brought up at that time. So EVERYONE will have a say!

Join and by part of the process of creating the INDUSTRY FIRST REAL association. Larry

04-09-2008, 04:16 PM
Does it really matter who the other 5 or 6 folks might be? If Larry is setting this organization up, he certainly has the right to choose the people to help lay the ground work. In the end, I really feel he is all about helping everyone in this business be successful. I have purchased a bunch of his tapes and magazines. I feel he has everyone's best interest at heart and isn't afraid to give out trade secrets to help the rest of us. I don’t think he would include folks that don’t have the same value to the industry as he does to be part of the ground work for HHA or any other organization.

It doesn't seem to matter if you are one of the little haunts that no one but your small town seems to know about. He and many of these other folks that are the "big guns" in the business will always lend a helping hand. I think we need to keep an open mind about everything here. Change isn't always bad and our world is definitely changing. I would much rather have folks in charge that are totally 120% dedicated to this industry rather than someone that does this part time. We little people would love to be recognized but lets start by looking local for that first. Once we have succeeded in wowing the locals, word gets around. We will then move to a bigger level, i.e. the top 13 haunts. Let's not knock them for all their hard work and recognition but jump on the ban-wagon to learn from them and make it our 5-10 yr plan to be right up there with them. Let them shine now; it gives us something to strive for!!!

I have to say this industry is nothing like the other one I work in everyday. Competition would rather run you over and back up over you before they would help you up.

Remember once you are on top, there is nowhere else to go but down. So these folks have to stay on top of there game because someone like me will be knocking on their back door.

Everyone has a right to their opinion!!! I've seen several hints about who is who on this thread; might it be a bit of jealousy??

04-09-2008, 05:41 PM
Spookhaven, yes I'm sure there is some jealousy, but if you are looking at me as one of those it's not true. I'm just getting my feet wet working to open for year 1 this fall. I'm just speaking on what I have seen, from afar, the past several years or so studying the industry and lurking on the boards. I may be over stepping my boundaries here but maybe others are thinking the same thing?

Larry can certainly choose anyone he wants, but I'm just saying I'd be shocked if I do see these boards members names not being Ben, Randy, Rodney, Rich or any of the other guys who are promoted already through Hauntworld. Of course, these guys are all amazing haunters with amazing haunts and I mean no disrespect towards any of them or Larry. They all deserve it!!!

It's just that for members to join they want to see an even playing field and not used as another weapon to make the association seem powerful in numbers but really only helps the select few....Afterall, wouldn't that make it as bad as they say IAHA is?


04-09-2008, 05:49 PM
Maybe Larry is on to something here with the Lawyer. That's a great idea. Maybe we should set up the board to be people outside the industry like a lawyer and a PR person and people like this to help the industry grow and obtain professionalism but they awswer directly to the body of members and essentially work FOR us?

Just a thought!


04-09-2008, 06:01 PM
I could not agree more with either of you! There is nothing more I can say.

04-09-2008, 07:07 PM

I am new in the business as well. I have to tell you that I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Armstrong. I only knew this gentleman by name (from here on the forum) but had never met him. He actually flew to PA for a safety seminar that we are required to have to get our inspection license. You wouldn't have known him from some prop builder. My husband & I were introduced to him from another very well known haunt owner in PA. These guys were the most down to earth people and humble folks you would want to meet. It absolutely amazed me why someone from Georgia would fly to PA for a seminar. It was all about educating himself and taking that information back to the rest of us in the business. I am nothing in this business. Like you new but researching forums and websites. My opinion may count at some point sometime but I think we all need to take a step back sometimes and learn from the others.

I am in sales and am on top of my game. I know what it's like to get the attention. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it's not. I'd ride these guys’ coat tails to learn any day and they will let you. At least these folks all are doing their part to keep educated not only in their towns/states but trying to know what is going on in the USA. This certainly gives them an advantage. I certainly would be proud to vote for them because they care enough not only about themselves and their haunts but all of us. That’s who we need and want to represent us!!

I think we sometimes speak to quickly and want answers that we might just need to sit back and wait for. Someday we might need a favor and these folks would step to the plate. They all started where we are now.

I meant nothing personal but I felt a few folks were taking away from the achievements these “big guns” have made in the business. They deserve the spotlight. I certainly hope to be up there with them in the next 7 years.

You guys/gals have done a great job and I am proud to have joined an awesome group of people. Heather

04-09-2008, 07:22 PM
One other things, I hope I didn't offend anyone by naming them as was previously done in the thread. I felt that it was necessary to point out things people do for the industry that go un-noticed. I really look up to you guys (and support staff). Sorry for naming names!!

04-09-2008, 09:05 PM
To EVERYONE... this is the exact kind of debate that is needed to make things RIGHT! Keep your opinions coming, I'm not opposed to your idea's your impute or anything. As for the 'bug guns' comment...

I will tell you EXACTLY why the smaller haunts don't become BIG GUNS... they don't take enough risks. I was a SMALL GUN, heck I was a WATER GUN, when I first started. I kept taking risks, from refinancing my cars, to borrowing money to you name it. I took risks and with risks sometimes comes rewards.

You should be thankful that people like Ben Armstrong write all of these articles for the magazine, or shares his video footage, or gives seminars, or tours of his haunt. This helps!

Many people have BIG GUN ENVY, and that is okay, take all that envy all the way to riding your own magic carpet right into the door of success! Let that drive you, feed you, and make you work harder.

I share information...PERIOD!

AM I PERSONALLY the biggest GUN in the business? Well some would say... but the fact is I'm successful because I listen to YOU GUYS, talk about some of the dumbest stuff, which actually turns out to be some of the smartest things I've ever heard. I've learned MORE on this forums then all the videos, and all the seminars everyone has ever done COMBINED!

I have also learned from the videos that everyone has shared, and the links they post to website so you can look and see! I've learned from all the haunters who've opened their doors to me. I've learned from everything.

I'm not the only one with a good idea, I've learned A LOT FROM EVERYONE HERE! Everyone has good idea's... and what you need is an organization that you can feed all of this passion, and all of this hard work into.

If you want to continue to support something that should have ended years ago...that is your choice. Just like its my choice to strive to be the best I can be with my business. I accept nothing but the best for myself, I set the bar high, and I take risks. NO RISK NO REWARD!

Marylin Monroe once said something like...there are a lot of girls out there dreaming of being a star, but I will be dreaming harder than all the rest.

She was right!

That is what it takes!


Jim Warfield
04-09-2008, 09:15 PM
Any organization is only as good (potentially) as the sum of it's parts.
Being as thoughtful as posible and approaching it intellectually will help.
Larry said no to "cake" (as an IAHA mainstay) Do we ever really get old enough to say, "No!" to Cake?
I guess this means more cake for Jim!l

As far as jealousies and egos...? If you are the owner or the main decision maker in the haunt you haunt, then what more does anyone need? Do your thing! Build, create your own world of entertaining ideas and enjoy being "god" within your sphere of influence, this should satisfy anyone, unless you aren't paying attention to how much fun you are really having being and doing all those things!

04-09-2008, 09:17 PM
I guess that leaves Larry Kirchner out, after all he is a vendor!

04-09-2008, 09:37 PM

I think you misconstrued my point. You seem to be insinuating that I am against guys like Ben and Larry and their success, the opposite it true. From what I have heard and seen these guys are great guys and true leaders. I never made any statement against them. I was merely making the point that there is an inner circle and they work together to reap the rewards. It isn't about taking risks, every haunter takes major risks every season putting it all on the line. I've talked to several local haunters and with the stories they've told me and how they persevered, I was in awe. These haunts are something to aspire to be, or to be better. I'm sure that most of them don't want newbies riding their coat tails and people acting like they are stars and being infatuated with them, they seem much more humble to me than that. You want the top guns respect, you have to earn it.

Also, the comment you made about stepping back because someday you might need a favor from them....Remember this Heather, everyone wants the industry to grow and prosper but the most important thing for EVERY haunter is their own well being, their own show's success. Their goal is not to help you when you need them because you were enamored with them, their goals is to make money and be successful for themselves and their family. Once they are where they want to be they may reach out. And for that there is not a darn thing wrong with it either.


04-09-2008, 10:00 PM
Haunted House Nut...

I will take your comment as being sarcastic or as a joke one or the other or both... see now the LOL.

In case you didn't know but I'm sure you do, I opened my first haunted house when I was only 5 in my basement and charged 25 cents. The first real haunt I opened was when I was in 4th grade in the apartment complex rec center.

I opened my first commercial haunt when I was 19 years old, and we did about 8000 people at $4.00 per person. I had opened the Darkness one full year before I ever sold one video at Transworld, which was my first experience at being a vendor. Later that same year some people came to my haunted house and asked if we could help them open one in Ohio at a waterpark.

There began our journey into building haunted houses. I have exhibited at 14 or 15 straight Transworld shows, and 14 or 15 straight IAAPA shows as well. We did Hauntcon the first year but realized it wasn't a buyers seller show so we haven't been back. We have also exhibited at a bowling show once, and Fun Expo twice. Heck I even did a farm show once to see if farmers wanted haunted houses. That was a fun show actually!

Through it all I have owned and operated as many as THREE different haunted houses in THREE different locations all in the same year, and one year had then in two different states. Currently we have two different events in two different locations; The Darkness and Creepyworld.

Creepyworld has FOUR MAJOR attractions including a hayride, haunted mansion, corn maze, and a 30,000 industrial themed attraction. This year we're adding on a fifth attraction.

Sooooo... on top of building dark rides, blacklight mini golf, themed attractions, running this site, publishing the magazine, and everything else I still manage to open two haunts every year.

A little bit more info for you... currently we have 19 FULL time employees, workers comp, heath insurance, and dental for all of those people.

I use a TON of subcontractors both local and across the US to help us with the different projects we do. Currently, I'm considering hiring a full time web person to do nothing but work on all of these websites. I also have three or four people who work on our sites and upgrades everyday for the past 4 months, and well I've had Brainstorm Studios almost exclusive for the past 6 months.

You could say we're keeping a lot of people employed right now. But once the haunt opens we're running haunted houses that you can be assured of, and that is where I started and probably where I will end.

The end!


04-09-2008, 10:41 PM
lol I was being facetious, and am aware of your accomplishments, I hope this works out for all, however should expect pessimism from both your supporters and foe alike until this thing has legs.

04-09-2008, 10:51 PM
Trust me...I knew you were joking around. But for those who don't know you're joking around, I want everyone to know what I've gone through to get here. I hear ALL the time that I must have been born with a silver spoon, or that I don't know what it takes to be at the bottom of the barrel.

Heck I wasn't only at the bottom of the barrel I wasn't even in the barrel!

I've gone through a lot of tough times, near bankruptcy to everything in between. I've had just about every good thing and bad thing happen to me.

I try whenever I can to share those experiences and if it helps great!


04-10-2008, 07:16 AM
It is all in how you read things and different folks personalities. You are correct their. I felt that in your comments you sounded envious of the folks that you thought might be included in the "inner circle". I recently purchased and watched a video where these folks opened their haunts up to the rest of us. That is why I commented "ride on their coat tails". They have no problem helping folks with ideas and showing anyone how they do things. Larry referred to risk taking and that is in any business. If we aren't willing to take a chance, you aren't going to go far. As a new haunt myself, we have put everything on the line to make it work and someday be as successful as some of these other folks. Everyone’s input is necessary. I felt that the comments about the certain ones that get all the attention was just getting to be a bit much (and you weren’t the only one). My experience has been nothing but helpful from everyone (including your comments). This forum is one of the best sources we have out there. You post something and there’s an answer within minutes. It's nice to know (good or bad) that we are all standing united.

I felt the need to put my experience about this gentleman out there as well. It sounded to me that some people were putting them down for getting all the attention. I am certainly not a wanttobe just learning from everyone through all the education of videos, forums, emails, etc.

04-10-2008, 07:19 AM
You defintitely are a LOUD gun, and sometimes like the Wizard from Oz, too. LOL

Someone made the point that Larry is a vendor. I am not against vendors becoming a board member, I was just pointing out that qualifications shouldn't exclude them, but be cautious. If Larry was offered a huge amount of money to sell his events today and consult for Universal or Disney or anyone else crazy enough to think they could corall him, why wouldn't he still be qualified to serve as a board member?? My point also is that there are many in the industry that have never owned their own event, but have been involved in the management/design/promotion deep enough to be good board members. Furthermore, any qualifications need to be carefully aware of this possibility.

What about the many people deeply involved or employed for many years by events that they do not own? Possibly some of your own employees?

I am friends with many in this industry and try to be objective. Many times I am not willing to burn a bridge to make a point on a board. Many times people make statements that are in direct conflict with what they actually do. They advertise and promote and brag and then fail those that buy into it sometimes. And because they push their opinions boldly, many do not call them on it or are drown out with more brashness. Sorry I digressed....

Larry, be careful with what you wish for. If the IAHA were to fall apart because the HHA is so successful, the people you rant about will be forced to join HHA in order to stay in a group involved in the industry because I doubt they will go away. Remember, haunting is in the blood, it doesn't get cured easily or because an organization fades away. I think that the two groups could co-exist and get along as well. If for no other reason than to allow some of the disagreements and politics to be seperated by the organizations themselves rather than the awful infighting that kills many great organizations.

And about Randy Young. The reason I know far more about him than you is that the St Vincent Scouts Haunted Castle/Dark Forest is in the next city (20 miles) from where I started with the Huntington Jaycees Haunted Hotel. He was involved from the start of that event 27 years ago and he was probably the driving force that made that event the largest in the northeast Indiana area by far. That event had always been the McDonalds compared to our "little hole in the wall diner" for many years. I have also owned a corn maze and haunted events at another location. We at the Hotel have stepped it up the last few years and is now my event with the Jaycees sponsoring it.
Our competition in the area (Castle and Hotel) was bridged with some effort on Randy and my part. We involved 13 of 14 events in the area to do some marketing together for a couple of years. Since the Castle and Randy have parted ways, the Castle has dropped one of their three events. They have not been willing to be a part of the group area marketing effort. They have scaled back their advertising, stopped their internet ticketing, have a minimal poor website, dropped most of their sponsors, lowered their prices and reduced the number of combo tickets offered. And lost attendance as well the last two years. The lack of experience has apparently hurt the group now in charge.

Good news for the area competition. ;>)

The next biggest haunt in Ft Wayne was approached by and partnered with the biggest sponsor the Castle gave up.

Larry, you are on my list of heros. The list members are sometimes on the same page only is I write them down. LOL

p.s. Don't put down or belittle others for you will be held accountable in others minds without knowing how much it costs you if only in reputation and esteem.

Brett Molitor
JamBam/Huntington Jaycees Haunted Hotel-13th Floor

04-10-2008, 07:20 AM

Will all the members receive some information regarding the board of directors if they want to run?


04-10-2008, 07:59 AM

You are new like me just getting started. It'll be years before we will be as good as the big guys. But here's the problem, if we keep promoting the same 10 or so haunts year after year, how does the haunt that WAS beneathe them who might now years later be as good or better get their well earned due? If haunt X makes the top list year after year, gets all the national media attention, etc. etc, how will YOU'RE haunt get the full recognition you deserve? Because it seems they will not surplant those haunts for you! Im thinking keep those great haunts on the list and expand it to others based on their successes.


Jolly Pumpkin
04-10-2008, 10:52 AM
There are different ways to define success in the haunt industry. Is the haunt that's been around a couple years and makes millions of dollars a season a success? Absolutely it is. Is the haunt that's been around for over 30 years and uses its relatively small profits towards charity a success? You be it is. Rather you're a new or old haunt you have to start from somewhere and you'll learn from the biggest or the smallest haunts along the way. But what you define as a major haunt or "Big Gun" may be a totally different thing. I think it's great what Larry is doing with the Haunted House Association, but I also feel that it's turning people against those in the haunt industry that are associated with IAHA and ultimately that negatively effects the industry even though Larry is trying to improve the industry.

Yes, every year many of the same haunts are listed as the best in the country and they must be doing something right to get all of this accolade. But incredible haunts that not many people know about need to be thrown into the mix. I visit and review nearly 60 haunts a year all over Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana with my site my site City Blood-Ohio Haunt Reviews and interview and talk with haunts all over the United states with my site The Halloween Database.There are some haunts that are doing some major things in the industry, but aren't promoting themselves like the ones that are always rated the best. But I've also encountered haunts that have advertising budgets in the hundreds of thousands that only people in Ohio would really know about. The problem there lies in the way they advertise online and where they are located. They get large crowds, but could get much larger with a little effort. It all comes down to promoting yourself and world of mouth.

You don't have to have a million dollar budget to know that if you're a struggling haunt starting out you need to advertise anywhere possible rather it be on the internet, passing out flyers, parades, festivals and the list goes on and on. You can even have all your friends contact a TV station saying how great your haunt is. If you have enough people wanting to have a story on your haunt, you probably will get one. Plus if you have haunts nearby you need to cross promote with them. You can't expect to be a great haunt without promoting yourself and presenting a good image online. You can have the greatest haunt, but if no one knows about it, it doesn't really matter because the crappy haunt down the street is going to be getting the business because people know about them. It's pretty sad because I've seen haunts that have been around over 30 years get less of a crowd then haunts that have been around less than 10. There are a lot of reasons why the same old haunts are covered. Advertising, location, word of mouth, incredible websites, professional photos and the list goes on and on. But you have to promote the hell of your haunt if you have a bad location, are a new haunt or even mediocre. It's that plain and simple. You have to promote yourself and half of the new haunts on this message board don't do enough of it.

04-10-2008, 12:21 PM

I have a difference of opinion about Randy, so lets leave it at that. My opinion is based on working with him directly.

As for people turning to HHA, well that is exactly what we want. When you set the thing up RIGHT from the start you will avoid the problems of the past. When you get people together with the same ambitions, goals and agenda's you can accomplish anything.

You also will avoid a lot of problems when you can't have your board hijacked by people who keep it a private club and or people who don't even own attractions.

Things have to be change for the betterment of a 500 MILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY, and industry who sold over 24 million tickets last year. We all deserve better!


04-10-2008, 12:25 PM
Let me add one thing...

Most people who get into the business today benefit from all the magazines, all the seminars, the tradeshows, all the videos, the internet, blah, blah...


You had to learn yourself the hard way, in the old days you had to have a sculpter to make your masks and props. It was tough!

I know what it means to do the gorilla marketing, putting the flyers on cars at football games, and all of that. I couldn't have been any smaller, so I understand what it takes to start with nothing and strive to achieve something more.

It is within your reach! I can assure you it's within your reach!

Never let anyone tell you that you can't do it, because if I did it anyone can! LOL


04-10-2008, 12:28 PM
Larry, no one is denying what you have done or your success we all started from the same place, at the bottom. I'm just saying broaden the horizons a bit!


04-10-2008, 12:41 PM

You are new like me just getting started. It'll be years before we will be as good as the big guys. But here's the problem, if we keep promoting the same 10 or so haunts year after year, how does the haunt that WAS beneathe them who might now years later be as good or better get their well earned due? If haunt X makes the top list year after year, gets all the national media attention, etc. etc, how will YOU'RE haunt get the full recognition you deserve? Because it seems they will not surplant those haunts for you! Im thinking keep those great haunts on the list and expand it to others based on their successes.


Which 10 haunts is it that you feel keep getting promoted over and over again, and which small haunts do you feel should be promoted? I think we have heard a lot about some new haunts the last couple of years.

04-10-2008, 12:44 PM
Mindtumor, picking other haunts really isn't something I'm qualified to do, not opening my own haunted house yet. This would be more for the industry to decide, no me...

04-10-2008, 01:09 PM
The last three top 13 haunt articles in Hauntworld magazine featured 28 different haunted houses. Plus we are now starting hear about haunts like ScareHouse and Turbidite Manor. Any time a haunt makes itself known and shows that it is a good haunt it is promoted through the magazine or on a video. I don't see the same 10 haunts over and over again, I am seeing all kinds of haunts that 5 or 6 years ago I had never heard about. I think the effort has been made to promote more than the same 10 haunts each year. My point was if you think their is a good haunt out there that hasn't been mentioned or promoted, mention it so everyone can check it out. You don't have to have a haunt to say you feel another haunt is good. Besides if no one mentions a haunt or that haunt doesn't mention itself how can it be promoted?

Jolly Pumpkin
04-10-2008, 02:13 PM
Well, I'm not going to name which haunts are on the top haunts lists every year because that wouldn't be right to do. But AOL, Hauntworld and other sites seem to list similar haunts on their top haunt lists every year. And if you take a look at the lists throughout the years you will see that the majority of the haunts promote themselves very well and have built up a fan base because of that. Plus many of them are great haunts. I'm just saying that there are many haunts around the country that are incredible that don't promote themselves well and very few people know about them except for the people who live in the state they're located in.

Here are just a few haunts that are incredible that people should know about.

Industrial Nightmare (Jeffersonville, IN)
The Haunted Hotel (Louisville, KY)
Baxter Avenue Morgue (Louisville, KY)
Terror Town (Toledo, OH)
Atrox Factor (Lees, AL)
The Haunted School House and Laboratory (Akron, OH)
Raycliff Manor (Arkansas)
Turbidite Manor
The Land of Illusion (Middletown, OH)
Cutting Edge Haunted House (Fort Worth, TX)
Chambers of The Mausoleum (Riverside, CA)
The Original Hollywood Horror Show (Snow Camp, NC)
and the list goes on and on

Some of these haunts people know about, but you hardly ever hear them being talked about.

04-10-2008, 03:30 PM
Two dfferent issues here... hmmm

Top 13 List.

Well we have tried very hard to include new haunts every single year. Some haunts have got mad at me because we didn't re-include them again the following year. But we're tryign to award achievement as much as we can.

I'm trying to eliminate the question marks and that is why I asked for ANYONE who wanted their haunt to be considered that you would upload a YOUTUBE video to our site. Once all the videos are in we'll set up a poll and go from there.

Some of the people posted commercials, which personally I don't think is good enough. I will LET YOU GUYS vote on this. If a haunt past, present, or from future lists don't add their video they will not be included. You can 't get any more fair than that...as it stands now how many of the 28 different venues have uploaded ANYHING? Not many... so I guess this upcoming list wll be very very different won't it.

You must also understand the goal of these lists are also to promote media for the whole industry, get people talking about haunted houses, so even if you're not on the list, the goal is to stir up interest overall.

Second subject...Opening up a bit.

As I already stated ANYONE CAN JOIN, just like ANYONE can join IAAPA, but NOT anyone can run for the board of IAAPA. I'm sorry but an enthusiast should not be sitting on a board that steers an assocaition for 500 million or 25 million customers. They should be learning from their involvement and one day take the info they've learned and apply it to their first ever attraction, if they so choose to do so. Look at all the failures of IAHA, they're ENDLESS!!!!

IAHA is a total flop... do we want that to repeat itself? We can't afford that to happen again. The future leader of this group may not even be born yet, or might still be in high school and he or she doesn't even know they'll take this thing to even greater heights. Everyone starts somewhere and for those who are just starting out, you want people with clear leadership ability to take the reigns and one day turn them over to you!

Who can or can't be a board member will be decided by the membership after the bylaws are official, that could include myself and might not. Its up to you!

There won't be any votes in secret, or hand picking who is or isn't a board member lie IAHA does. Additionally you won't see ANY SIGN OF this association competing with its own membes or show favortism.

HHA will NOT compete with its own membership on any level...that will be written into the bylaws I can assure you. You want this thing to work for YOU not AGAINST YOU!


04-10-2008, 03:33 PM

We agree that there is a void in many areas of an industry group/s. Both are a work in progress. And i think that competition is the best motivator and co-existance needs to be done without any negativity arising from either group or the whole industry loses.

I know a guy who was "elected" to President of the US Jaycees that had competition from three others. One even from his own state. Deals were made to cut the competitors out before the real election. The actual election was a facade. Toward the end of his year, he gave a speech that made a lot of sense. Basically he said that the competition for the race would have been far greater for the organization for the course of the whole year.

And I have always tried to remember that the lead dog never looks back or goes back, lest he loses the race. If a person or group are doing the best they can and in a positive way, the rest of the competition will not matter.

04-10-2008, 06:25 PM
I think 28 different haunts from 3 lists was a pretty good variety. I just don't see how anyone can say we only ever hear about the same 10 haunts over and over again. Right now we are hearing about different haunts more than ever. Plus you should never feel like your opinion doesn't matter, if you think a haunt is good point it out. You don't have to own an event to be able to say you think a haunt is good. And Larry is right, I was going through the thread for 2008 top13 and there really isn't that many nominations yet.

As far who should be able to be on the board, I think not only should you have experience running a haunt but experience running a sucessful event.

04-10-2008, 07:42 PM
I agree with your post I see Atrox in Alabama and they rock! I do so much respect Paul and the Gang! There is another haunt in Bama as well 35,000+sqft feet and its called Graystone Manor look for the new and improved websight soon its gonna be good!

04-10-2008, 08:08 PM

We're waiting to see the video on your haunt...when are you adding it to the list?

C'mon baby!