View Full Version : Midwest Haunters Convention - Industry Perspective

06-28-2008, 02:39 PM
I occasionally read forums, but have never posted my thoughts. I generally work all hours of the day (and don’t have time to devote to a forum). After reading the numerous posts on the issue of haunted attraction trade shows; I’ve asked my wife, Neena to post my comments:

I’ve been attending Transworld (TW) for 13+ years and have looked forward to every visit with my haunter friends. The drive from Columbus, Ohio was a challenge most years with ice and snow. The cost for hotels, parking and meals at the convention center/hotel were expensive. The classes were geared towards producers and retail managers. Haunts with small budgets, actors, makeup artists, not-for profit haunts and home haunters weren’t welcome to attend. I understood they weren’t spending enough money to justify allowing them to roam the aisles and collect samples and catalogs.

We were discussing this audience and decided to create a convention that included a vendor trade show, bus tours and masquerade parties with contests. Our goal was to attract vendors with very affordable booth space and to treat them as partners. We wanted to give actors a chance to learn makeup techniques, acting styles and character development. We wanted to provide producers with classes on business skills and makeup artists a place to share their talents and compete with their peers. We also believed haunters would relish the opportunity to show off their characters at parties and interact with fellow monsters. This year; 38 home haunters attended our day long Getting Started in the Haunted Attraction Industry class. Home Haunters and Halloween enthusiasts enjoy the opportunity to learn from our experienced instructors too. Registrants had over 50+ classes to choose from and were able to attend 5 weekend classes for only $89.

The four MHC producers all have full time jobs and we work on MHC year around. We had 40+ volunteers assisting us at the show. This is another way we are able to keep our costs low. Yes, we know what it takes to put on a quality haunters convention and we work very hard at it, but we love it too. It’s our love of the industry that drives us. We have many friends in this industry and make new friends every year at our show. Now that the show is over; we’ll be making plans for our haunt, Terror Park at Cooper Stadium.

Our initial plans were to hold our show in July for the procrastinators out there who wait until the last minute to purchase their props and supplies. Also some people have limited funds and don’t want to spend their money until the last few months before the season. We found that most vendors don’t have a problem stocking inventory to sell during our show. It was the large custom prop builders who needed more than 60-90 days to build to order.

Many vendors welcomed the opportunity to discount their remaining inventory and sell for cash and carry at our show. In fact, most of our vendors sell everything they bring to our show. The Columbus Convention Center is a non-union facility and vendors can unload their own trucks and don’t pay drayage charges. This saves everyone money. Our host hotel, the Hyatt Regency is holding their rate to $115 a night and meals are available under $7 at the nearby food court.

The 2009 MHC (June 5, 6 & 7) will be held in a 100,000 sq ft trade show hall, hotel rooms within walking distance, a pre-convention bus tour, a Friday night tour and a Saturday night party with contests in a 15,000 sq ft ballroom.

We have tried moving up in the year (Jan thru May), but we’re having problems finding sufficient trade show space with hotel rooms and a ballroom large enough for our party. We’ve started expanding our search to surrounding states, but we have specific facility needs. Our program is currently working very well and our growth has exceeded our expectations.

Do we need to change our dates? Can’t haunt producers with big budgets place their orders in June with delivery the following June? You would provide vendors with revenue during the off season and most would probably offer you discounts on the flexible lead time. If you are spending serious money on large props, you can surely arrange a visit to the vendor in the off season and place your order on location. Even these pro’s can use some last minute supplies in June. Many currently bring their actors to MHC for training and help them purchase makeup supplies and costume accessories.

When TW moved to Vegas this year; we saw a huge increase in vendors and attendees. We have never had any intention of competing with TW. We started out with a target that was excluded by their show. We will continue to support TW because they’ve been the catalyst that created and promoted our industry. They are a large company with many resources and those expenses aren’t cheap. Hosting their show in major cities is expensive and working with union facilities increase exhibitor costs. The suggestion to move to a “second tier” city can reduce costs, but that comes with challenges too. Many of those have been addressed in posts already.

Unfortunately TW has made a few mistakes that have caused a rift with their vendors. It looks like the show will have many challenges ahead with their costume and party store vendors splitting off to hold their own show in Houston. They don’t want “haunters” there either. Two TW shows just months apart will create even more challenges. I agree that a national show is needed for the custom prop builders and those haunts with large budgets for props and the desire to be the first in their market with the latest haunt item. IAAPA in November in Orlando has the opportunity to step up and fill this gap. The biggest challenge they face is that many haunt producers are still tearing down in November while trying to get caught up on postponed household/family responsibilities.

Thank you everyone for your time. I hope this provides some insight into the business of hosting such type of conventions.

Kelly Collins, President
Mid-Ohio Productions

06-28-2008, 04:09 PM

A couple things... first off let me thank you for all the hard work you guys do. I realize more than anyone that many times it is a thankless job, and takes a lot of passion not drive for money that usually makes these things happen.

Again kudos!

Now to address your concerns. The MHC and shows like it have created an environment that in my mind is not the atmosphere of a buyer seller show. They are more social in nature and less on 'bring those check books'. It is very funny how we always talk about how the retail buyer/vendor does not want the haunted house owners around. Actually I don't think they minded as much as we think...I think they are confused with all the horror fans, enthusiasts, and the like that showed up in Chicago.

In Vegas and because the show was in Vegas all that got cut down to the bone. Yes it didn't look as busy but Scarefactory still sold as much if not more than ever, so did Ghost Ride, and many others. This show isn't about make up wars, and zombie walks, this is about people who own a business.

Transworld should have never advertised in Fangoria, they should have always charged an entry fee, then the rift between the retail side and the haunt side may have never happened. Haunted house owners, Six Flags, Busch Gardens and the like shouldn't be confused with horror fans, or people walking around in monster costumes but they are.

I do not want to go to a show to do business with a bunch of half naked zombies, people dressing up like clowns or whatever. Vendors don't want make up wars, or contests, or any of that stuff, they want people with check books sitting down and discussing business.

Getting drunk, acting stupid, or dressing up should or can be done another time, another day, or at the hotel later that night, but during the show, the focus has to be QUALIFIED BUYERS for vendors products.

MHC markets to everyone which is great, but not everyone buys Scarefactory props, only specific people buy $1200.00 pigs from Ghost Ride, or $3000 costumes from Gore Galore. You have to choose a path if you want to be a buyer seller show, even though many will say different than myself, they will say the two can exist, but they can't.

The haunted house industry, is just that an industry, not a circus, not a zombie walk, not a hearse rally, it is an industry.

Buyers want QUALIFIED BUYERS, and when you want to focus on just qualified buyers then you change the WHOLE ENTIRE structure of what has made MHC successful. In order to make your show THE buyers show you'd have to alienate many people, chop out several elements of your show to make it work. This is my opinion, however I think if you talk to the serious buyer or the serious vendor you'll find this is in fact the case.

MHC is in my mind first and foremost a social event, as is Hauntcon. With so many distractions and so many different people being invited to the party there is no focus on JUST the haunted house industry, which is made up of the buyers and the sellers.

I agree there is a time and place for mixing all of that with all the other elements, and there you have MHC, but again then the focus is not solely on selling products to qualified buyers.

This I feel is your dilemma if you change the direction of your show towards being a more oriented buyers sellers show.

Something you should ponder long and hard about.

I know it would be a very tough decision for you!


06-28-2008, 04:21 PM

But one problem/issue is people like myself and my business partner... Who will go to a show, collect a TON of info... But not place one single order at the show, but wait until we are back here in KY too disscuss what we want, where it could go, and how to use it; THEN we place our orders!!! So you can't completely alienate the buyers to one certain group of people!

But I think a show should be set-up with a dress-code or some type of business etique (or however you spell it) that must be followed. I agree, the show floor needs to be strictly business without all the distractions. -Tyler

06-28-2008, 05:11 PM
I do the exact same thing. While in Vegas I spent 3500.00 but when I got back and decided and thought about what I wanted when all was said and done I had sent out 35,000 in checks lol. But again I still want to see the Halloween/Haunt stay as one. Shane

Boo Crew Production
06-28-2008, 06:31 PM
Ok, here goes nothing.

First and foremost Kelly, Neena, Barry, and Kathy, Have done a wonderful job with MHC. MHC is still in its infancy, only being I believe 5 or 6 years now. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to the haunt industry.

If I recall properly (and I do have pictures to prove it) there were half naked women walking around at TW in 07 and a whole lot of models downstairs wearing VERY little. At TW where do all the vendors do business?

I as a vendor, I will stand behind and support MHC no mater what they do. I as well as MANY other vendors enjoy all the goings on at MHC. It is nice to unwind and have a little fun after a day working a booth. Not everyone that drinks, gets drunk. I seen some of the Largest vendors at MHC at the party. So if the dislike it so much why do they take part?

If a Buyer come up to me and wanted to talk 25,000 dollar Props you better believe I would take them somewhere where we could talk. Most likely I would take them out for dinner and discuss matters before during and after dinner. I do believe this happens everyday in the business world.

As fas as the Zombie walk that came through the convention. It was in NO way part of the convention. As far as people in costumes walking around the trade show floor, If I were selling costumes. What better way to get peoples attention. We are at the trade show to promote and sell. If we did not show off our goods, How else would we sell them. Be it costumes, acting, Props, wall panels, or electronic gadgets.

In my opinion the only reason you are lobbying so hard for St Louis is, it would be a Win Win for you. Any decent business person can see that.

The overhead that it costs to attend TW is unrealistic. 1200 to 2000 a booth with no electric or air. That is why the BIG prop company's have to charge so much for their goods. To make it even worse Drayage fees Accommodation's, and meals your now talking 2000 to 3000 a booth not including inventory to stock, build, and ship. This kind of overhead is just a business killer.

Kelly, Neena, Barry and Kathy, You guys & gals have a great thing going. Keep up the hard work that never seems to end.

Just my 2 cents!

Greg Chrise
06-28-2008, 07:00 PM
I understand the need for real business, qualified buyers and being professional but, in order to do this and have this environment, you should also qualify the sellers. If you don't want half naked people, don't have body art people, if you don't want people with make up on, don't have make up demos and vendors.

Don't sell videos and DVDs that would have a wide appeal and cut out all the magazines looking for 6000 plus subscribers. All of these vendors were told to invite customers, for even a $15 product.

It could be entirely by invite with only a certain kind of product that does not attract the social element.

But, now there are indeed 6,000 people wandering the country with the names of all of these companies on the tip of their tongues, people change from actor or artist to owner to buyer over time and even define the goals of what they would like to do next and to what level over years, even decades of life experience realtive to seeing what is out there in the market for real.

Yet, I got into a little art history recently since the death of Robert Rauchenberg. It was something I studied 20 years ago. And now the overviews are a little more direct. The entire big art scene of the late 50's and 60's that made all of these artists house hold names for those with an intrest had one common thing going on. Any gallery showing had only a few hundred of the well to do that were there just to be noticed or to actually buy art that some individual peices are worth billions today. Yes billions. In the early 60's $1200 a piece was phenominal.

The thing is it was the very same couple hundred people all the time over and over seeing every gallery offering and supporting it all in hard cold cash and media information. The same people. Just like when I look at Transworld pictures or even some of these social gatherings, it is all the same people. An elite that have somehow come about the means or methods to go to all of these gatherings and be seen. They might not be buying a single thing but, supporting the event with their presence.

All of these people have spent so much just to be seen that they have no money to buy high dollar props. Of course the ones who decided not to show at all are even less qualified.

The big name vendors are just going to have to live with this crap they created, trying to get the business by being there as the customers keep attending and grow into being their customers. If anything the social type shows are providing the service of being the primer to the whole unqualified segment of the population and there is no reason to knock them or pin them down as lesser. It is a different market. Plus if more local shows are available it will suck the resources out of them so they aren't a bother at the pro show.

If there is to be some super elite buyer show, it shouldn't even be suggested on an Internet forum, it should be by invite only and all behind closed doors and run by a secret society. Perhaps missions can put watchers out at the other shows to make sure some professional hasn't screwed up and found himself wrongly in a social event when he really just wanted to spend thousand on props.

Just don't let the watchers dress funny where we can pick them out.

06-28-2008, 07:30 PM

But why couldn't all those companies be at a haunt only show and still be strictly business/profesional on the show floor? If one vendor sold make-up and had a booth, then yes, you should vend and have pics/demos of your work. Same goes to people that sell costumes. Let's take Bodybagging for example... it's GREAT to show off the costumes/masks/prosthetics... but buyers/attendees don't need to be like that on the show floor unless they are working or promoting a company that sells the items.

I think what Larry is trying to point out is that the people who attend soley for socializing and who show up in costume and make-up just to stand out and have fun, and NOT do business, should NOT be at the show.

I just think we need a haunt ONLY that means business and, dare I say it, a dress/etiquette code... idk. But i'd love to see a show like this with more of an IAAPA feel!!! -Tyler

06-28-2008, 07:57 PM
Correct... I'm saying people do not attend MHC to buy, they attend to socialize even though some buying happens. MHC has an image of a fun show, with a lot going on, but there isn't any serious buying going on. Same goes for Hauntcon and all the rest. They are done first and foremost to bring people together, have a ton of seminars, and activities and well tours and the vendor aspect sorta becomes an after thought.

People don't bring check books to these shows, and vendors need to write orders to do shows no matter how much you charge for a booth. You can charge $500.00 you can charge $2000 it doesn't matter, the cost for travel, hotels and food are usually the same unless you are going to Rosemont, then you get raped! LOL

That aside, vendors must have qualified buyers attend or it doesn't make sense to vend unless you are just trying to show support. I think everyone wants to show support for MHC, but that isn't enough. It cost money to attend shows, and if you don't sell product you lose time away from your shop where you fill orders.

I'm not beating up on MHC, I'm saying if you want MHC to be a vendor show then eliminate all the make up wars, and all the other stuff that distracts people from buying from vendors, and additionally stop marketing the show to actors, and horror fans and the like.

When I go to tradeshows I want to talk to qualified buyers. It is the shows responsibility to bring in buyers, qualified buyers, not bodies!

It doesn't matter if 10,000 people attended MHC, if they don't bring in one qualified buyer for a $8000 scarefactory prop. It cost a lot of money to exhibit and without qualified buyers you don't write orders.

Secondly, to answer Kelly's question VENDORS DO NOT want a Show in June...they want a show in January, or February to have a LONGER not SHORTER production season. June, April or May do NOT work! In the past maybe now, never.

I own two haunted houses myself and I can tell you we start working on our haunted house off and on starting in December. If we started in June or July we'd never get it done. June does NOT work! At least not for me and I would assume most if not all vendors would not go along either.

Taking orders in June and turning that product around in a few weeks when haunts open these days is impossible.


06-28-2008, 08:20 PM
Look we play with skeletons, dead bodies, bloody parts and dress as dead people, clowns, and freeks. Thats partly what this industry is about. There is no way people are gonna stand around all day in a suit and tie. There is no way people are going to attend a haunt only show and not have fun. Thats just part of it. It would be boaring taking the fun out of it would suck. All work and no play makes for a dull show. Shane

06-28-2008, 09:26 PM
A couple of points:

1. Larry, please call the buyer from Canada that spent $20K here and tell him that he is not a serious buyer. Please call my friend from Branson who only attended MHC this year and tell him he is not a serious buyer. Can we do more to get more of these types of buyers to Columbus? Yes! Are we working on it? Yes! But please do not lump everyone together.

2. Kelly's question was about ordering for the following year. You mentioned that you start in December. Ben has said he does his buying in November. Maybe a February show is too late. LOL

06-28-2008, 10:03 PM
Believe it or not I do know folks who buy two years in advance.

But realistically I think most haunters will be more likely to sink cash into the following seasons show only AFTER they have completed the current season...November would in most cases be the earliest we would buy... Up till then you need your cash to operate!

But you are always LOOKING... I saw stuff at MHC I may fit into next years pre season order.... Thats what I like about the regional shows, they often turn up hidden gems.

Its all good...

Personally I think we have all beaten this Dead Horse into Steak Tartar...

The Vendors/ Convention orgainizers should just chose where they want to go and we will follow.

If we don't follow send us a catalog!

Lets see some Leadership here from the actual event orgainizers, I am all about forming a consensus but this is getting pretty silly. Pick a city, pick a date and call it done.

Plant the Flag.

Let move on to something fresh... Maybe Jim Warfield just found a new way to scare his customers with a small soap dish!



06-29-2008, 02:04 AM
Ben, There's a good point. I have been involved in minor roles in shows in other industries and there is no pleasing everyone. But sometimes you try so hard to make everyone happy (or more likely not offend anyone) that sometimes you just have to make a decision and tell everyone that this is the way it's going to be. Afterwards, we will review the results and figure out what we are going to do next year but the next show will be here on this date. Why is that so hard for Transworld to do? Is it sill set for Vegas next year?

06-29-2008, 05:03 AM
Ok I have been trying really hard to stay off the boards and getting into industry debates, But all I can say is that to everyone saying that MHC is NOT a buyers show, Transworld 2007 I barely broke even, MHC 2007 I sold EVERYTHING I took including several Large Custom props.
fast forward to Transworld vegas 2008, we had a very good show, making a significant amount of profit but had to sell OVER $10,000 worth of product, just to reach the BREAKEVEN mark, MHC 2008 , we had very little actual product to sell cash and carry, we announced we would not be taking any orders, due to a large workload, plus we took on two booths instead of one. with all of this going against us for the show, we still made a significant amount of profit. This event may not be THE BUYERS SHOW, But do not be misled into thinking it is NOT a BUYERS SHOW. We do exceptionally well at MHC PointBlank.
Now with all the other hoopla with Transworld splitting up, I have no clue what BBE will be doing for 2008, We are Haunters foremost, But my main goal is to get our product into the retail chains, Make enough money that I can afford to continue giving Haunted House owners price breaks on products, and If TW seperates the two shows, I dont know what we will do for 2009, other than the one CONSTANT we will be at MHC no matter what!

06-29-2008, 06:47 AM
I think Larry's first post on the topic was DEAD ON! It would be wrong of me to comment on who comes and buys at MHC or Hauntcon as unfortunately I have not yet attended those conventions... yet. But I agree with the social aspects of the show do seem to attract more non-buyers or not serious buyers. Attractiing horror fans in a bad idea. Having our industry represented on show floors as zombies and people in costume looks bad, let's face it. It may make for a less fun show to some but we can have all the fun we want dressing up in October but when it's time to place the orders and discuss business and look for ways to take your business to the next level there should be a place where we go to conduct ourselves as professionals. After hour parties, shows, costumed characters can all be set aside for evening activities after the tradeshow is closed.


06-29-2008, 07:47 AM
Ben, I agree with you completely!

Allen, I agree with you and Larry to point but that is another discussion.

Here is an idea I mentioned in passing that nobody commented on:

In business there is the 80/20 rule that all of us are familiar with. 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. This ratio can be applied to many aspects of business and it can be applied here as well. I would argue that 80% of the dollars in this industry are spent with 20% of the vendors. 80% of those dollars are spent by 20% of the haunts in business.

If we are to have a strictly buyer/seller show then why don't those 20% of vendors put on their own show and fly in the 20% of buyers. This can be done very inexpensively and over the course of just a few days. 80% of the market's business is accomplished and everyone goes home. Meanwhile MHC and HauntCon continue to do what we have been doing all along.

06-29-2008, 07:56 AM
Sounds like a great plan Barry....

06-29-2008, 08:28 AM
Man Barry I wish I would have thought of that! Amen Brother!!!!!MDKing no offence but you say you have not attended one of these shows yet, You say " that the social aspects of the show do seem to attract more non buyers or not serious buyers" Why does it seem that way to you? Because Larry suggested it? One vendor already stated that he recieved a 20,000.00 order. Several no many vendors have stated that they done as well if not better than TransWorld. You also stated that " having our Industry repersented as zombies and people dressed in costume looks bad" King is that not part of our industry? How would it be if people came to your haunt and said I am here only to see the props I don't wont to see people dressed as zombies, clowns, bloody people ect I am here to be all serious and I am not here for fun as well. This too King is part of it and this is what helps make our industry different. Let me tell you this and I have said it many times I am successful beyond the Haunt Industry. I already attend other boaring shows where people stand in suits and ties and place orders then stand around the rest of the day talking how boaring the show is or have them suggest why did they not do this or that. Yes our Industry is a Business but it goes way beyond going to a booth and placing a order. Remember the vendors and buyers alike can do this already by way or internet or phone. Take away the aumbiance and you loose part of the show and atmosphere. And when you do that why not let the vendors save thousands in booth rent and just put their new products on the net. Then you can do a phone conferance and do all your business and orders right on the phone saving you time and money as well as saving the vendor time and money. Then you will say '' I want to go and see that and see it in person '' well my friend your right back to why this is way more than just a business its an Industry made up of vendors with props, and products and people dressed as those costumes as those zombies ect its the aumbiance and atmosphere that makes our Industry more than just a 9 to 5 job. King please dont pull a Larry on me and go off this is my opinion and I am expressing it to show you there is way more than meets the eye here. Shane

06-29-2008, 08:54 AM

Believe it or not, and it may come as a surprise to you, but there are in fact more people in this industry other than Larry. What Larry says and does is on him I think and do for myself. I talk to many people in the industry, in fact I've never talked to Larry about MHC or Hauntcon I talk to many people all of them saying the same thing. Also, I can base my assessment of what I have perceived at Transworld, especially in Rosemont whereas many of the people there were non-buying haunt staffers or actors and horror/Halloween enthusiasts.

No one said anything about suits and ties first off, but suits and ties would be on the opposite extreme as some of us "haunters" present ourselves. Why is that you all need to have these social events at these conventions? Do that stuff after hours and leave the shows for people looking to do business. I come to see product and many others do as well. I'm not there for ambiance and atmosphere I'm there for my business. The two aspects of the industry should be seperate. That may seem boring to you, excuse me "boaring" but the show ends early and the night is young and there is plenty of time to meet other haunters over dinner, and take part in haunt or non haunt related entertainment all night long.

Again, I think what Barry said is a great idea. Have one show strictly business and the other business/social events for those who are into that sort of thing.


Killer Katie
06-29-2008, 09:12 AM
Our industry is, in my opinion, a mix of social and buisness. I enjoy not only the showfloor, but the idea of bringing people together that wouldn't get a chance to speak face to face and share ideas, acting and makeup tips, and have a good time doing it.
Why can't we just say that MHC and Hauntcon are a new breed of tradeshow. And the people who are horror fans and just come for that - why isn't that an opportunity to show what the haunt community is all about? (and aren't those the people that come to our haunts?)
As for the drunken idiots - what place doesn't have their fair share? C'mon! Plumbing conventions have them - they just have suits - they don't look like zombies!
As for the nakedness - the body art is amazing - most of them really disguise their nakedness, and it's boobs...whoopty do! (of course that's one...um...two of the things that got my hubby to go with me LOL) And whomever referenced Transworld - they have several scantily clad women in the costume section evry year i went. The guys I went with spent ALOT of time down there.
I agree with Speculo - it has been beaten to death.
You can't honestly compare the two tradeshows. Whenever anyone asks me about them, this is how I describe it: Transworld focusing on the big buyers, those not interested in anything but running a haunted house and stocking it.
MHC and Hauntcon focus not only on buyers of all price ranges, but have a heavy focus on the actors and makeup artists and the socialness that comes with it!
That's what i think.
MHC has my full support due to it's diversity in all things haunt related!

06-29-2008, 09:13 AM
Ummmm if nothing else thanks for pointing out my misspelling. Its good to know you are here and can point that out rather than try to make one seem stupid. Well thats atleast what I hope you were doing. I mean after all most would have just over looked that and focused on what I was saying not my grammer and punctuation as well as spelling but for that I will say Thank You. I guess there is a huge problem here and with out getting everyone in the room its a he said they said thing. I know many who are for. You know many who are opposed and so on and so fourth. This is why I intend to rent a space at Transworld for an open debate and just see where everyone stands on Industry issues a face to face if you will. Its hard to get across true feelings from one person to the other here. Now Hauntworld is a good place to post pics, videos, and expressions of ones Haunt. But I have talked with many vendors and buyers who thinks this a a great thing. I hope to do it at TransWorld after hours if not we will find a hotel with a meeting area to discuss all the issues face to face. Larry would you like to help me on this? After all we are two vocal people and I would include you if you want? What is your thoughts would you be willing to do a face to face? Shane

06-29-2008, 09:20 AM
If it needs to be addressed by next year, I might consider it. But only if you spell my name correctly! :)


06-29-2008, 09:39 AM
There are no more shows to do a public discussion before Haunt season I am doing this for 2009 season. And I think you ment yo say spell "my" name right no "me name" oops look I corrected you too. Thats just wrong of me. Again Allan nothing personal just a friendly disagreement on my end anyway. I hope you feel the same.Shane

06-29-2008, 10:09 AM
Good, Good! You were paying attention! I was referring to next year in my post.

Take care,

06-29-2008, 10:20 AM
As I read these posts a couple things came to mind.

First, I agree with Ben, pick a place, I don't care because I'll be there regardless.

Second, I attended all 4 shows in the past year, IAAPA, TW, Hauntcon, and MHC. If the aspects of all these shows could be combined into one, I'd be all for it, I think a lot of people would. It's not to say I don't enjoy each one of them in their own rights, it's just that I have two little ones at home, family obligations etc. and I really would rather not travel 4 times a year if I don't have to.

So, let's say a show like MHC or Hauntcon could attract the larger vendors, and either had the trade show floor opened to pre-qualified buyers a day in advance or for the first few hours each day (let's face it some of the actors, staff, etc. are still sleeping it off), the vendors would know they are dealing with pre-qualified buyers. They could ramp up their staffing, give out all the catalogs, incentives, etc. they want, and then when those hours are over they may or may not choose to do the same. In regards to MHC, Scarefactory and Unit 70 are there in Columbus right? Doesn't this make sense?

I guess part of what I'm getting at, is I don't think the people walking around in costumes are going to keep buyers from coming to the show. I think there is probably a happy medium here. For example this year we had quite a few people come with us to TW in Vegas (and only one kinda dressed up at all), most likely because it was Vegas! After the trade show we would get together for dinner and everyone would talk about what they saw and what they liked, this was good input and brought up some things that we hadn't thought of. If these people were excluded all together, we wouldn't have gotten some good feedback, and some seeds about certain vendors products wouldn't have been planted. They even pointed out some things that I had missed all together.

Also, for the industry to grow I don't know that it's the best idea to alienate the home haunters and fans, some day they may open up commercially and become customers, they'll remember how they were treated when they do.

Just an idea.


06-29-2008, 11:09 AM
Great responce! Shane

06-29-2008, 11:13 AM
I think all the socializing, party's, masquarade balls, walks, etc. etc. are all really great things. Just the SHOW FLOOR should be strictly business, much like IAAPA. If the show wants to set-up balls/party's or have haunters pavillions, meet-ups, bus/haunt tours, etc. etc., that's awesome! Just save for when your not on the show floor... that's all. -Tyler

06-29-2008, 11:23 AM
No offence but its going to be boring!!!! boring!!!!!boring!!! Again we already got IAAPA for that. Thats what makes TW and MHC so great its a mix and a blend of business and pleasure! Thats what makes our industry so great that all these crazy haunter actors, home haunters, and professionals alike can come and express themselves and still do business. I say if you want that then its off to IAAPA you should go. I myself don't like to dress up but I sure as heck love to see the ones that do! Sheldon, Tater, The unattractive lady with the faces on her boobes the some of the dudes from the Headless Horsemen and everyone else keep it up I LOVE SEEING IT! Just my opinion!

Boo Crew Production
06-29-2008, 12:21 PM

I think you have something there.

great Post

Patti Ludwinski
06-29-2008, 12:47 PM
Chris ALWAYS has great posts...Thanks!

Some of the outrageousness is amazing and can be viewed as educational for costuming and face-painting purposes. However, some is soooo over-the-top that it could devalue our industry.

I will say this...It might not keep the buyers out (as Chris posted), but some of the outrageousness WILL keep new vendors out. For example, we are in the attractions business and Pepsi, Coke, and many food vendors showcase at EVERY attractions show EXCEPT ours. Why don't they attend ours? Afterall most pro haunts do offer a concession area.?.?

Maybe they don't come because we're too small, or maybe they don't come because they've never been marketed to with an invite to come. However, I think that if we successfully marketed to them and they showed up with their expensive booth space, but then saw some of the outrageousness, they might not be so inclined to come again. That would be my fear. The fun-loving conventions are great for that stuff, but our annual Professional Trade Show should probably discourage from it.

I don't think this makes for "boring". Have you seen our vendors' booths? They are anything but boring. We don't need the over-the-top outrageous enthusiasts to liven up our show. IT'S ALIVE!...literally. (In case you didn't catch that, I made a Frankenstein reference. "IT'S ALIVE!" Okay. Okay. So, I'm not really good at this. LOL.)

06-29-2008, 01:44 PM
this is an interesting thread...so i think i will post a few thoughts...i dont have a single complaint at all about MHC...it is the best show for us in my opinion...we dont have to drain our bank account to attend, and we dont have the headaches of union workers sucking out the remaining change from our pockets when we get there...pound for pound MHC is just as good if not better than TW...it just isnt as big...YET!!!!
the social aspect of the show is one of the great attractions...and do we forget the huge party we used to have at the crown every year...i cant tell you how many times i have struck up a conversation with someone at the party while drinking a beer, and the next day they show up at the booth to buy a product...or talk to a customer on the show floor, and then sit down and discuss business at the party...it is the comradery off the show floor that can help make sales..is it always necessary, no...but it is nice to get to know your customers on a more personal level...i also have done bookings for my seasonal acting/seminars during the party...it is called networking...
the other stuff (ie makeup wars and body art) also adds to the environment...we as artists are looking for ways to better ourselves all the time...to find more creative, time saving, and efficient ways of doin things and what better way than through competition...it is amazing what you can pick up by watching people use very little in way of materials to make some pretty cool effects...and the body art brings in a whole seperate group of folks that help us realize what can be accomplished with a good set of paints...i see wolf bros and graphtobian makeup used in several different haunts...
the MHC show does indeed put viable customer in our booth, and has consistantly for years...i say whatever the producers (kelly, neena, bary and kathy) are doin, please keep on doin it!!! if we lose all the fun aspects of the haunt industry, we might as well just become another boring business convention filled with suits and fake smiles...in short it would become dryer than a popcorn fart...
the above expressed view and opinions are mine and mine alone..nuff said

maddi poole

06-29-2008, 02:18 PM
Jason must be proud! That was a awsome post it just goes to show you that yes we are all professionals. But given that we are more than professionals weither we are vendors, buyers, actors, managers or what ever the case we are a family in an industry where we should not judge ourselves or others for what part they may play in this industry. We all have something to offer again it doesn't matter if your the owner, the vendor or the actor we all should be allowed to be able to express ourselves at these shows for the people we are and thats each and everyone. Without my crew I am just the owner. Without my actors I am just the owner. Without my customers I am again just the owner. I am so much more with what everyone brings to me. I cannot stand alone. And do not wish to see anyone of these hard working people labeled as somthing as a distraction at these shows. They are part of my family and would hope they are part of your family. Weither or not they work for me at my haunt they are part of this industry and part of the hauntworld. Guys I am honored at what each and everyone of you bring to this industry. I ask all others to do the same! Shane

Killer Katie
06-29-2008, 02:51 PM
Maddi - applause, applause, applause!

06-29-2008, 04:04 PM
I think some of these concerns were addressed in post-TW reports. If I recall, some vendors said that it looked like they opened the doors to just anybody the last couple of days. Lots of catalogs given out, but probably very few orders from them. And some buyers said that a couple of vendors were so busy talking to other people (didn't say whether they actually bought anything) that they couldn't take their order.

Now I don't think that anyone wants to chase off current or future buyers, or to limit entrance to only those who have filled out a credit report, but bumping up attendance numbers at a trade show with anyone who passes by isn't right either. If you only have one or two people working in a booth, you would hate to find at the end of the day that you had the bad luck of talking to only people who weren't buyers and never actually made any sales at all.

I think this is another of those threads that went off-topic (sorry for my part in that). I hope to someday soon be able to make it that far east for the show, and I know I will have a great time.

Haunted Illinois
06-29-2008, 06:10 PM
Chris ALWAYS has great posts...Thanks!

Some of the outrageousness is amazing and can be viewed as educational for costuming and face-painting purposes. However, some is soooo over-the-top that it could devalue our industry.

I will say this...It might not keep the buyers out (as Chris posted), but some of the outrageousness WILL keep new vendors out.

Why do you look at folks in costume/make-up on the show floor as a threat or a potential detractor for future vendor participation? This so-called “outrageousness” is merely the nature of the Haunt business and those people who are being so “outrageous” are just emulating the essence of the Haunt Industry. If you are damning people in costume, then what about the bloody displays of corpses on the show floor? If you ask the average Joe, I think they would agree that a few people walking around in costume aren’t nearly as disturbing as the various displays of bloody body parts and entrails that adorn many of the vendor booths. If something is going to dissuade future vendors, it would be the general nature of the business and NOT a few people walking around in make-up. LOL

And about those people who are so “outrageous”.. LOL. What is your opinion of Rex Hamilton, Jeff Glatzer, Geoff Beck and Ben Armstrong? Are they also among those ruining the Industry, as you suggested in your previous post? They, along with many others, are industry veterans and regularly dress up for these conventions. Do you think that anyone reading this post has anything but the utmost respect for these individuals? Are you suggesting that the sight of these Industry veterans in costume would cause potential vendors boycott a convention? That is just absurd! Costuming and creating interesting characters is just part of the business. The Haunt Industry may not be as conservative as other sectors in the business world, but it is what it is. Sorry, but you’ll just have to learn to deal with that fact.

Maddi - applause, applause, applause!

I second the motion. I think that said it all. Awesome post Maddi.

this is an interesting thread...so i think i will post a few thoughts...i dont have a single complaint at all about MHC...it is the best show for us in my opinion...we dont have to drain our bank account to attend, and we dont have the headaches of union workers sucking out the remaining change from our pockets when we get there...pound for pound MHC is just as good if not better than TW...it just isnt as big...YET!!!!

There is no doubt that MHC was outstanding and has grown over the years.

the social aspect of the show is one of the great attractions...and do we forget the huge party we used to have at the crown every year...i cant tell you how many times i have struck up a conversation with someone at the party while drinking a beer, and the next day they show up at the booth to buy a product...or talk to a customer on the show floor, and then sit down and discuss business at the party...it is the comradery off the show floor that can help make sales..is it always necessary, no...but it is nice to get to know your customers on a more personal level...i also have done bookings for my seasonal acting/seminars during the party...it is called networking...

I know for a fact that I have stated a similar point on this message board, only to have it ignored by everyone. LOL. The “big business” folks seem to complain about all the social aspects of Haunter Conventions, but they don’t realize that such gatherings (as Maddi stated) are an excellent networking opportunity and can often result in acquiring new customers. Have you ever heard of a serious business men doing business on the golf course? It happens all the time! The same thing applies with the “Crowne Party”, “MHC Masquerade Ball” or any of the gatherings’ social functions. It just amazes me how so many people in this Industry think that conventions have to be so prim and proper, in order to make sales. It’s ridiculous. If you ask me, there are a lot of people in this Industry who take themselves wwwwwaaaayyyyyyyyyy too seriously. Get over yourselves! If you just loosen up a bit, you’ll realize that you don’t have to be in a tuxedo to conduct business.

the other stuff (ie makeup wars and body art) also adds to the environment...we as artists are looking for ways to better ourselves all the time...to find more creative, time saving, and efficient ways of doin things and what better way than through competition...it is amazing what you can pick up by watching people use very little in way of materials to make some pretty cool effects...and the body art brings in a whole seperate group of folks that help us realize what can be accomplished with a good set of paints...i see wolf bros and graphtobian makeup used in several different haunts...
the MHC show does indeed put viable customer in our booth, and has consistantly for years...i say whatever the producers (kelly, neena, bary and kathy) are doin, please keep on doin it!!! if we lose all the fun aspects of the haunt industry, we might as well just become another boring business convention filled with suits and fake smiles...in short it would become dryer than a popcorn fart...
the above expressed view and opinions are mine and mine alone..nuff said

maddi poole

Again, I agree. These social events like makeup wars allow all of us to learn and grow. Instead of complaining about it,. why not embrace what we have. I guess some people are just natural-born complainers and nay-sayers. LOL.

06-29-2008, 06:21 PM
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen oh yes and last long Amennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!! Shane

06-29-2008, 07:11 PM
It's not how we perceive ourselves, it's how the entertainment world in general perceives us. We embarrass ourselves as an industry every chance we get it seems. In many, not all cases we can come off as unprofessional, uneducated and dare I say unattractive. The truth hurts but it is the truth. And I've had this discussion with many haunters out there who agree and but might rather remain quiet on the topic. Black T shirts, mohawks, piercings all over the place, multi colored died hair styles, and the obvious inablilty to dress for their body type is what can easily be seen at Transworld. There is a large sect of haunters who fall into this class, but there are just as many who do not but they are not what people think of when they think of haunters, it was the aforementioned.

I did this experiment already by asking different demographics in male and female and when asked what they would picture for the appearance of a haunted house owner it was less than flattering nearly everytime. Of course, my own venture into this test study is hardly a scientific fact but it taught ME a lot. Try it for yourself. Also, when I would meet with potential sponsors and media partners for the first time I asked them what they expected to see when my wife and I met them for the first time, again the results were the same, but stated in a more tasteful manner.

You mention the social activities are great for social networking, and I for the most part beg to differ. Half are actors or staff, who do not fully understand the business challenge running a successful haunt themselves. Also, it's going to be slightly more difficult to carry a real, professional business conversation with someone who is drinking alcohol by the gallon while enveloped in face paint and costuming. I've seen and heard plenty of these great social networking opportunities when people arrive back home and brag on message boards like a juvenile about how drunk they got partying like we're still in high school. That's not cool, it's not funny and it's not professional networking. I'm sorry if I am coming off so negatively but it seems like no one else ones to state the obvious so I will take the lead here. You can sugar coat it and go the PC route but at the end of the day like Patti said Coke and Pepsi and the like will continue to ignore us as an industry. You may say that's fine, and that's OK because we are weird and different, but I pride myself on growing my business and changing negative perceptions then my wierdness...


06-29-2008, 07:41 PM
Black T shirts, mohawks, piercings all over the place, multi colored died hair styles, and the obvious inablilty to dress for their body type...

Hahaha... "Carnies... Small hands... Smell like cabbage..."

Damn, sounds like someone's got a case of the Nazis. Sorry that not everyone has the ability and/or desire to be as beautiful, knowledgeable, and sober as you and your wife, MDK. I'm gonna have trouble sleeping tonight. SIEG HEIL!

06-29-2008, 08:13 PM
Good Gosh man we play with body parts, dead bodies, and crazy clowns. Your post did nothing for you. Shane

06-29-2008, 08:15 PM
Wow, did I hit the Actiondeath, I mean, nail on the head or what? I fail to see the correlation between my post and Adolf Hitler and Nazis don't twist my words and my intent. Also, I never mentioned beauty or myself and wife's appearance I merely stated that we do not fall in the desciption outlined in my last post below. It's not about being physically attractive, it's about keeping your appearance attractive and professional for business sake. As for having Knowlege and being sober, most everyone has the ability, but many lack the desire. Sleep well!


06-29-2008, 08:20 PM

Exactly, we play with body parts and dress up in costumes all October long. EVERYONE knows we do this and we have a fun career, it's duely noted by all. Which is why I say leave it at home our out of professional tradeshows do we have to be all scary all the time? We all know what we do just because we get together does that mean we have to start acting and scaring each other? If a team of football players meet in the off season doing a charity event or public showing are they going to pack their pads and break into a full contact game everywhere they go? Of course not. Why do we have to remind ourselves every function that we are the ones who scare people each fall?


06-29-2008, 08:34 PM
Suits ? Aren't costumes the suits of our industry?

First, Every one of us started out in haunting first, then some of us found the business aspect of it, too. I have seen nearly all of the owners of the big thirteen haunts (as they promote themselves) at many of these events, and all of them have been in jeans and t-shirts despite many of them being million dollar gross business owners. Larry has many aspects of his businesses ( and has successfully expanded in many ways) and is now into the "BUSINESS" look fashion since he also deals with that type of people, including the big parks. So, when in Rome ... and as he should.

Second, It really upsets me to have a critic, be it of restaurants, of cars, or haunt shows, to give expert opinion on something they have not been to or experienced.

I myself have attended IAAPA (twice), Hauntcon (once), Midwest Haunters Convention (three times), Transworld ( 14 times), EasternHC (none).

At every one we attended, I saw business being conducted. TW saw an opportunity years ago to make more money by doing haunt stuff as well as halloween costumes and party favors, so they started a haunt show and did haunt seminars. TW didn't start the Crowne Plaza, the haunters did. The local haunts started the off-season openings to make off-season money, and at 2008 TW, Larry and his partners did a tour in Vegas as well. At TW there is actually a pre-show showing for at least one of the two big costume store franchisees (Halloween Express) by many of the costume companies, and I would assume they do the same for the other franchise company. TW has many companies hiring models (wonderful for the eyes) to display their costumes and in fact do a costume/fashion show of their own. The food is sponsored by big guys and cash bar after two drinks. And the intent is to sell costumes, but at that one I would say it is mostly a networking social (like MHC's).

IAAPA has many after show hospitality rooms/parties going, but they are selective to the potential customers with invitations. They do behind the scenes tours of the theme parks (hmm, sound familiar). They have an industry awards program (hmm familiar again). They also have numerous hospitality rooms divided by industry (haunters pavilion comes to mind here). They charge to get in, and welcome kids because every ride, concession stand, food vendor, and arcade give FREE samples out. They ride company people especially like the kids to try the rides out so potential customers can see and hear the excitement generated. Obviously IAAPA is the the big guy in shows, but they welcome all: from the mom and pop who have either a concession trailer, family entertainment center, or haunt; all the way up to the Disney, Universal, and Six Flags employees and executives. The booths are arranged with one side having rides and the other everything else. You can buy from Muncie Tickets at one booth, step next door to American Specialty Insurance, step next door again to Gold Medal concession machines, Step next door again to Pop Weaver popcorn, next booth might be a design firm that has and could design a whole amusment park, and this mix of booths goes on all the way through the show.

Hauntcon and MHC have excelled in the seminars and tour for haunters since they are not splintered by many industries attending. They have done well with the vendors as well. Keep in mind the companies that need the lead time to either wait for the slow boat from China (hate that country) or in order to build the awesome animatronics are not there because of the time of year some of the shows are held.

We have bought, previewed /bought later, and networked for business at EVERY show we have attended.

Obviously with TW and the costume industry in a very familiar split (IAHA / HHA comes to mind) for the near future, there will be some uncertainty and opportunity coming.

Whoever is to be successful in a show needs to remember NOT to ostricize potential vendors and/or customers.

06-29-2008, 08:56 PM
do we have to be all scary all the time?

The question you need to ask is, is it really scary? I mean, you do realize it's not real, correct? Millions of dollars have been made because someone somewhere thought... "Hmmm... Fear has some real potential". Are you really that dense to think that the sponsors you want to appeal to are that concerned with your appearance? You said yourself that they met with you, thinking they were going to meet with some kind of poorly dressed 'unattractive' abomination.

I know playhouse actors and administrators who meet with potential sponsors INTENTIONALLY in chatacter because THAT IS WHAT THEY DO. That is their passion. Are you ashamed of it? I really don't understand.

Patti Ludwinski
06-29-2008, 09:16 PM
I applaud you, Allan. Thank you for your posts. It's difficult for sure to post your opinion in a forum where there's so many who are only out to criticize and crucify.

06-29-2008, 09:17 PM
What I find dense is one who fails to see the big picture. One who revels in being different for the sake of being different. I also find a person dense who thinks that professionlism or lack thereof has an effect on what you achieve in the real world.


06-29-2008, 09:22 PM
Thanks Kindly Patti. Having even one person who might agree agree means a lot. Around here to show respect for leadership and success of a fellow haunter equates you to a follower. And to attempt to shed light on major and underlying issues effecting us all brands you a nazi....


06-29-2008, 09:30 PM
Crucify? I dought anyone here has experianced the pain that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ went through. I think that word is way to harsh for here. All I see is different views from different people. Again no one here is all right or all wrong. We just all have different opinions. Shane

06-29-2008, 09:34 PM
No, criticizing a person's appearance or status for any reason brands you as a Nazi. You know nothing about the people you judge, man. These folks who wear unflattering clothing might run circles around you. What makes you any better?

06-29-2008, 09:40 PM
Run circles around me in what way? And actually what you said has absolutley nothing to do with being a Nazi. Being a real Nazi only means you followed the Nazi party in Germany in the 30's and 40's and then a Hitler supporter after his death. That's what a Nazi is. It's not a descriptive term as you apply it.

And again, don't twist my words because like you say about these people, you yourself know nothing about me. I might be the one running circles around You. Let's keep to the discussion and not move towards attacking each other personally and take it to a level one of us might not be able to handle.


06-29-2008, 09:51 PM
I think the perception of potential buyers being offended by some in costumes is somewhat of a reach, unless your agenda is to rid these conventions of those groups, and how many here have been to other non haunt conventions, excluding IAAPA, that you don't see all of the buyers in suits?

Is there a dress code instituted for such trade shows?

Allan why the hostility?

06-29-2008, 09:58 PM
I would not call it hostility at least on my end. It would be simple to say it's only about costumes at professional trade shows. I have not really witnessed someone actually placing an order while in costume anyway. The majority of people walking the tradeshow floors in costume are not buyers but actors or enthusiasts or staff members, from my perspective, I could be wrong though.

Our industry problems go way beyond just this topic. But it seems these will not be addressed so maybe we should agree to disagree.

06-29-2008, 10:05 PM
Thanks for the history lesson. Did you Google that all by yourself? In my post, the term "Nazi" was applied as a metaphor, which is a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God” (I can Google too). I meant that the poorly dressed or costumed, unattractive people you speak of as menaces to 'the industry' may have very successful businesses. Quite possibly *gasp* more successful than your own. "Running circles around" is another metaphor, in case I lost you there. If you could yank yer head outta yer arse long enough to socialize and network with these drunken fools, you might be surprised. That is the point I was trying to make.

You probably do run circles around me... I earn a modest living as a freelance videographer... Being a single income family of four, we can't afford nice clothes like y'all have. Yes, I'm a simple man. If professionalism and success is defined by body type or clothing, as you suggest (please... tell me in your next post that I'm twisting your words), I am scum, but I'd bet I have more fun. At the end of each day, I'm thankful. And it's not about being different, it's about doing something I love to do.

06-29-2008, 10:05 PM
You're right sometimes it's better to viva y permita vivo.

06-29-2008, 10:21 PM
I think there are really THREE topics we are really talking about here...

1) Non Buyers
2) Extreme Content
3) Show Floor Time

1) Non Buyers

The bigger objection I have heard from vendors before doesn't relate to the wearing of costumes but rather having non-buyers take up show floor time and catalogs.

It isn't really as critical at the regional shows because there are fewer attendees, but some of the vendors complain about this at Transworld - they might miss sales if they are giving the pitch to non buyers when buyers walk by.

They also worry when all of the catalogs are taken by non buyers and they run out.

2) Extreme Content

As to the industry perception issue, we all cringe if someone gets on TV and does something stupid - remember the Scarefactory guy?

Its the razors edge once more - we love to ride the line - but how far is too far in some peoples eyes? Dead Acres/Haunted Hoochie totally rocks and I respect them to the bone but they go into uncharted territory with content as does The House of Shock - We as an industry love our bad boys but they scare us when the cameras are on... Remember Sheldon? Is this the topic?

Are we afraid of extreme content on the show floor (ala extreme haunt actors) getting on TV?

I think some normal looking guy who thinks he knows it all may be even more dangerous, on TV, maybe some random board member of an orgainization who thinks he know the answers for example....

3) Show Floor Time

All this talk about Socializing - I think the issue here is that vendors don't like Seminars, make-up wars, and haunters pavillions taking eyes away from the show floor. THAT is the issue. Who cares if there is a party at night...bring it on!

The issue really is about distraction from face time with customers.

HOWEVER if these seminars, make-up wars etc GET people to the show... can the vendor complain?

This is what I have heard from vendors and others ...I think these are the REAL issues deconstructed.

MY opinion?

As a buyer they don't effect me. What do the vendors think..thats what matters.

As a Haunt owner on the PR side I want everyone in this country to know that Haunts are Scary, Haunts are Safe, Haunts are Fun, and Haunts ROCK!

If they spin negatives at you, spin it back - we are healthy, we are not afraid of the economy, we are going to make you scream!

Do not show the media negatives, do not show them weakness, do not give them controversy. Make them go WOW that its amazing!

When any of you get on TV forget the fun of chaos and put people in the seats..thats what I say!

And if you are nasty I love you but don't show the cameraman your dirty diaper.

Maybe that is what is being said here? Have power, be professional be scary and

get them on your side, not looking to take you out.


06-29-2008, 10:32 PM
I think some normal looking guy who thinks he knows it all may be even more dangerous

Gawd bless him... Sometimes I miss ol' spooky Dave. Haha... Not really.

Thank you, Ben. The voice of reason, as always. I love you, man... In a totally hetero way. Totally.

06-30-2008, 03:41 AM

Search for any article about professionalism... the way you dress is a MAJOR factor! Body type, hell no... but, professionalism and dress basically are one in the same. Also, other things like... language, posture, body language, and knowledge all fall under professionalism. Just sayin'. -Tyler

06-30-2008, 03:45 AM
Allan, I think I can paraphrase all of your comments for you, if I may: There is a time and a place for everything.

As a vendor, if I spend $10,000+ (a small figure for many of them I'm sure) for a booth, transportation, setup and employees at a show, I really don't want to spend my limited time available chit-chatting with someone who isn't going to buy if there are other potential customers standing in line. That may sound snobby but put yourself in the same position. Say you figure you can talk to five people an hour in detail. If those five are actors and a couple of buyers walked on by because they saw the other four people in line, you just lost money. Yes, those actors may be haunters in a few years or they may be able to plant a bug in the ear of their boss. But there are only so many hours in a day, and you can only talk to so many people so you have to make your time count.

Is a suit the right dress for a haunt show? Maybe not. But at the same time, how many haunt owners/prop buyers have the time anymore to dress up in costume in their own haunts? Most are so busy with the business and operations aspects that personally scaring people is a distant memory. And if they feel the need to be able to dress up a few times a year, there are better times and places to do it than when they are going to do business.

Yes, a bunch of outrageous characters draws the media cameras in. But I think it's a disservice to everyone involved to imply that this is the way the owners of million-dollar haunts regularly behave. I would have said we are near the end of the time when those in charge think crazy behavior is the norm and something you strive for. But then that guy from Scarefactory made the bunch of drunks comment and they got a TV show, so I guess we aren't there yet.

I won't have time to do my haunt this year but do have some time to work on a couple of product ideas that I have so I may very well be a vendor at some of these shows next year. So I think I have a right to an opinion on the matter. There are many, many aspects of the haunt industry, and a big problem I see on these threads is that people are comparing those different aspects with one another just a post apart and getting mad because they are confused about what they're actually referring to. Yes, costumes are a huge part of the industry. But maybe the show floor isn't the best place for them. The seminars, the street, the bar, the informal get-togethers that night, the classes, yes. But like I said when I started, there is a time and a place for everything. And just because we are in the business of scaring people, it doesn't mean that we should be in make-up 24/7.

06-30-2008, 03:58 AM
Amen!!! -Tyler

06-30-2008, 05:30 AM
Actiondeath, no I did not google it but apparently you did, and copied word for word. Secondly, did I not advise you to step away from taking this to a personal level? I never once said that some of these "drunken fools" as you call them do not run successful businesses more than my own that I don't doubt. I do plenty of networking, but I find it more suitable to network to sober people less intent on partying, that's just me. But don't make it out like I'm coming off as "holier than thou" because that is not the case and there are MANY others who think the way but would not say it, this I know.

Tyler, you are exactly right, that's one of the points I was trying to make all of those factors come into account for professionalism.

Shawnc, very well said and that in large part is what I was saying, Thanks!


06-30-2008, 05:41 AM
ShawnC is correct. It is all about time. The vast majority of the vendors do not care about actors being at a show as long as they do not waste their time. I would think that seeing someone in costume would make it easier to "pre-qualify" a person as a non-buyer but sometimes those in costume get into their character too much and disrupt sales.

It is my belief that the answer is not to restrict tradeshow access. There is something to be said about excitement and ambiance creating an atmosphere that drives sales. I like it that MHC has become the show for haunt owners to bring their support staff to and many haunt owners instruct their people on the rules of the the show floor however some do not.

Everyone needs to be mindful of what the vendors are there to do and that is to move product. For many of them this is their sole source of income. The hours they put in on a show floor are like a work day and they have to make it as productive as possible. For those few days that floor is their workplace and everyone should respect that.

06-30-2008, 06:18 AM
Look its simple! Has Transworld ever thought about giving the Haunt owner or manager a different colored badge? It seems the thoughts is that the vendors are not reading. My badge has always stated I am owner/ceo and I can see where it would be hard to read everything. So lets say the owners have a oh blue or red badge and everyone else the black ones? Vendors your thoughts please? Ben mentioned extreme content ummmmmm how much more extream can you get with dead mutliated bodies? And I am sorry but weither you have a guy in a suit and tie or in full make up if a TV crew comes in and in the back ground you see all this morbid props and pieces its gonna offend some people point blank! Hell no one knows there is no bigger animal lover or owner than me in this industrey but hell we all should be glad PETA is not on our ass for all the mutliated animal props that are out there! Lastly can the vendors not post a sign that states " We are sorry but due to the rising cost of prenting and our products we prefer to talk and give out information to the Haunt Owners or Managers only. We are sorry for any inconvenience but the rising cost to show and the print cost we are forced to enforce this policy. I think most would respect this. Its really simple. Shane

Patti Ludwinski
06-30-2008, 07:57 AM
I encourage anyone who misunderstood my viewpoint to reread my earlier post, i.e. Barry and any others out there. I wish I could post an example of what I was trying to say.

Does anyone have a picture of the topless zombie girl at MHC and a picture of Ben Armstrong as Dr. Speculo afterhours of TW? I would love to show those 2 pics side by side to show the difference between over-the-top outrageousness and educational costuming/theatrics.

Shane you are the one who does the most attacking, yet when called to the carpet you act as though it's "just a difference of opinions". If that were true, then stop attacking those opposing opinions like you do.

06-30-2008, 08:02 AM
As long as you are trying to clarify your position you should also separate out the Zombie Walk from MHC. Two separate events that happened to occur on the same weekend that were cross promoted.

Patti Ludwinski
06-30-2008, 08:12 AM
Barry, You are correct. I should have clarified. I was merely trying to make a point through comparison of what is educational costuming versus over-the-top outrageousness, and YES there are over-the-top costuming seen on show floors, not specifically MHC but all of them, including TW.

06-30-2008, 08:20 AM
. Black T shirts, mohawks, piercings all over the place, multi colored died hair styles, and the obvious inablilty to dress for their body type is what can easily be seen at Transworld. There is a large sect of haunters who fall into this class, but there are just as many who do not but they are not what people think of when they think of haunters, it was the aforementioned.

You mention the social activities are great for social networking, and I for the most part beg to differ. Half are actors or staff, who do not fully understand the business challenge running a successful haunt themselves. Also, it's going to be slightly more difficult to carry a real, professional business conversation with someone who is drinking alcohol by the gallon while enveloped in face paint and costuming.

did you ever stop to think that some actors and staff are also consumers and buyers of our products. some are not i admit, but that is part of our job as venders, weeding out the buyers from the looky loo's. yeah it is nice to have the owner of the haunt come over and buy a ton of product at once, but it is also nice to know that we have a steady following of actors who like our stuff enough to continue coming back year after year to get of our stuff.

i think it was mentioned earlier that just because you are drinking, it doesnt mean you are drunk...or even planning on gettin drunk...i think it is called drinking responsibly...and believe it or not, some adults can actually do this...and again it is totally plausable and possible to get gigs and talk business while in costume, or makeup...i got my gig to go to TOTF because the producers of the show (the bad boys) saw me in costume..actually many of the haunts i have gone to was possible because they saw me in costume working the crowd and doin what i do...

being professional can be totally exclusive from suits and ties...we are a different industry...we are extraordinary people, who come from all walks of life...in a way the haunt industry is the island of misfit toys, all the people who have been ostracised and cast out from the mainstream have come to find a home here...we arent too good for anyone, and we dont judge nearly as much as the mainstream...i will defend that till the end...we are not your average retail sales force...we all know each other for the most part, or atleast know OF each other...and we are professional...but we also have that side of us that likes to let loose and we are in an industry where we can do so...might i say it is even encouraged at times...

i know some of us were attracted to this industry because it is fun...yeah we like making money, but we do what we do because we love it...how many of us work a 'regular' job all day...i would think most of us do...this is our release, our chance to let loose and be ourselve...do we need to take the fun out of it...sure we have to promote a better media image...how do we do that? do you think that when the news van rolls into a haunt the owner throws a first year rookie out there to interview...heck no...he puts the person he/she knows will present a good image...but the camera still catches all the actors in the background...and i am not sure of your dealing with the media...they are gonna show whatever they want to show...they want a good story...and they will edit it to make it more interesting...

i respect your point of view...i dont agree with it totally, and that is ok by me...have a great day

maddi poole

Patti Ludwinski
06-30-2008, 08:40 AM
Well said, Maddi! Why can't we all post so professionally on here? You speak your views and you respect the opposing view, nothing negative about it. Now that's the way these threads should be.

06-30-2008, 11:46 AM
Here is my 2 cent from the peanut gallery. There are really only two issues that could be a problem if MHC was to become the official industry tradeshow( I’m not sure Barry, Kelly, Neena, and Kathy actually want that or not)
The two issues are time of year it is held, and if it can attract a variety of vendors and buyers needed for that type show. This whole argument of not being able to do business with the distractions of costumed actors, UN-costumed actors, and various social activities is a load of horse hockey! Those things do not offer a real distraction to doing business. I have been to Transworld several times, and to various other shows from the very small local gatherings to MHC. If there is any distraction on show room floors that curtail the ability to do business it is the sound of 20 air cannons going off at once in chorus with dozens of other gizmos and gadgets firing off. You can’t get rid of those things, now can you? A haunt industry trade show is going to be a haunt industry trade show, and distraction is the nature of the beast. If you remove all the distractions then we all might as well stay home and order off line. And, have you ever seen those stock market trading pits? That seems like complete chaos, yet some how business occurs.
As for unqualified buyers being a problem that could be solved very easily with a badge system. If you qualify as a buyer, you get a badge then the vendors can decide how much time they spend with qualified buyers and none qualified buyers. It seems pretty simple to me.
There are other factors that would have to be addressed if MHC would become the industry trade show, but the distraction argument is weak. That was just tossed out there to make everyone think that MHC would have to become boring to be the industry tradeshow. That is just a retarded argument in my humble opinion.
I’ll say this again; where we go is up to the vendors. Transworld is never going to be the same. This Huston show has dealt them a blow, and they are scrambling to recover. Do vendors want to continue to bleed money to do business at a weaker Transworld show, or do they want move on. Time will tell.

06-30-2008, 02:21 PM
I've been reading for a while and usually steer clear of the drama...but figured I'd chime in with my 'rookie' take on things...
MHC 2008 was my first convention...
Last year was my first time doing 'my own' haunt after years of acting in one...
I loved it! My business partner and I went so we could see 'first hand' some of the products live rather than on a webpage. We had a very small budget and were pleased with the few cash and carry items we bought (by the way Virgil-your CD's rock!)
I got to meet and chat with a few people from the board and that was cool...but if I wasn't 'buying' at that moment I made sure to pay attention whether the vendor was busy or not or the aisle was bustling with people, to which I'd move and let a possible customer shop. Common sense in my eyes.
Also, we didn't take a catalog or what not if we didn't really like or think we'd ever consider the product...but we found that many vendors handed them out like crazy and every time we'd pass by they'd try handing another one...sometimes I'd say I got one and they'd force it to me anyways...
And the drinking/partying...that's fine and dandy if you can handle it...but we were looking into banners/T-shirts/web design/posters and the like and one company we saw and talked to, well the guy was hungover bad and told us his tactic is to 'stall us' until someone who knows the 'pitch' can talk to us...but he handed us a catalog and said he's not feeling up to doing that...wow...
All in all MHC was awesome! I do feel that our industry is different from the hoity toity business suit and tie stuff...there is a time and place...as in when the situation calls for it...but to be required...yuck...
Did I go to MHC?...yes!
Did the actors bug me?...nope!
Did I talk to people?...yes!
Did I buy stuff?...yes!
Did I have a great time and LEARN?...YES!
Will I be back with even more money to spend next year?...YOU BET!

Just my .02!


06-30-2008, 05:06 PM
I would not call it attack. But I sure do post my opposing opinion. Patti is it just me or do you have a death wish aginst me? Don't get me wrong I can hang with the best of them. Yet I don't know how to treat you after all your a woman and I do respect and love all women. Would you mind telling Larry and let Larry tell me. That way I will feel were on equal ground. Even though your trying to kill me. This is not a fair playing field. Again Patti all I can do is show you respect. Larry on the other hand I can deal with man to man. Shane