View Full Version : Which 2009 trade show to attend?

11-23-2008, 01:53 AM
With Transworld's Vegas show, Haunt show in St. Louis and The Texas Halloween expo will there be enough at any one show to warrent a three day visit? An exclusive haunt show seems a tough sell without many of the vendors found on the retail side of the old show. Without amscan's scene setters or Ghoulsih prods. masks we would be in bad shape.

11-23-2008, 03:20 AM
The St. Louis show will be THE show for the haunt industry. The Houston show will be strictly retail and the Vegas show will have little to no haunt presence either. Look at the floor plan for the Vegas show...there isn't ONE vendor signed up for the haunt section yet. Some people will still wish that the shows were together...but it was time for a change. Plus...were any haunts actually buying from the retailers? I didn't know that any of them would sell one or two of something to a haunt that wanted them at the wholesale price.

At any rate...if you want to see all the new products that are going to be available to haunted attractions in 2009 you need to be at the St. Louis show. All the major vendors are already committed and everyone else is slowly trickling in. It is going to be a great show and for the first time it is actually OUR show. This is a big step forward for the entire industry. I can't wait to see everyone here in 2009.

Haunted Illinois
11-23-2008, 08:39 AM
There are definitely going to be some choices to make, if you live in the Chicagoland area. There will be three conventions, all within driving distance:

Transworld (St Louis, MO) … March 27-29
HauntCon (Milwaukee, WI) … April 30-May 4
MHC (Columbus, OH) … June 5-7

Jim Warfield
11-23-2008, 09:13 AM
Mister Tuxedo's Cat-Claw Tatoo Convention @ The Ravens Grin Inn
Downtown Mount Carroll, Ill.
We have litter boxes all scopped out and numerous ferrel cats registered to ply their special trade.
Actually there is no set specific date, it's an all-year long convention which is very draining upon the showgirl cats in each booth next to the master cat-tatoo artists.
Don't ever imagine that non-stop purring and smiling doesn't take energy.

11-23-2008, 10:49 AM
MHC and HauntCon ARE choices that you have...but you're not going to find Scare Factory, for instance, at either of them. If you want to see the major vendors showing off all their new animatronics and other props and equipment you can ONLY see it all in St. Louis. If you aren't interested in any of that then you can look into the other shows as well.

11-23-2008, 03:59 PM
but you're not going to find Scare Factory, for instance, at either of them.LOL No, you did not find Scarefactory at MHC '-08 but David did open up his new facility for us exclusively.

What does 2009 hold for MHC? Stay tuned.... ;)

Frighteners Entertainment
11-23-2008, 04:05 PM
I am eager to know and will be there vending again for the 3rd year.
LOL No, you did not find Scarefactory at MHC '-08 but David did open up his new facility for us exclusively.

What does 2009 hold for MHC? Stay tuned.... ;)

Haunted Illinois
11-23-2008, 04:37 PM

Don’t discount those other conventions, please. They play a valuable part in the Haunted Attraction Industry and they all have value. They are all different and benefit the Haunt Industry in different ways, so just because they aren't labelled by YOU as "#1", that doesn’t mean that they aren’t beneficial.

Of the three events I listed, MHC had the most Haunt Vendors last year. In 2007, Transworld had ~70 in the Haunt Section, HauntCon had ~35 and the Midwest Haunters Convention had more than 80. Before you jump down my throat, yes, I understand that some of those at Transworld were “crossover vendors”, who were in the Halloween section.

While Transworld has traditionally been the end-all, be-all of Haunted Attraction conventions, this year they will have to deal with some serious issues. In 2009, they will be without the “Halloween Section”, which will be a crippling blow. To claim that TW will be “THE show for the haunt industry” is quite presumptuous. We’ll just have to wait and see how this year turns out, before anyone can claim that. It’s a little early to declare a winner when the title fight hasn’t been fought yet. LOL.

I also understand that most people who are posting on this board (who may very well be in Larry’s back pocket. LOL) will not only be promoting Transworld, but belittling all other “competing conventions”, as well.
The thing we need to realize is that all of these events are different. Transworld is known as the event that pulls all the high-end vendors (even though this year they won’t have many of them, due to the removal of the Halloween Section), HauntCon has become famous for its great Haunt Tours and the Midwest Haunters Convention is the event that has the largest growth rate in recent years, as well as its legendary ever-growing Haunt Social.

So, if you only care about seeing the Scarefactory, check out Transworld. If you want to experience awesome Haunt Tours and take advantage of outstanding social networking opportunities, by all means please check out the other events.

Last I checked the HauntShow.com website (one minute ago. LOL), looking at the show floor diagram, there were only 34 vendors. That’s a far cry from the 80+ that were at last year’s MHC. Per the latest screen shot….


Being late November, along with the fact that this show is supposed to be the “end-all, be-all” of Haunt Shows, you would think that more vendors would have committed and reserved their booths at TW by now. Just my two cents…

11-23-2008, 05:45 PM
As posted above this is what is giving me pause about going to the HauntShow and why I have yet to go to a hauntcon. I have not missed the previous Transworld events for the past 19 years and for the first time I have my doubts as to whether ALL the usual resource will be at our finger tips this time around. We may not buy items from the retail side on a regular basis but the research it provides is priceless. Masks, Costuming...even webcaster guns. Also as a new location we now have the problem of the lack of a central social gathering place. Just like Vegas. Also I have not seen any indication of other after hour events comprable to the Chicago "Fashion Show". The Vegas version was a disaster. Do you think this show be big enough for the usual min. 3 day visit or peter out after a day and a half? Just curious.

11-23-2008, 06:02 PM
Adam just gave a VERY good summary af all the events. Having been to all three myself, I agree with Adam and would like to add to it. TW USED to be the big show and the reason I say USED to be is cause they had the costume side of the convention so many more people would trickle through the haunt side even if they had no intention of buying LOL< that is how I got in the haunt industry cause I used to go just to buy costumes and ended up falling in love with the haunt industry. I never went to any of the haunt classes at TW. Too expensive for my blood. The only thing TW had was a good number of vendors, early in the season, good networking cause of the shere numbers going, and a great place to hang out at night, and a great haunt to visit to get our fix in the off season. Now everything is up in the air and we will have to see if they can stay top dog.

Personally, I like Hauntcon cause they go to a different city every year and you get a chance to visit some great haunts and good seminars and a nice party. (Make sure to mark it down this year cause they are coming to Wisconsin, and we have some great haunts in my state!!)

My personal favorite out of all of em?? Midwest haunters convention. I was actually looking at the footage I filmed of MWHC in 2008 and they really did have a large number of vendors, great seminars at a reasonable cost, many tours to go to and a great party. And the whole thing is VERY reasonably priced. If I had to pick one convention to go to, MWHC would be #1, Hauntcon #2 and TW #3. The only knock against MWHC is the fact that it takes place in JUNE which to me is way too late to place an order for the season.

Jim Warfield
11-23-2008, 06:34 PM
That trade show floor map Adam posted...that one little guy in that one aisle is me...they caught me peeing on Larry's curtain around his booth!
Oh, wait, this hasn't happened yet, I'm seeing into the future!
There I am, standing around the corner from Adam, he distracts Larry, while I pee.
I guess this means that I have to go to Transworld, since I'm seeing into the future of peeing.
But I just can't hold it that long!
Or can I?

11-23-2008, 06:36 PM
I think Transworld's shows have proven over and over again that the buyers only show up for this show in full force. I don't know many if any haunt owners who are not coming to St. Louis and that is a fact.

Hauntcon has proven itself to be more of a hang out type show not a show to bring a checkbook. Several vendors have backed out on showing at this show last year and I would assume even more will back out again. Tradeshows cost money, from the space, to hotels, travel, food, and most importantly YOUR TIME.

More and more people are learning going to endless tradeshows doesn't pay... no one is saying a Hauntcon isn't fun or whatever but its not a buyer seller show like Transworld.

To answer the question however I would say go to all of them if you can afford to both money and time wise, but to really answer the question it depends on who you are and what you are trying to accomplish.

I personally think Hauntcon in specific will be way down this year because he's going to Wisconsin. There was already a VERY successful tour of those attractions just 18 months ago and to be honest I think picking that city will help MHC. For those who can't go to all three but maybe two of them I think they'll end up at MHC because they'll say 'I already went to Wisconsin two TW's ago'.

I know MHC has a new city the plan on touring and that is good news for them a new terroritory, unlike Hauntcon which is going back to a city which has already been toured.

Hauntcon type shows depend on the haunts which they tour for visitors, where Transworld does not as it depends on buyers and sellers bringing checkbooks.

For years their event was in the same city 'Chicago' with the same haunts being toured year after year but to the buyer and seller it didn't matter because it was a primary buyer seller show.

There is NO DOUBT ABOUT IT... Transworld St. Louis will be the MAIN buyer seller show and you can bet your butt that all the vendors and buyers will be here that is for sure. You should be asking yourself...

What other show should I attend outside of Transworld St. Louis...Hauntcon, MHC, TW Vegas or Houston.

And to Adam... I can tell you this the St. Louis show will sell out I know this for a fact... TW was in Orlando with a full blown team of sales people, they also had myself hitting up all sorts of vendors, and on top of all that they had like 4 or 5 big haunters all pushing vendors to show.

I know out of the 50 or so vendors I talked to almost all said 'WE ARE COMING'.

I'm talking about vendors YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN EVER BEFORE...


Food vendors!

Foliage vendors!

Theming vendors!

Insurance companies!

Ticketing companies!

People who sell animation parts, computer programs, wrapping companies, you name it and they are all coming.

Haunt vendors have not signed up in force for St. Louis show yet, because no one has pushed them to yet because of the Haunt season...now TW is after them. My only advice to all haunt vendors is to buy now because it will sell out I know it for a fact.

Not only will it sell out but they might have to add more space, they are talking about booking the ballrooms with booths as well.

MANY of the Halloween vendors will also be taking booths from Morris to a Cinema Secrets and many many more.

Its going to sell out you'll see!

I personally am considering taking a trip out to Houston only because I'm thinking about opening a major retail store inside the Darkness and I'll be looking for some of that retail stuff.

But make not mistake St. Louis will be the main show for the haunt industry.


11-23-2008, 06:50 PM

Forgive me if I am wrong but youve never been to an "MWHC" or MHC however you wanna put it so you dont know what goes on, therefore, giving people advice based on what youve heard or you wanna make up....pushing them away from shows like that and into your show is not right. Now lets say all the vendors you say are coming but do we really need all of them....Why would haunts need a Food Vender? Most set up a stand where they can make more money then having someone come in and do it and take the money....Just a thought

11-23-2008, 06:52 PM

I'm not belittling anything. I really like MHC. I showed there once and do plan to again...hopefully this year actually. The problem here is in definition. The St. Louis show is the only show that has all the major vendors showing off the hot new products they have to offer. Nothing about that changes since the split because the retail side ISN'T the haunt side. When we say "major vendors" we don't mean rubies and disguise...we mean scarefactory, oak island, distortions, etc. Haunters need haunt merchandise...not sexy sotumes from hustler and light-up pumpkin flashlights.

That being said...again...nothing against MHC or Hauntcon. Of course they're great shows and of course they play an important role but you said yourself they're different and that's an important distinction. Of course you have a choice of which to go to. The problem is that you are acting as though it't the choice between Pepsi, Coke, or RC when in fact thedifferences are quite substantial. You try to talk about the number of vendors like that's a really applicable number when again that's funny math. MHC has a lot of vendors this is true, but there are very few animatronic vendors there, as a for instance.

The St. Louis show is an attempt to bring haunt owners everything they need and nothing they don't. TW and several of us vendors are working hard to bring in new vendors who sell different products that could really benefit haunts.

The thing is, I don't see the shows as competition. I think they all complement each other and each is too different to be compared to another. Too many people here are desperate to discount the TW show and try to crash it before it even takes off. What we should be doing is getting behind it as an industry and embracing the wonderful oppurtunity we have here. I think that the same thing is true about the other shows as well. The problem is, if somebody says something that is even PERCIEVED to be negative about MHC or Huantcon around here (case and point this thread) people jump to their defense. On the other hand, if something positive about TW is said people jump to discredit it.

Lastly...I'm so very tired of hearing about how the TW show floor isn't full yet. Who cares? It's November. In years past they haven't even had the site up until a month or 2 before the show started and even then the vendors all trickled in at the very last second. It's what happens every year. Let it happen as it happens.

I hope that all the shows that take place next year go well. I really do. I just know that all of the big vendors rely on TW as the big order writing show for the industry and if it flops like some people seem to want then you might just see some of the vendors that support this industry fall away. We all make a big investment in TW and it's upsetting to see people bad mouth the show when it hasn't even happened yet. Give it a chance. I think you'll be happy you did.

11-23-2008, 08:34 PM

I think he's talking about food suppliers... not a company that would come in and take the money! -Tyler

11-23-2008, 08:44 PM
Still Tyler food suppliers like GFS and Sysco wont benefit haunters most go to sams clubs...but we will see on that...and Follage im assuming he doesnt mean Florist but instead someone that will provide other things like Ivy and stuff...but lets say they do most haunts wont bite because the fact that they might not be treated like they should be for fire and what not. Dont get me wrong i plan on attending but I dont want alot of vendors there that dont belong

11-23-2008, 10:41 PM

Couple things... first off I'm talking about people who sell supplies you can use to make money, a better food stand, like nacho machines, or things you can sell inside your stands. If you go to ANY and I mean ANY amusement convention from a bowling show, to an amusement show you will find whole entire sections with the stuff. Yes haunters need these suppliers at the show.

Secondly, I don't think I mentioned MHC, however let me tell you this. I talk to vendors, and vendors tell me if they made money, lost money, which show they made the most money at and so on and so forth.

I think I know what I know based on what I've been told even though I didn't mention MHC. I think there isn't a doubt in anyones minds that shows like Hauntcon are a lot of fun, but the best place to see the newest products is at Transworld and that has been the case as long as I can remember.

Again and I think I already said this but it really depends on WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR... are you a professional haunted house person looking for the best new products, or are you looking for a fun time, or touring as many haunts as possible, hearse rallies, contests, or whatever.

I'm simply saying there is ONLY one show that is can't miss and that is Transworld. I also know that vendors can't afford to wait to take orders in the summer or late spring. Vendors want the show sooner not later, so another score in TW's corner.

I'm not downing any of these shows, but I know that many vendors do not vend at many of these shows because they are not specifically buyer seller shows.

Each person has a different list of what they need... I think MHC is great, they have vendors, they have tours, they have seminars, they offer a great deal of things. As I said visit them all.


11-23-2008, 10:44 PM
To touch on what Kip said... the show floor isn't sold out yet because TW just started selling the booths and I know this for a fact. But NOW they are on it like white on rice, and if IAAPA is any indication this show will be sold out and loaded up with amusement vendors of all different kinds.

Everyone will be very excited about the vendors. I PERSONALLY WALKED THE ENTIRE SHOW TALKING TO EVERY VENDOR I FELT WOULD BE A GOOD FIT FOR THIS SHOW and taked to each one of these vendors personally.

I spent TWO DAYS doing this to MAKE SURE ALL HAUNT OWNERS had everything at their feet to help their business.

I know and understand why a great deal of haunters can't make IAAPA so I wanted to make sure we could bring those vendors TO YOU!

You'll see...


11-24-2008, 01:51 PM
Larry, What you are touching on is the very reason I started this thread in the first place. I have always supported and attended the Transwold events and I just want this show to reach the same quality. Without the retail side available for research and inspiration there will be a "hole" in the TW "Haunt" program for this year. But if TW is aware of this and makes every effort to bring in more or new vendors to take up the slack, therefore creating a new and bigger version of the "Haunt" area of the old show then everybody benefits. What concerns me is that the TW haunt show may turn out to be just the same as the old Chicago "Haunt" show area. From what you are saying everyone involved with the St.Louis show is trying to create a new, bigger and improved show from what we have seen in the past. Having new vendors and appropriate retailers is certainly a good thing. Any chance of Scair Structures showing up?

11-24-2008, 02:07 PM
SOME of the retail vendors will be showing in St. Louis, but how many are really that important to a haunted house business? Cinema Secrets comes to mind with all their make up stuff, some other companies in that same vein, maybe a Morbid Industries, Don Post possibly, some high end costume companies but thats it...

There just isn't as much cross over as most would expect.

I personally don't want to see vendors take booths and not make money, that is a waste of time. I only want to see vendors at this show that will in fact find buyers for their products.

Again I'm all in favor of Hauntcons, MHC's and all the rest they are great for the industry and seems like MHC has really been the more successful of the two but they are not a primary buyer seller show as much as this one coming up in St. Louis. I don't doubt for a second the St. Louis show might not be the most fun of all the other shows out there, but I don't think its the primary objective either.

I would love to attend MHC and I hope I can this year...we'll see.


11-24-2008, 06:20 PM
When I was at IAAPA, I visited the Transworld booth, or more correctly was flagged down by them. Once identifying that I was a haunt owner, they asked if I was coming to St. Louis, to which I answered, yes. (Going with Larry here, I haven't heard a single haunt owner who isn't going) After that question they asked how I felt about the haunt show moving to St. Louis, to which I answered I was fine with it but added that there were products that we found in the costume section which were helpful to our business, and I'm sure their vendors appreciate the sales. Here's where I get confused, the man told me, well there's going to be a haunt pavillion at the Vegas show, so you can go there if you'd like.

Allright, I was under the impression that the haunt show was completely breaking away and separating from the costume and party show. I do understand that some vendors have sold to both sides of the show in the past, and likely may exhibit at both shows. However, why would there need to be a haunt pavillion at the Vegas show, if the shows are truly separating? Why wouldn't the "haunt" vendors just buy space on the show floor if they feel they have products viable to the retail side. In fact, I noticed several vendors that started on the "haunt" side, and only exhibited on the retail show floor in Vegas.

So now that I'm home, I checked their site, to make sure I heard things properly and yes there is a haunt pavillion labeled on their floorplan, it shows approximately 54 booths of varying size, not sure but in overall size it seems comparable to the haunt section at the show in the past. See here:


Regardless, I'll attend the St. Louis show, as well as the other shows, as I've said on these boards before, if I come away with one good product or idea, then it's worth it. But I have to admit, I'm getting sick of more and more shows, and if the St. Louis show is supposed to be "the" show, then I'm still confused as to why Transworld is bothering with a haunt pavillion in Vegas.

You know, it kinda goes back to what Larry and some others have said on here in the past, this industry needs it's own show, I was under the impression that Transworld was helping make this happen, but now it seems more likely that they are just trying to make everyone happy (which I'm not criticizing them for, afterall, it's their business) and ultimately it's still not "our" show, or "the" show whatever you want to call it, and probably won't be until a third pary isn't in control of the show.

Afterthought - But hey, I attended the Transworld show in both Chicago and Vegas in the same year, years ago when they had the Chicago show and the smaller show in Vegas. Basically because it was a good excuse to go to Vegas, so maybe I'll check out the Vegas show as well, because well, it's Vegas!!

11-24-2008, 07:03 PM
Excellent question / comment. Here's the deal on Vegas:

When TW was planning 2009 both shows were supposed to be back in Chicago together. Without going into all the details...plans changed and they decided to head back to Vegas. They spent the money and the ball was rolling. At the same time we were all brewing the idea of the split and finally got TW on board with it. The haunt show IS in St. Louis. The only reason they are having a "haunt" section in Vegas at all is because they already paid for the space and they don't want it to go to waste. Take a closer look at the haunt section in Vegas and you will see that not ONE booth has been sold yet. That should tell you something. All the haunt vendors are on board with St. Louis and will be exhibiting there. That's not to say that a few might do both shows...but EVERYONE is going to be doing St. Louis. It's the show to go to. Vegas will be a ghost town...and not in a good way.

Jim Warfield
11-24-2008, 07:14 PM
I was always told the Vegas-Transworld show , held the same year as the Rosemont Transworld was always a very weak, meager show compared to the Rosemont one, which I always wondered, why did they bother?
Of course I'm stuck here and I was never at any Vegas haunt shows so I'm just taking other's input on this, I could be totally wrong? (But it came from the lips of a very popular, successful vendor.)

11-24-2008, 07:24 PM

Makes sense, but not totally. I understand that they committed to the space, and I'm not in the trade show business, but I assume that it's probably not dictated in their contract that space "x" must be used as a haunt pavillion. So if they have really separated the shows, get rid of it, add more booths to the retail section and sell em.

I have a theory here though. Some of the large retail vendors, as it's been no secret, have not been thrilled with the haunters attending the show. However, I personally believe that some of the smaller retail vendors are happy to have the extra business, and I do believe that the haunt section is somewhat of a draw for some of the retail buyers (let's face it, we're more fun :), I've posted my theory on this before) Although there's been plenty of discussion about the shows on the haunters side, some of the retail vendors, who just assume there's a haunt section, and are happy to see it there, may be a bit surprised to learn about this change. So if I'm Transworld maybe it's better to keep the haunt pavillion on the floorplan, maybe keep things on the down low, leave options open for the future. This would also partially explain the Transworld rep telling me I could go to the Vegas show, maybe no one will notice, can you say "have your cake and eat it too"

As far as not having any booths sold, could be the case, but using your own argument, and Transworlds past track record of updating their site. I'd venture to say that the same situation with the haunt show floorplan, could be happening here as well. I guess we'll just have to wait and see (if anyone is really that interested).

I really do believe that the St. Louis show for lack of a better description, will be "the" show to attend this year, but as I said, still a bit away from being "the" show. I'm looking forward to St. Louis, and I do hope it's a success for everyone involved.


11-24-2008, 07:26 PM

You're absolutely right, it was horrible, not even as good as a red headed stepchild of the Chicago show (no offense to some :) ).

It was just in Vegas, so we went, maybe found something occasionally between wasting our money in the casinos.

But it was nothing, however, it was much better than the banking convention I attended in Vegas, that was almost not a good excuse to go to Vegas!


11-25-2008, 12:16 AM
This all brings up another interesting possibility.... Is it possible, now that Rubies is not calling the shots anymore, that TW will relocate the Halloween show back east and combine it with the Haunt show in 2010?

Greg Chrise
11-25-2008, 12:22 AM
1 a : one that retires from society and lives in solitude especially for religious reasons : RECLUSE (javascript:lookWord('recluse');)</I></I>b obsolete : BEADSMAN (javascript:lookWord('beadsman');)</I></I>
2 : a spiced molasses cookie</I>

Hermit Crab
Main Entry: hermit crab
: any of numerous chiefly marine decapod crustaceans (especially families Diogenidae, Paguridae, and Parapaguridae) having soft asymmetrical abdomens and occupying the empty shells of gastropods

Herman's Hermits
</I>Herman's Hermits were one of those odd 1960's groups that accumulated millions of fans, but precious little respect.

Heir Mit
German for Mister Mit.

Greg Chrise
11-25-2008, 12:29 AM
I'm gonna die my head red so I can be a red headed porch child. It's too easy to get kicked off the steps.

Then I'm only one screen door away from being in the "In Crowd"

11-25-2008, 12:16 PM
Couple of things...

If this is any indication I just found out today that Brainstorm Studios will be buying a booth at Transworld and exhibiting. How long has it been since these guys came to the show? I think this is a good omen!

Also TW launched a new page on their site... check it out.


11-25-2008, 12:18 PM
Transworld also announced a new evite program... check this out.

We also want to provide you with a link to our E-VITE program.
Go to www.twevite.com (http://www.twevite.com/)

11-25-2008, 04:18 PM
Being new in this industry, bring up to speed a little because I am confused by all this.

Larry, are you working for Transworld. You say "we" alot. Do you have a stake in TW.

Who runs the other 2 conventions and do they post here?

If the goal of this site is to promote the industry as a whole, why is there such a push to get everyone to TW and to treat the other's as second class?

Now, which one should I go to. I am 2 years into this, charity haunt, I have maybe $2000 to invest in props and animitronics. I need advice more than anything, good seminars, tours, etc. Vendors selling $15,000 animitronics does me no good. So which event is going to work best for me. I live in N. Indiana, so I'm smack dab in the middle of all three.

11-25-2008, 04:27 PM
I am one of the owners/producers of the Midwest Haunters Convention. I would be glad to answer any questions you have either online or offline.

11-25-2008, 04:57 PM
I do have to say......I only been to one con. so far as previous plans feel trough, but did have the chance to attend Midwest.
Once there and prior to going I had some questions and asked Barry form MHC and he was more than more than helpful. For someone that organizes a show and has the time to take to answer little questions as well.....Hats off to ya Barry. Hope to see ya guys next year.

Plan on seeing everyone at all these shows this year. TW MHC and hauntcon.

11-25-2008, 04:59 PM
When the 'WE' thing was posted that was a copy and paste from an email from Transworld. So the 'WE' is FROM TRANSWORLD not me.

I'm just pasting what was in my email box. I never say 'WE' when referring to Transworld. When I do say 'WE' I mean US as an industry. Aren't WE all in this together?

WE want to make OUR industry better don't WE??? Who is with ME on this?



11-25-2008, 09:20 PM
OK Larry, sorry about the WE thing, but can you add some answers or insight into my questions?

11-25-2008, 10:25 PM
Brainstorm?!.....Feels like 10 years since they last showed up........... That is a good sign. Can anybody twist the arms of some of the other veteran vendors like EX-Mortis?????

11-25-2008, 10:48 PM
Boni, "I AM" with a charity haunt also having been to TW years a go planning on going this year. Went to MW last year. With that in mind either should do for your situation or even our larger budget.

TW is big with everything included as I remember. "We" at that time probably
got caught up to much in large expensive items. More like day dreaming at the time! It is all there just keep a perspective and on task.

The seminars at MW really helped us this year. There were number of interesting
budget ideas that in end gave us what was needed most, multiple scares. There
were some of the leading industry companies there too.

"We" have already made most of decisions in regards to props and smaller items
all ready. Our goal is to add perhaps one new medium priced item a long with
the idea for that scene. If the price isn't there or if it doesn't strike us that purchase is out. Buy some of smaller items that are in our plans . An, fill in elsewhere with more good small ideas that fit in. Last but not least, get some of our people into various seminars.

In summary, Either has what your looking for. Hope this helps.

11-25-2008, 11:13 PM
Thanks Mark,

I was reading the seminar list for MW and it looks right up my alley as far as basic marketing, scare tactics, etc.

I did not find a similar list for TW. Anyone know what they plan on doing for seminars?

11-26-2008, 05:52 AM

Keep in mind that the seminar list I have on the website is from 2008. I leave it up for reference until I compose the new series. I am in the process of doing that right now and hope to have it posted by the end of January. I am receiving some great class ideas and will have some new speakers too!


Mr Nightmarez
11-26-2008, 06:42 AM
Don't forget the newest Convention Eastern Haunters Convention
We had a choice to attend Hauntcon, MWHC or Eastern and chose to try something new - plus I wanted to tour Eastern State!
We traversed from Tennessee to Philadelphia and enjoyed the new convention.

So now the industry has HAUNTCON, Midwest Haunters Convention, Eastern Haunters Convention and I do a Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror Convention www.ConNooga.com in the south. Not just for haunters!

Now Transworld is split - So do I do Vegas or St. Louis? And next question WHY ARE THERE 2!?

Maybe I missed that among the other couple of pages as I have not been on in a few weeks... but as a haunter it is rather frustrating. Which event will offer me more for my money? Which events offer more for my staff / team?

I feel Hauntcon, MidWest, and Eastern all offer the fun and interactive aspect that is lacking at Transworld Events. Transworld = Buyers Market to me. The other conventions offer a chance to enjoy and learn.

That's my 2 cents/sense...

But it still leaves me wondering where should I spend my money for this season? St Louis or Vegas?

Haunted Illinois
11-26-2008, 07:21 AM
Oh, don't forget about the Ironstock Haunt Conference in Tell City, IN. ( http://www.ironstock.com ) Their event has been around since the late '90's, I believe.

11-26-2008, 08:16 AM
Between Vegas and St. Louis there is no debate. If you are a haunter you need to be in St. Louis. Vegas will have very little if any haunt presence. All of the vendors have talked about this at length and all agreed that St. Louis is the show to support. Some may end up in Vegas too when it's all said and done...but they ALL will be in St. Louis. You would be VERY disappointed if you went to Vegas.

11-26-2008, 02:35 PM
Larry, I had some questions about what conference fits certain situations a few post back. You replied to the we part but not the other questions.

I'm interested in what you have to say about all the different options.

To grow the Haunt industry as a whole like you say, one of the biggest gains you could make is helping those like me that are just getting started but need some help moving up the learning curve.

I'm curious as to why you only responded to the WE comment?

11-27-2008, 02:27 AM
I must have missed your question Boni...

Let me see if I'm responding to your question correctly this time and if not you just let me know.

Here is what I will say about tradeshows, just coming off the heals of the latest IAAPA show. I was VERY disappointed with the IAAPA show, the attendance must have been down 25% or more and that is on top of it being down the year before and the year before and the year before that.

IAAPA is shooting that show right in the foot because they have launched all of these other shows all around the world, I guess to make more money I don't know but I can say they are NOT needed, and EVERY vendor I talked to hates the fact that IAAPA gives the buyer so many, or should I say way to many options.

They are saying to buyers World wide, specifically buyers out of the US that you don't have to come to their main show because we'll bring a show to you...

That on top of the fact that the amusement industry has consolidated so much there are few unique buyers. Tons of FEC have been bought up by a few companies, there is now only a handful of amusement park owners, so they don't go to these shows like they use to.

Tradeshows are and have been affected drastically across the board in all industries from consumer electronics to even Halloween. Look at Halloween retail now, you only have a handful of buyers now dominated by people like Spirits, Halloween Express to Target or Walmart. 10 years ago and back it was a bunch of Ma and Pa stores and now its not.

What else happened... hmmm the WEB!

I get almost ALL and I mean ALMOST ALL of my business from the internet people searching me out on a search engine. I don't even need tradeshows anymore to find new business because I have a GREAT website for the business I'm trying to attract.

Take Rubies for example do you really think they need to go to tradeshows at this point... they know their buyers and they hold private showings for most of these buyers. For some tradeshows are still very valuable but more and more I talk to vendors they tell me they rely less and less on tradeshows and more on direct marketing with buyers.

Now moving onto this Hauntshow in St. Louis or any of these other tradeshows or events for the Haunt industry things are a bit different...


Because THERE WILL NEVER be one or two or three companies buying up all the haunted houses nationwide like say Walmart who knocked out tons and tons of business or say how a handful of amusement companies now own almost every amusement park in America.

Haunted Houses will almost ALWAYS be independent owners and operators, so tradeshows and events for our industry will always have a higher response than some of these other industries where say a Best Buy and or Circuit City dominate the electronic market. Best Buy or a Six Flags for example doesn't need to attend a tradeshow, if you have something you'll bring it to them right to their door step!!! LOL It doesn't mean they won't go to a tradeshow, it just means they don't rely on them the way they use to in the past. Things have changed.

See what I'm saying?

Now as for our industry it does seem now we have too many all of a sudden...

We have this EHC, MHC, Hauntcon, Transworld, and other smaller regional shows on top of Transworld Vegas and Houston's new show.

I know for the haunt vendor they can NOT and WILL NOT attend all of these shows because they don't have the TIME or MONEY to attend them all... vendors will have to choose what works best for them and go from there.

It costs money to attend these shows, and time out of the shop which is the same as money down the drain for a vendor.

I suspect that ANY of these shows that rely on vendors to buy booths to support the show or to keep it financially stable will stop producing the shows or adapt them into something else.

I think vendors will support ONE of these shows, maybe TWO, but it will drop off little by little after one or two or three. Lets not forget IAAPA, which even though their attendance has fallen year after year is still the biggest show out there with attendance well over 20,000.

If I'm a vendor, I'm think my first show would be something directed DIRECTLY at my CORE clients, like for example Transworld St. Louis, then my second choice is IAAPA, past that you have a ton of others from MHC, Hauntcon and the new EHC trying to be a serious player.

I do NOT believe all will make it long term, because vendors will fizzle out from supporting this many shows.

I think some of these shows should consider a change from trying to put a bunch of weight into vendors and more into seminars, events, tours, education, networking and I think they would make more money and have less burden with return on investment.

Who knows what will happen.

Despite what some say I do hope that Hauntcon thrives and survives because it makes people happy and some people look forward to it very much same goes for all of these shows.

As a website and magazine that is and should always report news fairly and not show favoritism we shouldn't even take sides.

MHC is ON THE BALL I know this much, probably more so than ALL of the tradeshows out there. They send me press releases, they send me banners, they send me information, they give all you people tons of updates, and make posts, stay connected to the people, and are so friendly with everyone its hard to say a bad thing about them.

Hauntcon on the other does NOT send me press releases, they do not post on these board to promote the events, therefore hardly anything is ever said about the event. I have reached out to them many times and asked for information but I never get any. We have taken it upon ourselves to put information about this event on our blogs, and have created a message board for this event and at one point one of the organizers made some posts about it. I invite Leonard and Hauntcon to join these boards and promote Hauntcon the same way MHC does.

We welcome the information!

Right now it looks pretty clear that MHC will continue to thrive, and the people behind have fallen in love with the industry and have a real passion for it so passion usually keeps all things successful.

We will do ANYTHING for MHC, EHC, or Hauntcon, or Ironstock or any of these shows if they ASK US!

That is a promise!

As a buyer and strictly as a buyer I think that St. Louis show will attract the most vendors booths and buyers with checkbooks. But beyond this show which shows should you attend... I will say the same thing I always say ALL OF THEM!

I say buy all videos, magazines, and attend all the haunted houses you can get your body to, and all of these tradeshows have something different, something unique to offer and if you can go GO!

I have said this before and I will say it again...one of these days I will attend MHC, Hauntcon, and all the rest!

I want to go!


11-30-2008, 08:38 PM
I will with my team attend all three major shows to see for myself which will survive. But this will be the ONLY year I attend more than one which means that someone will lose out. We sell online, catalog, and next year a retail store. Transworld was great because everyone and everything under one roof. So many vendors you could walk the whole day and not see them all. We spend money on both the haunt sections and costume side.

My main issue is the insistence by some that the haunt industry NEEDS its own show. First off am I the only one who thinks the Halloween vendors and the Haunt Vendors are completely intertwined. Trying to separate the two just seems a little foolish. You had all of the buyers in one place to make orders. Buyers like us that really were not interested in the haunt side but make purchases there year after year just because they were there and we happened to wander in.

My point is I think in the end some of the shows will fail due to lack of buying. Like I said we can only afford to attend one show and chances are it will be the costume side as we are retail. So the people that loose out are the vendors at the other shows trying to establish themselves as haunt only. Doesn't make much business sense to me but maybe I'm just missing something. I will attend all three but the one with the most vendors and highest turnout will in the end win out. This year will be fun going to all three.

Dr. Haunt Chamber of Fear
11-30-2008, 09:19 PM
Being new in this industry, bring up to speed a little because I am confused by all this.

Larry, are you working for Transworld. You say "we" alot. Do you have a stake in TW.

Who runs the other 2 conventions and do they post here?

If the goal of this site is to promote the industry as a whole, why is there such a push to get everyone to TW and to treat the other's as second class?

Now, which one should I go to. I am 2 years into this, charity haunt, I have maybe $2000 to invest in props and animitronics. I need advice more than anything, good seminars, tours, etc. Vendors selling $15,000 animitronics does me no good. So which event is going to work best for me. I live in N. Indiana, so I'm smack dab in the middle of all three.


Each year I have atteneded a different haunt conference. TW, MHC, and HauntCon. With a small budget and new to the game I would recommend MHC. The reason for this is included with your admission you get to attend the most educational sessions for your money as oppose to paying for each class at TW. The classes at MHC have benefited my small haunt the most. As well as the bus tours are great - as they pack in a lot of variety and the price is very affordable. This helps with planning your rooms scenes and props for the next year. Finally, with only $2,000 to spend on supplies you have a small budget so what you need in that price range you will be able to get at MHC.

Having said this, I am coming to TW this year to see the products and go on the haunt tour. I will mostly come in one day and leave the next unless I see a schedule prior to booking airline ticket.

11-30-2008, 11:16 PM
We'll try to attend as many as possible, as of right now here's what we are thinking.
1-Transworld St Louis: definitely
2-Eastern Haunters Convention: most likely
3-MHC: probably
4:Transworld Vegas: probably not
5:Hauntcon: possibly

Of course things may change as we get closer.


12-01-2008, 12:52 PM
The reason that many of us have said that we need our own show is because the combined show was drain on us for many reasons.

The prices were much higher than they needed to be. With our own show prices for us have come WAY down.

The retail buyers RARELY buy from us. Sure there were a ton of them wandering around looking, but few ever bought. We weren't the reason they were there.

The retail vendors STEAL!!! Every year they come into our side of the show, look things over, and the next year they have a cheap knock-off of our products for sale to retailers.

We had no pull with TW when the shows were combined. The haunt section was peanuts to TW and they never cared about us. They catered to the retailers because they were where the major money was. Now TW listens to us.

In the end this industry may not be able to support a thousand different shows and conventions. TW has alwyas and, I predict, will always be the major buying and selling show for haunters. The split has simply allowed us to take more control over the show and make it better suited to haunters. I think it's going to be a great change.