View Full Version : HHA Update: the interim board

12-18-2008, 02:20 AM
"To Protect and Promote the Haunted House Industry"

That's not just a slogan; it is a commitment from the veteran haunted attraction owners from all across America who are dedicating their time and energy into the creation and future success of The Haunted House Association.

This is not "Larry's association,” this is not about choosing sides, and this is not about ego.

This is a fellowship of experienced, passionate, and professional haunted attraction owners working together to protect and promote the future of the haunted attraction industry and all of it’s hard working owners and operators.

This is the goal of the Haunted House Association.

This is the reason - the only reason - why the following haunted attraction owners have agreed to donate their time, resources, and experience into the development of this professional organization.

This is not about division, this is about unity.

Haunted attraction owners can take comfort in the knowledge that this is going to be YOUR organization, and it should serve your needs and protect your interests. We fully encourage your feedback, your questions, your suggestions, and your criticisms.

Bylaws will be written, protocols will be developed, and regular reports will be issued.

Elections will be held, votes will be cast, and haunted house owners will soon have the opportunity to help shape the very future and perception of our industry . While we encourage anyone with an active interest or role in the industry to join HHA, only experienced haunted attraction owners will be permitted to serve as officers or board members.

To put it simply, any board member or officer who decides the direction of the HHA - or is empowered to represent HHA in dealings with the media, Transworld, IAAPA, etc ... must own and operate their own haunted attraction.

This is the Haunted House Association, a proud "official" organization and sponsor of Transworld's 2009 Haunt & Attractions Show ( http://www.hauntshow.com/sponsors ) ... and these are the haunters who have pledged to protect and promote the haunted attraction industry.

Ben Armstrong (Netherworld)

Wayne Barneschi (Trail of Terror)

Randy Bates (Bates Motel)

Allan Bennett (Bennett's Curse)

Tim Dunne (Fright Kingdom)

Peter M. Karlowicz (Niles Haunted House)

Mike Jubie (Headless Horseman Hayrides)

Larry Kirchner (The Darkness)

Eric Lowther (Haunted Overload)

Dwayne Sanburn (13th Gate)

Scott Simmons (The ScareHouse)

Tony Wohlgemuth (Spookywoods)

Speaking personally now, I hope that this announcement will generate excitement and enthusiasm within the industry that generates such passion from all of us ... but I know that it will also instill some surprise, some criticism, and some heated debates. I welcome it, but with the hope that we can debate the concerns and issues that we may have while still maintaining a healthy respect for each other.

This is not about destroying or dismissing the energy and efforts of other haunters or associations – this is about the creation of an organization that is driven and represented strictly by haunted attraction owners, with a goal of better promoting and protecting our part of the 7 billion dollar Halloween industry.

Gore Galore
12-18-2008, 07:47 AM

May I take a moment as the founder of the HHVA (Halloween Haunt Vendors Association) to formally welcome the HHA to the Haunted Attraction industry.
If there is anything we can do to assist you we would be happy to help.

And if there is anything I can personally do to help please let me know. I have learned alot over the past year about working to build an association like this. It has been a real struggle and a great learning experience.

We should grow together with our budding organizations.

There will be lots of struggles ahead but obstacles tend to make you stronger.

12-18-2008, 07:51 AM
Congratulations! THANK YOU for the information!!! I like the sentiment of your post and look forward to being a member.

12-18-2008, 08:11 AM
Awesome stuff... Even though not one meeting has been held, or one report released... I'm proud to be a member! Thanks Scott for the update! -Tyler

PS: Any info as to who is what?

12-18-2008, 08:26 AM
Thank you Kevin!

It was in part your group and its organization that gave the final push!
It is going to be a very busy few months leading up to Transworld.

All of you who supported this organization from the start will be recognized - your initial support and patience is deeply appreciated.


Gore Galore
12-18-2008, 08:31 AM
Sincerely thank you very much.
that means alot.

Very busy time for us to. We have everything in place ready to be marketed as soon as the website is finished.

We will also have a booth at the www.hauntshow.com for buyers and vendors to come by and hang out.

12-18-2008, 08:39 AM
To answer your question -

Only one officer on this interm board has been appointed -

Dwayne Sanburm of the 13th Gate will be the Treasurer. This is such a critical position we felt it had to get rolling ASAP.

We are functioning well in an informal way at the moment - so we decided to keep it that way for now.

Now Larry and I have been talking a lot about the HHA on the forums in the past few weeks but...

Scott Simmons from the Scarehouse is going to be our official spokesman so we will back away from this at the moment, and let him do most of the talking.

We will need to work a bit to firm up things...don't want to be giving answers to questions before they are complete. We will try, but you must realize a great deal remains to be determined.

Please give us you views however - now is the time!


12-18-2008, 08:42 AM

Thanks for the clairification... Again, anything you guys need us to do we are more than willing to help! Thanks again. -Tyler

Raycliff Manor
12-18-2008, 09:47 AM
Scott said: "This is not about destroying or dismissing the energy and efforts of other haunters or associations this is about the creation of an organization that is driven and represented strictly by haunted attraction owners, with a goal of better promoting and protecting our part of the 7 billion dollar Halloween industry."

Scott, I appreciate these well spoken (written) words! I'm looking forward to being a member of both IAHA and HHA and I'm looking forward to seeing the industry as a whole reach new heights together.

Thanks Ben, Larry and Scott for the update on the status of HHA!


12-18-2008, 12:16 PM
Congrats guys to making it now official!!! Looks like you have a very respectable interim board, I have no doubt great things will come out of the HHA.

I also believe all three organizations HHA, HHVA, & IAHA are needed and can work together. Now finally pro haunts, vendors and home haunters, and all of the rest of the passionate haunters out there have a home and can have a voice to better the industry, keep things safe and have a heck of a lot of fun doing it!!!

Jeff Londos
Innovators in Haunt Technologies
See us in St. Louis at TransWorld’s National Haunt & Attractions
Show, booth 714, March 27th -29th 2009
Proud Member of the Halloween and Haunt Vendor Association

12-18-2008, 12:54 PM
Great news! This ball seems to be rolling and I'm glad to be on board as a member!
Coming together as one industry and not tearing each other apart is the key!


12-18-2008, 02:47 PM
I agree that the vendor association and the new HHA which is for the professional industry should work closely together. We have many of the same goals and agendas especially in relation to education, tradeshows, and more.

In fact HHA could help the vendors learn more about what we want vendors to build, give you stats on how many attractions are mansions oppossed to how many are say asylums, or midevil or whatever.

There are a lot of thigns we can work together on. I just hope these two profesional organizations can find some harmony and drive towards some end game goals!

At the end of the day it is very important that everyone get on the same page.

Hauntworld.com plans to be a MAJOR supporter of HHA, and will devote pages within its magazine EXCLUSIVE to HHA. Additionally we'd be happy to print any vendor association news and updates. Hauntworld magazine will also run FREE ads for HHA, any of their events, activities and or anything they see fit they need marketing. Hauntworld is onboard with this group.

HHA will also have the full support of Tourist Parks and Attractions Magazine as their exclusive haunted attraction association.

Transworld also support the HHA and has listed this new organization on their website wtih our logo. Things are moving right along. Before to long we will contact other associations such as IAAPA and others to let them know that HHA now is the official organization that will reprsent professional haunted house owners and operators.


12-20-2008, 11:22 PM
How do you know you are a part of a real industry? When you have a boat load of similar acronyms to keep straight in your head . HHVA, IAHA and HHA ... That sure is a heap of associatin'! One of the groups need to consider changing their name to something without an "H" or an "A". Maybe one group could become "The Sultans of Spook Shows"? The SSS. The triple S! S3? Members could greet one another with a long "SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS" sound. It would make intoxicated industry conversations flow better, without all the awkward pauses while you piece all the "H"s and "A" together in your head to express the association you are referring to.

Just a thought to foster better communication within the industry.

12-22-2008, 01:29 AM
I see a lot of familiar names here but nobody from Sudden Impact, Knotts, Universal Studios, Six Flags or the other major players. Just curious as to whether they were not interested or just not included. Seems odd not to have them participating if the goal is to promote haunting as a major industry.

Jim Warfield
12-22-2008, 08:02 AM
Maybe they are too busy still counting the money from last October to be bothered to do anything else?
Nice problem to have.

12-22-2008, 08:23 AM
It sounds like it was to first form the association with actual professional haunt owners, people who actually own their own haunt. Six Flags and HHN doesn't to my knowledge have an owner but is headed up by people who already work for the parks, which is not the same as being an owner of your own haunt independently. Those guys have huge amusment parks to fall back on where independent haunt owners' main focus, sometimes only focus IS their Haunts...

I'm sure reps from those companies will take part in it all before too long...?


The Ghoulish Gallery
12-22-2008, 11:26 AM
Robert...Knotts is a member of IAHA.

Tim Turner

12-22-2008, 11:53 AM
So are a bunch of enthusiasts and non haunt owners Tim. People have said you are supposed to actually OWN a haunt to be on the board, not work for someone who does...Unless I'm not understanding it as it is written...


12-22-2008, 11:54 AM
That brings up an interesting question. As I understand it, Home Haunters will not be allowed to serve on the Board of HHA as it is supposed to be just about Professional Haunters as the Pro Haunter has specific needs/issues and challenges that Home Haunters do not face. The large amusement parks are obviously haunt owners yet their circumstances are dramatically different from the Pro haunter who is unaffiliated with a major theme park.

So, will a Theme Park representative or theme park personnel be prohibited from serving on the board of HHA?

12-22-2008, 12:41 PM
I think we've been protty clear from the get go and I have spelled this out already many times, still this is a good question just wish everyone could read the answer at the same time. LOL.

For one this will be spelled out in the bylaws, which are being written now!

Secondly, you do NOT have to be a haunt owner to serve on the board, merely be an owner or an operator with atleast five years exerpeince. This board will require anyone who wants to run for the board to supply documentation, references just like IAAPA does.

I've said many times in the past you may not OWN Ripleys entertainment however you might be one of the managers of the company, or you may not own Six Flags but you still run a professional haunted house event. So again this will all be spelled out in the bylaws for all to read but to answer your question NO you don't have to own a haunt merely be in the lead operational position of a professional haunted attraction event such as Six Flags, Ripleys, or whatever. Those are prime examples where there is no single owner ...

I hope this explains.


12-23-2008, 12:03 AM

I was just refered to Tim Turners SLANDEROUS comments on another message board. First and foremost I've NEVER told TIM TURNER my sole purpose of starting HHA was to destroy IAHA...what a LIE!

Secondly TIm Turner is everything that is wrong with IAHA, he's NOT A HAUNTED HOUSE OWNER NOR an OPERATOR and to say he's a full blown vendor would be a stretch but this guy is somehow the mouth piece of this organization. He starts more trouble than anyone I know, he tries to meddle in the Transworld seminar series although he's NOT a haunt owner, he calls the guys who want to start their haunt tour in Columbia and tells them they can't open their haunted house because the whole industry will be mad at them, he tells them TW will not support them in anyway, he tells them long tirades all on behalf of IAHA. First off who is this guy to tell anyone a real buyer what TW will or WONT DO?

So now moving on to the real issue at hand... why do I want to see HHA started?

Simply really!

Because our industry needs an association started by and for professional haunted house owners and operators. PERIOD!

We've seen IAHA for 12 years or whatever its been do what? Is that bashing them or pointing out the reality. I took over as president of this organization and I tried to change everything from their logos, what they spend their money on, the direction and its just unchangable. IAHA has bylaws that allow anyone to be a board member, anyone to be the president, and well anyone does. The very first year they had actors as board members. Who wants their actors as board members of an organization that speaks for people who really own the attraction? I have NOTHING against actors, or home haunts or anyone else... but people have different agendas.

If you want to build a home haunt its clearly for the passion of it... if you want to be an actor maybe because you love doing it or a second job, but its the owners who if the attraction fails loses everything, or if someone gets hurt gets sued, or when it rains all October wonders who he's going to pay the bills, or stresses over losing their lease or fights with city officials.

The problem and real problem with the haunted house industry is simple... there are several different groups at play here all with so much passion but all different idea's of how things should be done or what somene would want done.

Some people think you should be doing all of this for fun, others feed their familes by doing this job. There is a place for horror fans, there is a place for home haunters who love doing it more than anything, and there is a place for people who do this for a living, which is no different than someone opening up a bar, or a lawn care service.

There needs to be an association STRICTLY for those who share the same common goals or owning and operating a haunted house. IAHA and I've said this a MILLION TIMES despite ANYTHING Tim Tuner says...

LET THEM STAND ON THEIR OWN TWO FEET... if people embrace them, and want to support them they will. They need no handouts, they need nothing but to show people they are worth supporting. Are they? You decide with your pocket book. Every year around this time they want to throw another party to remind you they're still alive. Well now is the time we start all these debates again.

If you think they have represented you, your industry, and your profession well, and you think they deserve your future support write them a check because when you do write that check you are saying to them ... "WE THINK WHAT YOU DO IS WHAT WE WANT DONE'. You didn't like Bush so you voted for Obama... you wanted change because you thought the country needed a change.

HHA is a change of direction, HHA is a new direction, new leadership, new agenda, lead by those who own and operate attraction who share many common goals, dreams, and idea's.

HHA is NOT the Larry association, and over the next three months you will find more and more that it isn't... HHA's website will be totally changed, free from the HW blog, with all of its goals and information listed.

HHA will do everything it can to be ACTIVE, PROACTIVE, and not REACTIVE to what we are seeing now on other boards.

IAHA shouldn't be reactive and insulting to HHA efforts, no why don't they be proactive, why don't they show you what they've done, or show you point by point how they've spent YOUR money or should I say INVEST YOUR money in YOUR future, YOUR industry.

As far as I'm concerned IAHA can be whatever they choose to be, and survive another thousand years, but only if they EARN your support.

Same goes for HHA...

It's really a clear choice in my mind but you are the ones who have to make up your minds what you want, where you want this to go. It will be started correctly, with the right goals in mind, which is to simply make this industry GROW AS A TEAM!

I don't think there is ANY question that through America Haunts we've done more to make the industry grow, raise awareness and and put butts into the seats than any other group. We did that in three short years... and there was only 10 or so of us...now think what we can do with all 3,000 of us on one train, everyone with the same goals, and the same dreams.

That is what HHA's goals are NOT to destroy any other group or groups.

From here on out let the fighting STOP, and let the groups that you feel best reprsent your futures speak for you and with you!