View Full Version : Halloween University - Learn everything abount Haunts here!

02-23-2009, 08:51 PM

Halloween University - HU - is a concept that was born in 2002 by Robert Kocher & Indrani Sen. After the initial concept was designed the ideas for a launch were discussed at Transworld 2004 at the haunters pavilion. The hope was that eventually Halloween University would be allowed to thrive an expanding part of the pavilion of Transworld itself as a continuing educational program for the Halloween & Haunt Industry.

In 2007, opportunity presented itself, as it was the first year of the Eastern Haunters Convention. The seminar classes at the convention were so overcrowded due to the huge demand for Halloween and Haunted Attraction knowledge. There was clearly a need for a much larger venue for education and the time for Halloween University was born.

In 2008, the Eastern Haunters Convention expanded with the National Halloween Convention to begin a phase into the National Haunters Convention & the National Halloween Convention by 2009. We were a part of that expansion with the seminar lineup being organized and run by Halloween University.

The initial early demand for seminars was so strong that two divisions of Halloween University were formed: The Professional School & The Public School.

The Professional School is geared for the serious haunt professional interested in furthering his or her knowledge. The classes are more expensive to attend, but allow us to bring in some of the heaviest hitters in the industry to attend. These classes are much more specific and advanced. In additional, these classes also allow for smaller groups giving you more intimate feel and personal attention. The knowledge of the professional classes earns you credits towards your Halloween University Degree.

The Public School division of classes will cover a much broader spectrum range of classes. These classes will have a lower cost, but will still cover many of the important topics that you will want to hear. They will just be a bit broader in scope.

Hope to see you there!
Michael Bruner
(Sort of the Bluto Blutarski of Halloween U.)


Ken Spriggs
02-24-2009, 07:58 AM
Isn't the subject line getting a little....a...ah.....er....ummmmm........BOLD?

You can never learn EVERYTHING....silly!!!!

02-24-2009, 08:16 AM
Dear Ken,

I'm sure Michael just had to truncate for the post, trying to state to learn everything is simply impossible and too broad as you know.

It really should be more like "Learn new information at both Intro and Advanced Classes about Makeup, Halloween Antiques, Paranormal, Christmas Shows and even Haunted House information"

Halloween University really is a broadbased concept...it's not just focused on haunts. We have a lot of actor trainging and other things available as well.

So, please forgive Michael is that sounded like an 'all encompassing' type of statement. It was not meant to be so. Not a day goes by in our lives where we both don't learn something new....


02-24-2009, 08:19 AM
Idk about ken but i think its looks great. I've been on about 80 different college or university sites and that has the same feel which is kinda what you are going for. You want to people to take you guys seriously so expand on the classes and the credit system. Vincent This Time!

Ken Spriggs
02-24-2009, 09:50 AM
After erasing this post 10 times........

Rob......thanks for the clarification
Oaks......the seminars look like alot of info

02-24-2009, 01:49 PM
This convention a good one, but it's quite small. The seminars were overflowing last year because the rooms were so TINY. Also, to be the best of my knowledge Xanthar or Michael Bruner don't even actually own haunts themselves, least not a pro one anyway ...Not trying to cause conflict, but if people are traveling a great distance they should not be misled into thinking this is anything in the same Universe as a Transworld or MHC or Hauntcon even. It seems to attract home haunters or wannabe haunters not too many pros....

I think when people say that it's a convention by haunters for haunters or something like that, they should actually be a haunt owner as in running a haunted attraction or at the very least manager in charge of one, otherwise you are just a part of the industry but not a haunter in actuality...

I do applaud them for attempting to grow this convention into something big. It's lot closer to my home then the other ones!


02-24-2009, 03:13 PM
Dear Darkangel,

Thank you for your words of support, but I would also like to defend us a little bit and present some updated information. I hope you get a chance to come out to the show this year, I promise we have worked very very hard to make it better and better.

#1) Last year was an expansion year, so yes, things were very tight and overflowing but that was because we were in a hotel (like HauntCon does). In the Philly market, it takes 2 years in advance to book a Convention because it's such a busy location! Thus, this was the first year we could get into a major convention center. Moving forward, we will always be in a major convention center.

#2) I hope you get a chance to come this year and experience us again. This year we have continued to rapidly expand and our show floor is over 135+ booths!!!! 108 of those booths are for Vendors and we are nearly 95% full already. The ceiling height is 31 feet tall, and this is a very professional type of show. We are flying in entertainment from around the country, and already have huge pulls from the west coast, the south, and canada in addition to our primary markets of surrounding states. We have extremely high quality vendors ranging from Nightscream Productions Animatronics, to Boneyard Productions, Grex Airbrush, Waken Productions Animatronics and even the famous 3D Artist Stuart Smith this year! Bloody Mary, Randy Bates and even Rich Hanf will be part of the convention as well (all the same people Transworld points out as key people in the industry).

Our show is not your fathers Oldsmobile ...hehe :)
Michael and I are striving very very hard and dedicating every waking moment to make this a successful show for years to come.

Here is the current Floor Layout & List of vendors.

National Halloween
& National Haunters Convention
2009 Vendor List

#1114 : 13 Haunts.com
#1304 : Artskull
#1503 : Black Forest Fabrication
#1107 : Boneyard Productions
#1210 : Castle Blood
#1204 : Contact Lens Company
#1218 : Creatures East (Acting Troupe for Hire)
#1104 : Creepy Collection
#1105 : Creepy Collection
#1106 : Creepy Collection
#1107 : Creepy Collection
#1407 : Creepy Critterz
#1010 : Custom Foam Props - Triumph Design
#1514 : Darkride And Funhouse Enthusiasts [DAFE]
#1016 : Dark Creation
#1018 : Dark Creation
#1415 : Dark Ink T-Shirt Design
#1417 : Dark Imaginings Portraits
#1510 : Death by Design Animatronics & Creations
#1512 : Death by Design Animatronics & Creations
#1411 : Death by Design Animatronics & Creations
#1413 : Death by Design Animatronics & Creations
#1518 : Der Mord Animatronics
#1419 : Der Mord Animatronics
#1205 : Diamond FX
#1312 : Divels Mark
#1601 : EMT & First Aid Station
#1012 : Expressions Embroidery
#1215 : Fear Connection Props by ConNooga
#1116 : F'ed Up Stuff by Offensive Studios
#1118 : F'ed Up Stuff by Offensive Studios
#1017 : F'ed Up Stuff by Offensive Studios
#1019 : F'ed Up Stuff by Offensive Studios
#1119 : Fitzgerald's Realm of Magic
#1505 : Field of Terror
#1102 : Frontline Attraction Software Solutions
#1506 : Giant Spiderz
#1117 : Grendel's Den
#1500 : Grex Airbrush
#1401 : Grex Airbrush
#1110 : Halloween Scream
#1112 : Halloween Scream
#1011 : Halloween Scream
#1103 : Haunt Masters Contollers & Lighting Effects
#1003 : Haunted Times Magazine
#1206 : House of Mysterious Secrets
#1004 : Horror Dome
#1006 : Horror Dome
#1501 : Hot Wire Foam Factory
#1105 : In Pro Insurance for Haunts, Events & Attractions
#1302 : Kim's Krypt
#1600 : Magicians & Side Show Stage
#1212 : Midnight Monster Hop
#1100 : Midnight Syndicate
#1504 : Monster Maze Affordable Home Haunt Supplies
#1316 : Mr. Skeleton
#1318 : Mr. Skeleton
#1214 : Museum of Mythology
#1216 : Museum of Mythology
#1217 : National Vines
#1502 : Nightmare New England Scenic Design
#1511 : Nightscream Productions Animations & Props
#1513 : Nightscream Productions Animations & Props
#1515 : Nightscream Productions Animations & Props
#1517 : Nightscream Productions Animations & Props
#1519 : Nightscream Productions Animations & Props
#1521 : Nightscream Productions Animations & Props
#1014 : Order 3D Glasses, Inc.
#1500 : Prof. Ouch's Odditorium
#1501 : Prof. Ouch's Odditorium
#1502 : Prof. Ouch's Odditorium
#1503 : Prof. Ouch's Odditorium
#1504 : Prof. Ouch's Odditorium
#1505 : Prof. Ouch's Odditorium
#1301 : Ram FX studios Raven Design Group
#1201 : Razor Blade Candy LLC
#1207 : Rich Hanf's Haunted Productions
#1101 : Rotten Jacks Creep Shack
#1200 : Rotten Jacks Creep Shack
#1310 : Rotting Flesh Radio
#1015 : Royalty Free Frights
#1306 : Safari Anomalous
#1202 : Scares that Care
#1013 : Security Cam's 4 Attractions
#1300 : Sign Boy USA
#1507 : Sinister Controls LLC
#1211 : Specter Studios
#1213 : Specter Studios
#1219 : Spooky Magic - MDIM Productions
#1001 : S.P.R.I. Paranormal Investigations
#1115 : Spooky Time Jingles - Halloween Arts & Crafts
#1020 : Stuartizm Design - 3D Panels, Art & Laser Tags
#1020 : Stuartizm Design - 3D Panels, Art & Laser Tags
#1516 : Themed Attraction Design
#1111 : Timeless Halloween Antiques & Appraisers
#1113 : Timeless Halloween Antiques & Appraisers
#1403 : Waken Productions Creepy Animatronics
#1405 : Waken Productions Creepy Animatronics
#1400 : Wickadella Creations
#1203 : Wicked Zombies


02-24-2009, 03:26 PM
Finally, I would like to address the 'haunt owners' question.

Both Michael and I both run Halloween & Horror related businesses (Michael does supplies for home haunters), I do website design. (The Village of Darkness)

In addition, Michael has been in the process of getting ready to open a professional haunt for years, and I have been doing the same thing as well.

I have personally worked building and creating haunt rooms as a subcontractor for places like Castle Blood, and have even worked for the famous Kennywood amusement park.

However, my main goal has been working on my Haunted House style museum for over 7 years now. I estimate it will take about another 4 and then we can get started. It's a long term dream I plan on implimenting and passing it along to my children, etc.

You can see the website here: www.MuseumOfMythology.com
I currently manage it just like a haunt, have quite a few staff already, although we dont' have attendence yet, each room is being designed, scenic pieces being built and put into storage all to be ready for when we open. Just today I worked on a project with Mini Spot Light (Bad Boys Scenic Design) and in the past 6 months I've done over $25,000 in purchasing for the museum with various haunt and prop vendors. If anything, I have it WORSE than a haunt owner....I have huge deadlines and budgets for every year for the next 4 years but I have ZERO chance of even making one penny back until we open. I feel very intune with industry and the vendors whom have helped me every step of the way, and although our doors are not officially open yet, our entire concept, structure, and 'museum' will be haunted houses with a unique style twist (based on egyptian, greek, and viking monsters).....


Robert Kocher
Xanthar of the Museum

Scaren Karen
02-24-2009, 03:36 PM
Robert and Michael,

Your show is a regional show not a national show... To portray yourself as anything else is false representation.

Halloween University? How does the education you are offering qualify anyone to do anything?

I can also tell you that you are doing your list of vendors a huge disservice if you are not working on bringing qualified buyers to your event. Lack of buyers mean lack of sales, lack of sales mean bad show for vendors, bad show for vendors mean they won't do your show again. Also holding the event Easter weekend and inbetween TW and Hauntcon should effectively be the death of it.

Here's hoping!

Scaren Karen

02-24-2009, 03:48 PM
Dear Scaren Karen,

Wow, I'm sorry you harbor such negativity.

Wishing to see us fail, and hoping that the vendors have such a bad show. That is a horrible thing for the Halloween and Haunt Industry.

This industry wants all halloween vendors to succeed and do well, that's why people like Larry and Kevin make vendor associations, that's why we all help each other.

Wishing negativity upon people is just plain wrong in my opinion, especially upon the vendors. If you want to see Michael and I fail, that's fine, but don't wish it at the expense of the vendors please. There is nothing we won't do for them and it's the vendors and the halloween fans who MAKE this industry, don't hurt them.

Also, the show will not see it's death, we've actually just begun and we are already half paid up for next years show. We enjoy doing this and I don't think you understand that the show can't have a death because it's not about the money. We aren't looking to make money and don't care if we do...we are doing this to help people and raise awareness about our industry. We don't need to 'turn a profit' to survive...that's not part of the plan at all. Helping people is part of the plan.


Scaren Karen
02-24-2009, 04:03 PM
Robert did you not read my post?

I in no way wish a bad show for any vendor in any venue... But if you as the show organizer do not bring buyers in to attend your show you will cause them to have a bad show. It is your responsibility to bring buyers to your show, not just sell or trade or give away booths to boost your floor count. Plus is it wise to have so many vendors offering the same type of products? Guessing so after seeing your list. Plus I guess you are the only one on the planet that doesn't seem to be aware that there are less dollars out there for buyers to spend.

Also Larry to the best of my knowledge did not have anything to do with the formation of HHVA. I don't even think he is a member.

Plus I don't believe for one second all of your selfless BS that you are doing this for the love of the industry. You are a for profit entity.

Scaren Karen

02-24-2009, 05:51 PM
Hello everyone - time to chime in.

1.) Ken - to answer your question - the "subject" line only allows so many characters, at best, it's difficult to encapsulate everything you need to say into (what is it? 80 characters) in the subject line. I guess I could try to shorten and abbreviate, but that's like "cell phone" speak, and I'm not an expert at that, and honestly, it kind of annoys me. IYKWIM So I tried to do the best I could.

2.) Karen - wow.... I don't know why you're so negative towards me specifically (she's posted negatively about me in the past), but I'm just not going to fight with you, if you're looking for a knock down drag out, start looking elsewhere, the god's honest truth is that I'm just too busy to get involved in a flame war with anyone. Plus, that's just not my nature. Sorry to disappoint you.

3.) Regarding the whole "Where does Michael and Rob get off saying they know everything about haunting" ummmm... We never said that. You wont find our names anywhere on the Halloween U. site as seminar speakers. If you would take 5 minutes to look at the site before posting, you'd know that.

Rob and I know we're not experts on everything, that's why we asked OTHER people who ARE experts in their respected fields TO teach. Ricky Dick of Castle Blood is a teacher, are you going to tell him he doesn't know what he's talking about? (If you do, please tell me when and where you do that, as I would LOVE to watch that exchange...) Tattoo is teaching a foam class at our Convention, I dare you to find 10 people in the world who are better than he is at it. Randy Bates is teaching a seminar on using Hayrides. I'm not the expert, but I know who are the experts, so I'll default to them. All Rob and I are doing is providing a location for everyone to do their magic.

4.) Michael and Rob don't "own" a haunt - Rob's right as to how we're both stockpiling to go pro,(Between us combined, we both have mountains of haunt product that would fill several 18 wheelers) and we're taking the long term approach so we don't screw things up, but you need to think things through for a minute. Running a convention is a full time job between a staff of about 20 people. Anyone who owns a haunt simply won't have time to pull of a convention as well (and yes, THAT I do know from experience) *AND* I do have an accomplished, successful history of hosting events. Last years EHC, although crowded, and a couple of first years speed bumps, worked.

Oh, and if you guys really want to be fair about things - what haunt does the owners of Transworld own?

5.) The whole "It's a regional show at best" - There was a point in time last year, where you would be absolutely correct. LAST YEAR.

This year, WE ARE FOUR TIMES LARGER !!! Rob's the one in charge of the vendors, so I don't know the EXACT count, but I know we blew past 100 vendor booths a couple of weeks ago and he has several more vendors in queue that he needs to assign booths to yet.

Last year ? People complained about being too cramped in a hotel, (see the earlier post in this thread) Well, the god's honest truth is we had no idea that the event would be so successful that we would outgrow the hotel in our first year. My initial plan was to stay at that hotel for two more years (or permanently if we hit a saturation point), but there was just too darn many people. We decided to go with the "National" name due to our size, our location, and the quality of seminars we're offering.

This year? We're in the Valley Forge Convention center, which is every bit as large as the Rosemont in Chicago (not an idle boast btw - look at our floorplan at this link
and compare the dimensions between us and the upstairs haunters section that was at Transworld Chicago, or the back room of Transworld Vegas.
Bet you a nickel we're larger square footage with more HAUNT vendors. :)
(NOTE: I'm going to be honest and fair about this one though - I'm NOT including the downstairs costume wholesale section of Transworld in my statements, and I'm trying not to boast or brag, all I'm saying is look at the floorplan and come to a decision on your own. )

6.) Karen's "Don't you be altruistic, this is for profit!" accusation. Ummmm.... Well, we'd *LIKE* it to be, but if you calculate the man hours involved required to make this happen, it HAS a labor of love at this point. In man hours ALONE it would bankrupt most people, Rob and I make several phone calls a day, and exchange dozens of emails a day, just to make sure that EVERY SINGLE DETAIL IS LETTER PERFECT FOR OUR GUESTS. Many a night is where we work past midnight. (Also not a idle boast, anyone wants to volunteer to be on our staff, feel free to send me an email and you can be part of the 'drink coffee all night to work on the convention email express!' ) :)

The sad news is that while I'm affiliated with the convention, my haunt has to sit on the back burner, there just isn't enough time to do both. :(

( NOTE TO KAREN - Just in case you didn't know, convention centers are REALLY, REALLY, REALLY expensive to rent.) So, we need to make some money somewhere just to pay for the big building. :)

Bottom line? Rob and I are working our tails off to bring you an awesome event - and don't take my word for it - just check out the website yourself
and see what we're offering - hopefully the results of our efforts thus far will impress you. (except for Karen)

Bonus - keep in mind that we still have a couple more months of work to really put things over the top! (Which I kinda thought we did when we started to offer *FREE* DARK MAGIC entertainment for our guests throughout the day...)

Wow, sorry, didn't mean to make this so long, but I wanted to make sure I hit all the points - If I missed any - please bring them to my attention and I'll discuss it.

If anyone has any other questions, feel free to ask. I have absolutely nothing to hide.

(Who doesn't have time for a flame war - sorry)


Mike Honcho
02-24-2009, 06:20 PM
Now it is time for the matador to dance with the blind shoe-maker! ...... and it will be a slow jam (man what the hell dose that have to do with anything lol)

Mike, Rob we attended the the show last year and I would like to say thanks for the hard work you guys are doing, forget the doubters the movement is unstoppable
and we are looking forward to attending this year ....

Ken Spriggs
02-24-2009, 06:48 PM
I certainly didn't post to start a war or any bad feelings.
To tell you the truth....I was going to post a dumbass comment about another haunt show to screw things up blah blah blah....but no I refained.

I took the time to go to the website and check who the speakers were (teachers).

I had nothing bad to say I was shocked at some....you will no doubt walk away learning a bunch of stuff.

Sorry I was joking in a way but it is very bold!
I don't think ANY of the conventions can boast LEARN EVERYTHING ABOUT HAUNTS HERE

Haunt University - register here

Would have been just as good.

Back to the dumbass comment ....... as a vendor I am having a hard time with some things.


We are making a line of costumes to sell.
We as a company decide to do 2-3 shows per year.
TW by the time we pay for transportation, lodging, BOOTH, food and whatever else comes up.
Do the math......we have to sell a ton of stench and costumes to make that up.
MHC HAUNTCON are the other 2 shows that we have done.
I for some reason like to go to Ohio and MHC is a great time and expenses are MUCH LESS
HAUNTCON depends where it is....it could also cost us a fortune.
Now we add another show.....we just can't do it.

Can the 3 or 4 of you maybe get together and have 1 or 2 shows?
I know ... Barry is hunting me down right now
Everyone HAS worked hard at doing their individual shows.......BUT IT IS KILLING THE VENDORS
There is a ton of the same people at these shows. We as vendors are paying 3-4 times for some of the same customers.

We always have to stay infront of the customers but the cost of doings shows is really putting a crunch on some of the vendors......or am I an idiot?

I know that answer but I still have a point

02-24-2009, 07:00 PM
Its unstoppable untill it meets an immovable object!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAH! Vincent This Time!

Scaren Karen
02-24-2009, 07:08 PM

Why not tell people about the hot water you got in with many people on the Halloween L list and I am sure many others by obtaining peoples #'s and having some sort of automated service call them about your show. You never once apologized to those people or the list for that intrusion or for your error in judgement. As I recall there were several individuals looking into taking legal action against you. But I guess in Michael and Robert's world the rules of proper conduct don't apply.

Mark my words more vendors mean less dollars for the vendors that vend at your show. Are you going to increase attendance 4 times to support the 100 plus booths you have sold, traded or given away? You are going to have a lot of vendors sitting around staring at each other because you are doing your show EASTER weekend! I'm sure there will be some that will be able to break away from family obligations and come to your show and others that live close enough that attending won't mean a huge cash outlay, but there will be a lot of people not able to attend your show or any other show because of the economic down turn.

Timeline correction, wasn't last year the first year for the Eastern Haunters Convention, not 2007. Then you announced that you were taking a year off to develop your "National" show, but of course you didn't tell the whole truth... Because surprise surprise you are doing a another show this year and calling it a "National" convention.

I don't like you Michael or Robert because you are not HONEST with people, heck you're not even honest with yourselves.

Scaren Karen

Scary Harry
02-24-2009, 07:13 PM
I haven't been to your show before but plan on coming this year, I 'm really looking foward to the bates tour. I know the Valley Forge Convention Center l and can say it is very impressive. I,m really glad to see an event here in the northeast, I'm in Albany NY which is quite a distance, but close enough to bring the employees without breaking the bank. Keep up the hard work guys, rome wasn't built in a day.

02-24-2009, 08:26 PM
I'm thrilled to death to get to attend something like this and it's close to me. I will be there to take advantage of the products and classes offered.

wigley F/X
02-24-2009, 10:39 PM
WoW! Not a pretty sight to see for a member that doesn't get on here much, but is trying to make an effort to do so, but I thought I would put my two cents in on this issue. I was at the con last year. I traveled all the way from Chattanooga Tn. and even gave up most of my free time as a guest to work for Rob because he is a nice guy and needed the help and I am not sure he even sleep the whole time he was there because he was way to busy making sure that his guests and venders were happy and well feed. I have never eaten that good at a con in my life. Yea Rob. Yes itís Darla; anyway, there heart is in the right place and I believe in them. As a director for another con, I have seen and made many mistakes and did everything I could to make sure that it was not made the next year. Running a con is hard work and does basically consume your whole life. Trust me I just finished working one as a director for the first time. Everyone deserves a chance to succeed and to try to make a dream a reality. Bad feelings and ugly words really doesnít do anyone any good. I am not taking sides but there is always room for another show. The venders are adults and can make up there minds. If they choose to take the risk if that is what they choose. Itís not like there going into it blind. They have all done enough shows to know, if it is a bad call for them or not. As far as stress on the vender because there are too many show. Well, then the venders need a plan on which show they will do and which ones they donít. I canít afford to go to all the cons, so I chose which ones will benefit me. Weather they do bad or good is up to them. If I was afraid that someone made a prop better then me and I was face to face with them and I backed out of selling at the same con with them then as a business person I am shooting myself in the foot. The goal for the like venders is to convince the buyer that there product is so much better then the competitor. I am in the hopes that I will be able to become a vender soon and do my first gig at EHC. So, I hope that at least from this poster you can see that yes, there is two sides to every story, but ill will doesnít do either party any good. Yes, there are valid points and grips but there is also room to learn and improve. The haunt families have always seemed to be a breed all there own and a breed I am proud to be a part of. They seem to stick together and over come the things that plague other regular cons. Donít make me change my mind.

02-25-2009, 12:48 AM
I think the show they are working on has some real potential because the Philly area is like the center of the haunted universe on the east coast. There are more high end haunts up that way than anywhere else in the country. I like Mike, I think he's one swell guy!

My only advice to this fledgling show or any other is marketing is the key... if you or any show sells vendors on coming to the show it dosn't matter how much you sell your booths for what matters is the cost to exhibit. You can sell your booths or fifty cents, but the real cost in a show is in shipping products there, hotels, time away from the shop, and all the travel expenses.

We don't need more vendor shows however the shows that offer seminars, tours, good education those are designed for the haunter and if you focus on that aspect you can give a better overall experience.

If you offer vendors booths the key is to bring in QUALIFIED buyers not just any buyer but QUALIFIED buyers... I've said this to MHC, Hauntcon and the rest. If you can't bring in check books, then these shows don't make sense for the vendor because of the cost to attend.

To bring in QUALIFIED BUYERS costs money... look at Transworld they buy lists, they do mass email afte mass email, they do mailings, they buy ads in every magazine in the amusement industry, and the one thing you don't see them do is get on message boards to build awareness like every other show.

To build a successful show takes money, marketing dollars to find those qualified buyers. I'm sorry but zombie walks, hearse rallies, garage sales, make up wars, just don't appeal to the mass majority of haunt OWNERS, because sadly the majority of for profit haunts are doing this for profit, or are building their haunts in the summer, or whatever else.

Haunt owners like myself first and foremost care about see a lot of new products, we want to spend money, get new idea's not attend a costume ball. All of those things have their place, and yes they are all fun but the appeal more to the haunter who simply enjoys Halloween.

When I was a kid I loved dressing up, I trick or treated until I was freakin 17 years old for God sakes... but now I have two kids, a family, a working business, to much to do and to little time. I would love to go around to all these places, but to be honest I don't like attending ANY tradeshow or convention. They are expensive and a lot of work and take you away from your family and your business.

Most people who are in the business treat these events as something they must attend to advance their business not for fun, not for pleasure, not because they want to but because they know they have to!

People who love to dress up and do a zombie walk they love doing it, they enjoy doing it, they look forward to doing it, I just think most of the haunt owners do not. There is a line of who is who and what is what and to often I think people are mixing those people together and there lies the problem.

I think MHC, Hauntcon, to this new show Mike is working on are very very very valuable to many people, but at what point is to much of the same thing. Vendors can't advertise in 10 magazines, they just don't have the money, so just because you start one does't mean it will be successful.

It won't! Not enough money to go around.

Here is my point...

Just because you have a convention, just because you say you will invite vendors doesn't mean they wil come, and doesn't mean they will make money, and doesn't mean they will ever come back if you do NOT BRING IN QUALIFIED BUYERS TO BUY THEIR PRODUCTS!


Who are you for? What are you about? Bottom line if you add vendors to the mix you better be prepared to bring in those serious buyers otherwise you are left with a lot of bitter vendors. I'm sorry but the guys who want to see the hearse rallies, go to the costume balls, do the zombie walks just have no interest in a $15000.00 Attacking T-Rex from Scarefactory.

Pick who you are and what you want to achieve and focus on it and be the best in that area and forget the rest.

With all that being said I do think that this show has the most potential for success just because of its location but you again must focus on one thing or the other...


Jim Warfield
02-25-2009, 03:49 AM
If not enough qualified buyers show up, then have a Transworld-type Dark Zone but charge admission to it, then the mere enthusiasts can help defray their expenses!
This would seek to take advantage of the Hearse-Rally, Zombie-Walk, Make-up Wars people who are enthusiastic about $15,000 props, they just can't pay that much for them..unless they find a fat wallet in the parking lot...

Jolly Pumpkin
02-25-2009, 09:13 AM
Larry you don't make any sense. You're talking about how all these conventions are having social events such as makeup wars, hearse rallies etc and that haunts aren't interested in this if they are out to make money. If this is the case why are there like 4 different tours for The Darkness and a Columbia tour which is like 2 hours or more from the convention center. There's also a creative visions tour and IAHA Awards Banquet.

I would think those events would be a lot more distracting since haunts are having to travel away from the convention center with the exception of the awards banquet. Transworld is also having seminars and workshops which is very similar to what these other conventions are doing. If you're not wanting to have social events then Transworld needs to get rid of them all together and focus more on the show.

The difference between Transworld and these other conventions is that their social events are usually at the convention center at the smaller shows which is real convenient. The people who are buyers won't be distracted by this stuff anyway if they are at the convention to make purchases. Crap Larry you even have a booth at Transworld advertising The Darkness Tour which has nothing to do with furthing people's businesses. How can you judge these shows when you've never been to any of them that you are judging?

I'm sure this post will be deleted because if we don't all agree on something it must be wrong. I do agree that there are way way way too many conventions out there and I'm sure it's getting harder and harder for vendors to afford and choose which show they really need to attend. Because at the end of the day all of the haunt conventions are pretty much the same. Having a fun and interesting show makes others who aren't involved in the haunt industry want to become involved and start their own haunt. This ultimately makes the industry larger and more profitable for vendors.

So just because someone at the convention isn't a buyer doesn't mean they won't be in the near future. At MHC and similar conventions not everyone there is going to be a buyer, but there are people there that may possibly be people looking to get involved in the haunt industry, become a sponsor of a haunt, start a series or show on the haunt industry, etc. You never know and you have to keep people interested in your show with other things besides the tradeshow floor.

Gore Galore
02-25-2009, 10:08 AM
It is interesting how this has turned into such a controversial thread.

I attended the NHC last year.
I met some haunt owners and even made a nice sale eventhough we didn't exhibit. A special thankyou goes out to www.tormentwelve.com for that order.

But what I will say about the NHC is that it will be a good breeding ground for new events and vendors.
The seminars were focused on the new and upcoming haunt owner with lots of how tos etc.
The seminars made me feel like we were back in the early days with speakers I have known for years and who used to always give seminars at Transworld from Ricky Dick, John Denley, John Burton, and some new great ones like Tattoo and more. So the speakers were the best of the best.

Everyone felt welcome and felt at home at this event eventhough it felt cramped. But that problem has been solved. It also felt very organized and under control.

I know there are too many events to choose from, but what can you do?
If the events are not supported, they will fail.
And that is up to the organizers to find out ways to keep that from happening.
It is all about the design of the event to meet the needs of the buyers and vendors at the same time. You can't bring in too many vendors or else you won't be able to bring in enough buyers to make it a successful show for the vendors and then they won't come back as other posts touched on.
So, you have to provide tons of activities and enough vendors to entice the buyers to attend and place orders.

It is all about balance.

And it really isn't fair to compare to Transworld unless you can get almost 300 exhibitors, over 3000 buyers at the show and provide QUALIFIED buyers. Which Transworld has always done for us. Nor to compare to any other event.
Every event has different things that define them and have different pros and cons about them.
I have been to all the events and find good and bad at all of them.

You just have to decide which ones serve your needs best both as a buyer or a vendor.

I enjoy spending time at all the events but I will admit almost 85% of our sales come directly or indirectly from the Transworld show. No other show even compares.
But again, that doesn't mean I wouldn't attend. I attend to spend time with old friends and meet new ones. It is so much easier to spend time and talk with haunters at MHC, HauntCon, and NHC than it ever has been at Transworld.

And as a haunter, just one good idea makes it worth it. I know for a fact you get alot more than just one idea at each event.

SO, do what works for you, and hopefully we will see each other at some of these events.

02-25-2009, 12:01 PM
Michael and Robert, I'm not trying to sling mud as I know what it's like to try to get going and it takes time, trust me I know. But sooner or later you have to jump in get your feet wet! You'll learn more in the first season after opening then you would sitting out 10 years stickpiling things talking about and not doing it. Take the jump, if you are serious you might want to skip doing conventions and do a haunt so you can actually be a haunter, not a haunt employee, helper, or enthusiast.

Also, I was merely stating what I thought of the show last year, as it may help someone see through all the promotional and marketsing stuff clearer. I know you guys work hard at it, it shows....


02-25-2009, 12:39 PM

I have been going to IAAPA and Transworld since 1994. When I was like 22 or 23 years old yes that long... there was no haunt tours, there was no tours of anything, no haunted houses opened, there was barely even seminars. Transworld just had a little room where haunters could get together. If you want to know the honest truth it was a version of MHC, I think it was called the Ohio Haunters Gathering or something along those lines that really started the whole 'haunt tours'.

The point here is the shows had more people back them coming to tradeshows because there was more business owners back then, there wasn't an internet to help you find products without tradeshows.

Here is the funny thing there are fewer people than ever attending tradeshows but there are more than ever. What happened was big companies bought out smaller ones like in the amusement park industry most of the attractions where small ma and pa but then Six Flags went around buying them all out for example. Instead of 28 buyers you now have 1 buyer. In the Halloween retail industry everything was ma and pa then came Target, Walmart, Party City and the finishing blow was Halloween Express and Spirits. Back then you probably had hundreds of buyers and now you have 1/4th if that.

Later on Dreamreapers started to open at Transworld but a big deal wasn't made out of it, it wasn't part of Transworlds agenda, promotion nothing. Then Hauntcon came along and put all the marketing into the haunts that would open, as to use those haunts to get people to his show. Originally Hauntcon was my idea, and I promoted this concept opening to IAHA while I was a member. My idea was that if we as an industry started a show we should move around city to city each year so we could see all the haunts in a region. This was back when Transworld tried to boot out all the haunt owners. I pushed this idea until I was blue in the face, and to be honest we should have done it and could have done it.

A couple years later Leonard does Hauntcon, but my problem with all these shows are that to much is put into things that don't matter to a business man, and turns the show into more of a FAN FEST type of things and less of a tradeshow. Hauntcon is more of a FAN FEST or FUN FEST show than a tradeshow, its a convention not a tradeshow.

Noah, let me be clear, I am not saying people don't want these things, because clearly they do, but if you want to be a TRADESHOW rather than a CONVENTION the first and most important thing is the VENDORS, NEW PRODUCTS, bringing in QUALIFIED BUYERS for the vendors not haunt tours, not monster balls, not hearse rallies... all things you would typically see at a horror show or something.

When you have to many of the fun things then you water down the act of buying products and services and the vendors do not do as well and can't afford to make the big investments.

Transworld yes they have haunt tours this year but still its not the main reason people are coming, it may be the main reason they attend Hauntcon but not Transworld. You have to seperate a tradeshow and a convention and a tradeshow puts most of the stock into the tradeshow floor and attracting qualified buyers not just anyone who wants to walk through the door.

Totally difference!


wigley F/X
02-25-2009, 01:53 PM
So perhaps this should move over to another thread, but I can't help but ask questions about everyoneís comments and opinions. I have been a spectator for most of my life in the haunt industry, worked in the special effects bis. For awhile and even been an actor and builder for haunts and now that I have chosen to take to role of a vender. It makes me want to learn as much as I can from the people that have already been there. What is a qualified buyer and how do you get them to an event? The EHC seem to be a great place to make connections and I did, but did it do me any good as an up and coming vender? I am not sure. I do know as customer I will go look at my new friends stuff and consider there stuff before I will go to a random booth and look at there stuff. Does that make since. Now I may not buy from them, but at least I took the time too look at there stuff for a potential buy, because I had made the connection the day before at the Monster Ball. I guess what I am saying is coming from an area where there are 4 cons that contain almost the same guests and programming and venders with in 5 months of each other. I don't understand the argument for a new con coming on the scene. I think I will go start a new thread in an appropriate area or find one that is already going. I do want to learn more from the folks that know more then I do.

Scaren Karen
02-25-2009, 04:41 PM
Just for the record I'm not anti con, show, convention, or gathering... I go to no less than five haunt events each year. My point is that if you are going to sell booths to vendors, then you have responsibility to get buyers to the event. Not just any buyers but buyers that can buy the kind of stuff those vendors are offering. Most anyone at a show can pony up $10 for a CD, but only a select few are qualified or have the cash to afford an animatronic costing a thousand dollars or more.

I use to run a local hands on haunted workshop for 10 years. It was well received and well attended for being a local event. I always worked in an off season haunt tour as an evening event for attendees too. Haunters loved that! I never had a vendor floor, or sold my event as being anything other than what it was. I remember when Ghost Ride approached me about wanting to come to my workshop several years ago. I was shocked to say the least, but did have a candid conversation with Michael Challie explaining that he would not be encountering 100's of attendees, but a much smaller group of 50 - 65. He made the decision to come with his eyes wide open. He made sales and was able to deliver product to local haunt owners and was happy

All I'm asking for here is, HONESTY from the NHC organizers... Plain and simple. My real bitch here with Robert and Michael is that they seem more concerned with filling booths and not filling their attendee list with buyers for those vendors.

I don't like the way that Robert is selling these booths to these people, making it seem that if they miss their show they will be missing a lot of sales. I hope I am wrong for the sake of the vendors and that everyone walks away with as many orders as they can fill, but I also am a realist... and I don't see that happening, because the pool of people that have money to spend will be doing their spending in St. Louis, if they are spending at all.

I have no doubt that Michael and Robert worked really hard on their event last year and went out of their way to make sure people were comfortable and well fed. I know I did when I did my workshops, I know Barry, Kathy, Neena, and Kelly from MHC do, same for Leonard & Jeanne at Hauntcon, and Kkrazy Karen & Brian Taylor at Great Lakes Fright Fest do as well. That's called positive public relations. But if these vendors that have signed on to exhibit at NHC, who the least of their costs is the cost of a booth don't have buyers with money at the show to buy their wares. You are going to have a bunch of unhappy vendors that rightfully feel betrayed by the organizers not being HONEST with them.

The cost of exhibiting at a show is so much more than your booth... There is travel, lodging, food, shipping, printing, research and development, electricity, air, lighting, carpet, chairs, tables, shirts, helpers and their expenses, insurance, and the list goes on and on.

I commend individuals that put on events for haunters, but I don't care for individuals that give their event a name that's misleading, and not representative of what they truly are, and do so to the public and the haunt comminity at large.

Scaren Karen

wigley F/X
02-25-2009, 05:15 PM
I totally see your point. I just hate ill will. It's hard coming into the industry thinking you feel like you need to take a side. I like everyone and I value everyone's thoughts. I guess in the end I will have to make up my own mind on what to do with my alliances. You sound as if you know a bit about the ends and out of the industry and that is what I'm here for. It just happens that I came in at totaly the wrong time to truley understand why one of my friends was getting blasted. No harm no foul just trying to understand.

02-26-2009, 08:15 AM
Dear Karen,

You wrote this:

"All I'm asking for here is, HONESTY from the NHC organizers... Plain and simple. My real bitch here with Robert and Michael is that they seem more concerned with filling booths and not filling their attendee list with buyers for those vendors. "

- First, you have no idea all the plans and things in place for bringing in qualified buyers to the show and attendees to the show. Now, will the show floor be super packed with people....uh...no...I'll be the first one to tell you that (and I always tell vendors that when they call, especially the ones who do large items).

- However, we already have some huge plans in place for 2010 for example and we did (and are doing as much as we humanly can for this year). Will there be as many buyers are Transworld....OMG no......and there isnt' a person in the world who thinks otherwise.

But, what we DO have is a lot of buyers from local haunts (and there are a TON) plus, we have a very lot of home haunters with very large budgets. I have done a handful of websites for home haunters (yard haunters) in this area and you would be amazed at the money and things they buy. Many of them had Unit70 level props and even full sized Gore Galore costumes! These are thousands of dollars of items for a halloween party or yard haunter!

Thus, to summarize, we are making a HUGE concerned effort to bring in qualified buyers and patrons on the show floor. Some of the things we are doing will help with this year, and other things will take effect in 2010 and 2011 which will be significant.

Remember, I am a halloween vendor myself, and I have done other tradeshows...I know how important it is to bring qualified vendors and buyers and beleive me we are working on that. I simply can't go into details because, that is between Michael, Myself and our Board of Directors and consultants.

Also, you also said:

"I don't like the way that Robert is selling these booths to these people, making it seem that if they miss their show they will be missing a lot of sales."

- Um....first, how do 'you know' how I am selling these booths....and secondly, I'm not telling anyone they will miss a lot of sales. Listen to what Larry says....Transworld has the most buyers (no one is arguing with that).

My point is very very clear.

#1) We are a NEW EMERGING Market
#2) We are the LOWEST cost convention by far
#3) Vendors have the chance to get into the Ground floor of this convention
#4) Since this is an emerging market, there is a huge chance for vendors to be the SOLE SOURCE of certain products....and not have much competition.

You talk about development costs, hotels and everything else...but all the conventions have that. Plus, if these vendors coming already do other shows, they already built their development costs into their budgets.

By adding a 2nd show (such as ours), they split the development cost between the two shows.

Thus, again, Michael and myself are out to make a great show both for the people who attend, and for the vendors. We are MORE than clear that qualified buyers really help make the show and we have been working on that steadily for the entire year. Will every single vendor have a great show? No, probably not possible, but is there the potential to have a great show for vendors...absolutely, and it might also help them get into great new markets never seen before.

Remember, Kevin from Gore Galore was not even a VENDOR at our show and got a large order by simply walking around.......there are buyers and they are in need of product.


Robert Kocher
National Haunters Convention

02-26-2009, 09:21 AM
I am one of those home haunters in the Philly market that attended the show and tour last year and had a blast. This show is perfect for people like me that have a large budget but would feel like a fish out of water at Transworld. The seminars were informative, the people were wonderful and I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I saw the Creepy Collections booth. The convention opened up a whole new world for me.... and I for one can't wait to hit the vendors this year!

02-26-2009, 10:22 PM
One final comment... what is wrong with HYPE? Does Hauntcon run around saying for haunters by haunters when its really by Leonard for Leonard? Is there anything wrong with that no he's entitled to make money but the tag line is misleading there. The show isn't produced by a group of haunters, its not produced by an association its produced by one person for profit for that one person.

Lets not confuse the facts.

Does Leonard HYPE Hauntcon? He goes around doing interviews stating this is the only show for the haunted house industry, or claims basically like that. He in one interview that I saw when asked about Transworld blew that off and said that was nothing more than a Halloween retail show and Hauntcon is the haunt show.

Look I'm torn here because I understand where he's coming from here, he's promoting his product and wants to blow off the compeition. Would you do the same if a media person was at your haunt? Yeah you probably would so whats the beef?

Every year MHC's tour i better than the last, promoted up and down the hills as the best seminar line up everything better than ever.

When the next Batman movie comes out will they say better than the Dark Knight or will they say almost as good as the Dark Knight?

HYPE there is nothing wrong with it as long as your are not outright lying.

If you can't HYPE your product then who will? Will the other show hype your show? Will te other haunt hype your haunt?

I think Mike and Robert believe in what they are doing, and I think they should HYPE it MORE not less!

Who doesn't use the HYPE machine when you have something to sell?

Does Scarefactory say this years lineup of animations is almost as good as last years or the best we've ever done?

Let the people who you are trying to sell this stuff to decide with their wallets and then the chips will fall where they fall.