View Full Version : Hauntcon Reports

05-01-2009, 11:31 AM
Anyone have a Hauntcon report? Anyone attend the tour last night... how many went, how did it go? Whats going at the show today?

Send in your reports.


05-01-2009, 03:01 PM
Found this article on Hauntcon...


05-01-2009, 04:30 PM
I heard about 130 people went to the Terror on the Fox tour. No word yet on any details. I'll let you know what I hear. Larry

05-02-2009, 01:33 AM
More reports...

The Friday night tour to Morgan Manor or whatever that place is called had about 200 people attend. I think that was the big tour based on past years I don't know if 200 is good or great or what.

I also heard Hauntcon 2010 is going to Orlando...now that is a head scratcher there. IAAPA has been there for years, there are not really any haunts there... I guess you could go over to Busch Gardens or something, maybe Disney. But we call do that ourselves.

Curious what is the throught process there but we'll see. Larry

05-02-2009, 01:50 AM
Went on the pre-show haunt tour... Terror On the Fox was great!!! Did a lights on the next morning.. very cool and definately one of the best haunts I've beem through.. totally worth the trip!!! Other haunts on the tour were nowhere on the level of terror on the fox unfortunately : (
Have had a great time at the show so far... going to try and catch a little sleep now, but will post a little more info tomorrow!!!!


05-02-2009, 11:00 AM

Keep the updates coming!!!!


05-02-2009, 06:24 PM
Went to the Wisconsin Feargrounds last night... they had 3 pretty cool haunts there..one that was like a big horse barn..pretty cool!! There was an IAHA auction... most stuff seemed to go pretty close to what it reatailed for, didnt see anything go too cheap. There was an open bar and lots of great mexican food, all in all it was a fun night and there was a really good turn out.. lots of people came out!!


05-02-2009, 08:30 PM
Why is there always Mexican food at haunt functions. Nasty.

05-02-2009, 09:54 PM
So, is it official that HAuNTcon is moving to Orlando next year? Doesn't really make much sense?

I mean Orlando is a cool place and there's a lot to do, but I always thought of HAuNTcon as a 'Haunt Tour' type of show. And there is no 'professional' haunt I know of within a reasonable driving distance from Orlando available to tour?

Either way it would cool to have the opportunity to make it out to more than just TransWorld next year.

RJ Productions
05-03-2009, 04:04 AM
I’d have to agree Jordan, what is the thought process here????

Face it Hauntcon is NOT the industry’s trade show, period. Look at St. Louis: every major vendor, large displays, can only be attended by people in the industry. Hauntcon: only a handful of vendors, little or no displays, allows the general public attend. NO trade show allows the general public to attend, conventions do!! I wrote a whole article defining tradeshows and conventions and there is nothing wrong with being either as long as you promote being the right function.

So Hauntcon does NOT represent the industry, it still has a purpose and a function. It is a convention that focuses on Haunt Tours, seminars and fun events for Haunters and Haunt Enthusiasts. It’s a noble and needed purpose. To that end it does share its purpose with several other regional shows, MHC and NHC. These shows allow Haunters to see Haunts they would never be able to see in season…oh and party a wee bit in between!!!

All of the shows have their own set time frames so that they do not cannibalize the very limited market of Haunters. Everyone has been slowly growing an audience, trying to be a little different, but basically fulfilling the same needs.

Now all of a sudden Hauntcon makes a couple business decisions many people have questioned. First, why did Hauntcon wait until after the other shows published their dates to announce that they would now go head to head with another show??? Didn’t they learn the lesson that TW and the Dallas Costume Show just went through this year??? The costume industry is a lot bigger than the Haunter’s and they may not survive this “us or them” mentality. So why attempt it?

I thought that was a pretty dumb move, now I hear Hauntcon is going to Orlando??? Let’s see, your forte is Haunt Tours, I believe an article or posting stated that to be considered for Hauntcon you needed a pro Haunt within driving distance of the location and at least 3-4 Haunts within a several hour drive for the pre-show tour. I don’t think there are ANY Haunts with a several hour drive!! Sure you might say there’s Universal and Busch Gardens, but the show is no where near their season and most if not all of the Haunt sections go way. These are year round attractions that only re-theme for the season! Oh, but then there is Disney’s Haunted Mansion!! Sure it was fun to do the private tour at IAAPA a couple years ago, but to base an entire convention around it??? Not a smart move.

People complained that Vegas was too much of a distraction from the Haunt show. So what is Orlando? If Hauntcon thinks that people will combine their vacations and the convention, that didn’t fly in Vegas either. If I’m going to Orlando for a vacation I’m going to Disney, Universal, Busch and if I wanted to drive for a couple hours I’d go to Cape Canaveral!!

Then there is a business practice of playing to your audience. Hauntcon is basically a regional show. It travels and while a percentage of the participants go year after year, the majority arrive from the region around the show. So it only makes sense to go to your market. Texas has a high concentration of Haunts and Haunters, so does the Midwest. But Orlando??? Not so much, heck it makes Vegas look like a Haunt Meca!! So you have to wonder what’s going on??

Maybe the recent posts were right. Leonard received a “Lifetime Achievement” Award from IAHA and some people stated you usually only get these during the twilight or at the end of your career. If Hauntcon continues with these types of business decisions, it will become a self fulfilling prophecy. Maybe it’s all a plan. Sell off the magazine, DOA is pretty much DOA... At least after the show bombs in Orlando, Mr. Pickel will already be in Florida, the land of retirement!! Did Hanfadomous already predict this????

05-03-2009, 01:03 PM
Couple of things...

First keep in mind that Leonard now lives in Florida so its close to his home but... I think this was a very poor choice. There are certain states void of major haunted houses or for that matter haunts at all... FLORDIA might be on the top of the list.


Well because the amusement parks own Halloween statewide, heck they market nationwide and that makes it hard for any haunts located there to get any traction. If anyone heard about this Steve (HH.com) guy and some people from New York tried to open a haunt in Miami and I heard they flopped and lost a ton of money. I told them going in they would not do well but they didn't listen.

If you have any plans on opening a haunt in Southern Florida double check your head for brain injury. Universal will kill you no matter if your haunt is even 300 miles away, then you throw Busch into the mix, and now Disney is doing some haunted thing forget about it.

I now Tampa has some of their haunts partially set up, and by that time I'm sure Universal takes most of them down, you have Disney haunted mansion but we've all seen that.

Orlando bad idea!

Lastly, as for Orlando most haunt owners are in the midwest to the east coast so if I'm doing a haunt show I'm staying as close as I can to the center of people and well Orlando just isn't it.

Even if people do come they'll do exactly what they do at IAAPA fly through then head off to Disney or Universal...that is what I would do.
SO that makes it bad for the vendors.

Anyway I do hope it works out for Hauntcon but I would second guess that choice for sure, especially when you couple that with having the same dates as another show. Hmmm... rough!

But you know what all these shows are tough no matter where you go, its tough so you just have to do what you think is right and go for it.


RJ Productions
05-03-2009, 01:44 PM
Larry, you made the comment about times being bad. Maybe that's HC's reasoning. Florida is hurting, just like everyone else. The Parks are laying people off. Either HC figures people will combine vacation and the convention or there will be deals on accomodations? Maybe they hope things will return to normal by next year?

Either way it still doesn't make sense. News from IAAPA and IALEI both state that more people are staying close to home. Attendance at local or regional attractions is up. People do not have the money for travel but still want entertainment. This could be a good thing for Haunts this season!!! But if I was planning HC for next year I would capitilize on that. I would look for the largest concentration of Haunters and bring the show to THEM so most of the audience is within driving distance. Not force EVERYONE to travel! Doesn't make sense!!

With TW in St. Louis again next year it will three years since a Haunt show was in the Chicago area. MIlwaukee wasn't a good choice from what I am told. I would have thought they would have jumped on that and moved HC to Chicago in 2010??? They wouldn't have to go to Rosemont. There are other small venues in the surounding area, or maybe even closer to Chicago!!

I know it appears that we are "bagging" on HC but this is actually constructive crititism.. IF the industry has several successful regional shows it helps create a healthy environment. If shows close it sends the wrong message. HC as well as the other shows should be doing everything to help sustain their shows and build attendance. That means NOT competing agains each other and most importantly NOT competing with their audience!!!

HC appears to doing BOTH!! It's bad for their own business future and it's bad for the industry. Leonard always feels there are people out here who have it "in" for HC and hope for its demise. I think he is right, but HC's biggest enemy is itself, not us!!!! Hopefully they rethink things.

05-03-2009, 02:04 PM
FrightProps just moved 1.5 hour drive from Orlando so I am stoked HauntCon will be right next door next year! If true FrightProps will for sure have a bunch of booths.

I was surprised to see a couple of new haunts popping up in Tampa this year. Maybe with the economy the way it is we will see Florida haunts spring up and do well? Maybe Universal will have a special haunt event just for HauntCon? Hmm... We will see!

Greg Chrise
05-03-2009, 04:07 PM
Just to try to be open minded, every year some number of brand new people that have not been there and done that enter the idea of having a haunted attraction. I think Haunted Attraction Magazine has always used the Florida attractions as a side pull to those taget audiences.

Plus there is a developing core that will not miss a HauntCon and find nothing to by at Transworld they value or could afford so it is a waited trip. Certainly Transworld has a place with those with thousands that need to spent. It does not have the welcome to the haunting world you would expect.

It's the difference between seeing Home Depot for the first time and with out guidance wondering what all you could build with all of this compared to a tuperware party intimacy developing the mannerisms of now that you have the tools to store food what will you do?

It doesn't matter. 500 expected social attendance vs 3,000 hardcore attendance, both have their own vibe.

Just from reviewing all the pictures of who is who in attendance of these venues, there are a few major audiences wandering around. Those that went to the IAHA Disney event are not fully the same followers of HauntCon. People will venture not so much because of where it is at but, it is the only occasion surely where their many friends gather and mingle with new people every year.

Even when Haunted Attraction was heavily into Transworld it was obvious what type of people were being cultivated. The bigger picture is you are new, that's great, do you have a million dollars? Do you want to be the next Disney? Sure you do.

To new people it is quite satisfactory to tour haunts that are below the national radar. Any reference material makes ideas come about. I think his formula will survive. It might not be representative of what a veteran can even understand as having value. It's a floating welcome wagon that gets a few hundred bucks out of your pocket. It's like yellow pages dot com. For $300 we will list your business and you will automatically be someone.

For some amount of time people feel like they are somebody. No matter which tradeshow or convention they attend. What they do with it is up to them. Start out with tupperware, work up to coolers and then the double door refrigerator with an ice maker in the door. Then fail and start all over with zip lock bag with your stuff in it because you spent all you money trying to be somebody.

yet the welcome wagons continue as there are always people moving into the apartment complex for what ever reason.

Greg Chrise
05-03-2009, 04:18 PM
I want a younger sexier perkier welcome wagon with more coupons and free gifts, possibly some fresh fruit in a basket. I'm not giving yellow pages dot com any money. Many will because that's just what you do.

05-03-2009, 06:28 PM
Getting back on the subject of HauntCon 09 reports...

Myself and our house designer Ethan did the 2 day pre-show as well as the Thursday and Friday night tours.

The haunts on the tours were fantastic. We espeically liked the two JayCee haunts. Knowing the budget they work with, they both put on a fantastic show. Noah's Ark was pretty cool, some of us got soaked, some didn't.

I'm on the fence for a "favorite" haunt. Realm of Terror on Thursday night was really good overall. They were pretty edgy, had some intense actors (the chick in the first room was awesome) and had a few original prop / scene ideas that I've never seen done before. My only complaint with them was the line... Running FIVE minute intervals between groups was ridiculous. I appreciate that they wanted to keep the groups spaced so there aren't any backups, but seriously, it was a long f'ing line.

The other was Terror on the Fox. Everyone knows of them, many have seen them, it was my first time. OH MY GOD. The cue line entertainment is unbelievable. The intensity that the Bad Boys bring to the "stage" of the haunt was incredible. Combined with the light show, projection and front-row-concert-loud metal, if you weren't absolutely tweaked to get into the haunt, you have issues. Inside, the scenes were detailed as only the Bad Boys can. Most of their actors were fantastic with great energy. Terror on the Fox was everything that I've heard and way more. The Bad Boys were extremely accommodating the next morning answering any question that was thrown out during the day-light lights on tour. The party across from the hotel was awesome too.

I will say that the overall organization of the tour could have been better. There wasn't any direction to go pickup your "welcome packet" anywhere, nor was there an itinerary. The lack of itinerary was an accident, but it still would have been nice to have at least a rough idea of where we were going. Hearing "now we're on our way to Green Bay, we'll be there in 2.5 hours" after the bus is already underway really sucks when you don't have a snack or any kind of drink.

The show itself was ok. I don't have any complaints, I hope the vendors did well. Certainly it's a smaller show and can't be compared to that of TransWorld, etc. I definitely got to talk more in depth with the vendors at this show since they weren't constantly swamped. Huge bonus. I didn't get a chance to attend any of the seminars, most of the ones I wanted to take were in the morning and... mornings weren't happening... It seemed like nearly everyone in the hotel was having a blast, especially after the costume ball. I think there were more people drinking in the lobby than at the bar.

So that's my take on it.

RJ Productions
05-03-2009, 10:22 PM
Yes, my daughter went on Sunday since she was visiting friends in Racine over the weekend. As everyone stated it is much smaller, but that is to be expected. Some of the vendors who expected more were disappointed, those that had more realistic expectations do OK! As people, myself included keep saying, find a niche and play to it! How do you measure success? If you realistically claim you'll have 200-300 people and you do you are successful! Claim you'll have 1,000 and 300 makes you a failure!!

I did finally read the article. I'll just by-pass alot of the obvious hype. But one thing did send up the red flag and Gregg just mentioned it also. Quoting Leonard talking about the money Haunts generate the author says,"With so many people out of work now, he (Pickel) expects some of them to try to make money by setting up haunted houses." WHOA there big fella!!!!

I sure hope this is a misquote!! This si NOT the attitude this industry needs to start portraying....BROKE?...OUT OF WORK?...HOME BEING REPOSSESSED?....Why not OPEN A HAUNTED HOUSE??????

What next Billy Mays selling Haunt plans for $19.99!!! (Act fast and we'll include the Pickel Theory handouts as a BONUS...seperate shipping and handling!)

Everyone that spends money to create a great attraction, goes to the shows to continue to learn and upgrade their shows should take great offense at ANYONE who touts you can get in the business on a "wing and a prayer"!!! All the one season wonders entered the business thinking they could invest a couple hundred bucks and make a TON of money the first year!!

I own both attractions outright and it takes $30,000 each year just to roll onto the properties!! Then I see people saying you can build from scratch for under $10,000???? Now we have someone professing to head the "national" convention saying broke, out of work people can open Haunts?????? Isn't this the same man who tells people they have to spend $2.00 for each person they want toget throught their doors? How do you do that if you are out of work and broke????

I apologise for the semi-rant, but we as an industry need to have a more united front. We are legitimate businesses. You must invest a sizable amount of time and money to become sucessful. And like any other business, it may take 3 years to even recoup your investment...just like any other business. This isn't a get rich quick scheme, and certainly NOT an out of work alternative!!!

05-03-2009, 11:00 PM
With TW in St. Louis again next year it will three years since a Haunt show was in the Chicago area. MIlwaukee wasn't a good choice from what I am told. I would have thought they would have jumped on that and moved HC to Chicago in 2010??? They wouldn't have to go to Rosemont. There are other small venues in the surounding area, or maybe even closer to Chicago!!

Milwaukee is Chicago area as far as I'm concerned. Whenever I fly to Chicago for business, Milwaukee is my third airport choice for cheaper tickets. The difference of moving from Milwaukee over the border to Chicago is that everything gets way more expensive.

I really like the idea of Hauntcon moving out of the Northeast and Midwest, to get away from the two regional shows. Orlando wouldn't have been my choice, but I do think either the south or out west more is the way to go.

Mad Wax Sculptor
05-03-2009, 11:26 PM
Hauntcon should check the shows registration records and do the show closest to the state housing the majority of their attendees. How about the broke outta work people who already have haunts. Where do you go from there? (welcome to Wendys may I take your order?)

05-03-2009, 11:57 PM
More Hauntcon reports... Hauntworld had a booth there and didn't do bad. It wasn't Transworld but it was almost half of Transworld but we're selling small things like magazine subscriptions and stuff. I don't know how it went for others but for Hauntworld it wasn't half bad! I know Patti and Erin had a blast and loved the tours, the party and everything else.

I think someone hit the nail on the head... its not that busy but you can really talk to people. At Transworld you couldn't do that what so ever it was just overwhelming so many people, rush rush rush...

I question the move to Orlando and the dates being the same as another event but Hauntcon certainly has a place for the haunt industry. I'm happy we went and would attend again!

Here are some photos!


RJ Productions
05-04-2009, 12:55 AM
See even Larry liked Hauntcon!!! This is my point. There is a need for shows like Hauntcon, MHC & NHC. TW you go to do business...it's a trade show. HC, MHC & NHC you go to have FUN, get motivated to hopefully make it through the season!! My point is asking...why would you (HC)shoot yourself in the foot??? Force Haunters to make an unnecessary choice, take them away from your audience base??? Doesn't make sense!

Like Mad Max just stated, why not check your data base of past attendees. Then you find a location that has some new Haunts to tour and you have the basis for a successful show!! HC has an advantage over MHC & NHC in that they are basically stationary and HC can travel.

I am sure Leonard will only read what he wants and assumes I want HC to fail. Far from it!! If
HC fails it is bad for the industry. If HC, MHC and NHC are successful it helps bolster our industry and provides additional exposure outside our season. I'd like them all to be successful and more importantly I'd like to free up enough time that I could attend them!!!

05-04-2009, 01:29 AM
Here are photos!

We haven't really been to these types of events so its really hard to say if this Hauntcon was a success, up or down from previous years. We have no clue... maybe someone who has been in the past can answer those questions. From what I'm being told it looked like the show drew in about 300 guests, maybe more but less than 500. Is that good for Hauntcon I don't know. As for the exhibitors I know you get a lot more time to talk to the buyers and that is a good thing but it boils down to make sales and I don't know how anyone did on that end. I know that we did a lot better than we expected. We are happy!

I might attend the next one and bring my kids, I personally love Orlando but for a haunt show ummm... I don't know if that will draw in haunt owners or not. We'll see...


05-04-2009, 01:37 AM
More photos...sorry so many are blurry I guess Patti isn't the best photographer! LOL Anyone have some photos? Want to run a full report in the next magazine.


05-04-2009, 01:42 AM
Here are some more! Larry

Jim Warfield
05-04-2009, 08:18 AM
Fortunes are made by big buck ads and ad campaigns.. but a whole lot of us still see ourselves and others as indivual people with names, faces and successfully selling often (and hopefully will always) rely upon such a human to human contact and time invested therein.

05-04-2009, 08:33 AM
It looks like a lot of the Vendors downsized their booths. Night screams Studios didn't bring the car this time right?

05-04-2009, 08:46 AM
Besides any of the talk of HC moving to Orlando or where to have a show...

Here was my HC experience vending for RFR and Costumes For Kids.

We did very good. We sold out of all but 3 items we brought and we were intown and brought more than org. planned.

Also made fantastic sales via non-cash and carry items. Costumes for Kids was welcomed with open arms. The Haunt Industry Coloring Books Sold out by Sat. morn at 11am (and yes, more are coming to MHC and any vendor, haunt publication or whatever that still wants in before the re-run can, just email me)

The Raffle went well, we sold 327 tickets for the Charity. Overall good show personally for me. I have talked to other vendors etc. It all depends on market. I know the Milwaukee market. So it really is give or take depending on product and of coarse, a good sales person.

Anyways, RFR had a blast, the RFR Crew got days of Audio, interviews and coverage. We have video, photos and alot of good things coming and THank you Mrs. K for doing an interview with RFR's Badger for Hauntworld Mag for the show. I don't think I evr really made my rounds to you, but I know the RFR team loved you. So thanks.

All vendors that did interviews with RFR they will begin airing on this Fridays HAuNTcon wrap up show. And it was a pleasure once again to see you all, have fun and hang out with fellow friends.

Until a month from now I will see you then. Come on MHC.

damon carson
05-04-2009, 10:03 AM
Depending on what time these pics were taken? The aisles look as bare as Houston or Vegas!
All the booths were considerably downsized thats for sure. But this isnt in a huge convention building like Americas Center. I would go to Hauntcon but its always 3 to 5 states away and Orlando next year I will pass.

05-04-2009, 10:34 AM
Larry and Rich,

Again you missed the opportunity to write from experience rather than second hand.

The pictures had to have been taken at the start of a day as it was busy every time I was on the floor, Friday, Sat, and Sunday. Patty and Erin were busy every time I walked by the Hauntworld booth so I don't think they had time to snap pics during the show hours. Nice to meet Erin and see Patty again. Hope Patty signed the ones I chimed in on about the great value of banner ads.

It would be good to read Patty and Erin's reports on this thread.

The show floor was busiest I think on Saturday, but I think the media did help bring some locals out for Sunday. If those pics were taken during show hours they would have shown lots of people. My other Hauntcon was Detroit and it seemed smaller than that. Not sure what the numbers were or how they compare.

As for the seminars, they were well attended. My belief is to share with others and I would hope they have alredy made the decision to start their business. Safety and knowledge will keep our haunts from disaster. Whether it is to upgrade from a home haunt, a trailer haunt, charity, or "pro", training, networking, and safety are very important.

I credited you, Rich, in my presentation with the great coupon distribution idea you gave me. I have only been in this business 23 years, so if I learn even one great, or two-three good ideas, it was worth the whole trip. I am still learning.

As for the HC 2010 Orlando location, I would probably not have picked it for many of the reasons already on this thread, but it is not mine to decide nor criticize.

05-04-2009, 11:27 AM
The photos where taken on Sunday. Patti forgot until then, some might have been taken on Saturday. I'm not tryingto show off anything but the vendor booths. Who cares about seeing people walking around. If you look at all of m or most of my Transworld photos I show the same thing pictures of the vendors. I wish she would have taken photos of the folks at the haunt tours but she didn't think about it. If someone has photos upload baby!!!

Here is the problem with 90% of Patti's photos... all blurry that is why I was hoping someone had better ones. Anyone? Seriously we want to run a story in the next magazine along with stories about MHC and Transworld but we need better photos. Does anyone have pictures of the haunt tours, seminars, whatever let me know.

Here are some examples.


05-04-2009, 11:33 AM
This is it... everything else I have is so blurry its unusable. I hope someone else took pictures. Thanks

05-04-2009, 12:09 PM
FYI... wrote a Hauntcon wrap up which can be seen on the Hauntworld blog! Larry

05-04-2009, 12:55 PM
Hay, where in Florida are you? We are in Melrose just east of Gainesville.

FrightProps just moved 1.5 hour drive from Orlando so I am stoked HauntCon will be right next door next year! If true FrightProps will for sure have a bunch of booths.

I was surprised to see a couple of new haunts popping up in Tampa this year. Maybe with the economy the way it is we will see Florida haunts spring up and do well? Maybe Universal will have a special haunt event just for HauntCon? Hmm... We will see!

Patti Ludwinski
05-04-2009, 02:44 PM
I had a blast at HauntCon...The social aspect is just amazing! The friendliness of the HauntCon crew was wonderful. Daily free lunch provided to all exhibitors, a welcome gift bag at arrival, pizza at show closing and more! Plus, the afterhour events were unbelievably FUN. The costume ball party was awesome! Thank you Leonard and Jennifer and of course Leonard's wonderful mother who frequently checked on the exhibitors too! Also, thank you Tim and Ann for the wonderful hospitality Friday night! Everyone and everything was amazing. HauntCon is FUN and I highly encourage attendance at this show! For a really fun time, you should definitely go to HauntCon!

As a first time exhibitor, this is my feedback:
1. ATTENDANCE: Most people in attendance were native WI or IL with very few from elsewhere. But that's to be expected from a traveling show. (...Don't get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that this convention is a traveling show.) Attendance in general could and should be higher. Again I tell you, If you're looking for a GREAT time...GO TO HAUNTCON! You'll have an absolute BLAST!

2. PROFITS: As an exhibitor, I personally had very little invested in attending. I drove in. I got a great deal on my hotel ($50/nite) thru PriceLine. I had a small booth with a computer and my sales pitch...That's about it. So my sales were nearly all profit! I would DEFINITELY like to attend again! (But Orlando.?.?...Maybe not. I'll explain why not later.)

3. SEMINARS (AGAIN, THIS IS FROM AN EXHIBITOR VIEWPOINT): Too many seminars! There are SO many seminars going on throughout the day that the show floor was frequently dead. Attendees are in seminar after seminar after seminar. Then, attendees would flood into the show floor aisles, only to disappear again for MORE seminars. If I had one suggestion to request from the HauntCon crew, I would ask them to consider a way to better time the seminars to ensure more steady traffic on show floor.

Now let me explain why I personally wish 2010 HauntCon wasnt set for Orlando. I sell state specific online ad campaigns to haunted houses. I attended the 2009 HauntCon specifically to grow my WI business (& surrounding states) thinking that's where the majority of attendees would be from. Prior to attending, I knew there were WI haunts that weren't currently taking advantage of what I have to offer through a HauntWorld banner ad campaign. So I went to specifically get those haunts advertising, and I accomplished just that! In Orlando, there are no haunts. Sure haunts might travel to attend, but which haunts will be in attendance?...I wouldnt know til I arrived. Odds are, those that attend could very possibly be my current customers who already renew each year. In which case, my profits would be nada. Sure, I could go to network, but I would have more invested with it in Orlando. I would have airfare and shipping charges and potentially higher hotel stay too. It's simply more of a risk.

Why are there no haunts in Orlando? ... Haunts cant complete with all those major amusement parks. Why are there few haunts in FL in general? ... The high price of property value makes it very difficult to open and be successful in FL.

This overview is only specific to my situation. Bottomline, I loved HauntCon and only wish wish wish they'd change their location for 2010, so that I could better rationalize attending next year, because I SOOOO want to go again. And, I absolutley encourage everyone to attend Hauntcon!!!


05-04-2009, 04:26 PM

Your comments on the business aspect of it make sense. I hope that you sold those people I commented to when I passed those times.

Glad you had a good time. Maybe you can drag the boss to Columbus. lol

Killer Katie
05-04-2009, 04:46 PM
I can see both sides, having good friends with a booth and being an educator...
There needs to be a more efficient way to get the customers to have their time on the floor and have the educational part as well. I will be emailing some suggestions for this to Leonard.
Apart from that, I had a blast! Met a lot of very nice, very creative people. And got a lot of positive feedback about the seminars I taught.
I was pleased with the way the staff as well, they were very helpful and super friendly!!
It was worth the 8 hr drive there and back, and the speed "warning" I got on the way home :)

05-04-2009, 05:18 PM
I will have to agree with Patti 110%. The amount of vendor booths at Hauntcon where down. You can claim economy but look at Transworld the booths where sky high! I hear a lot of comments about the seminars and that there are way to many and it hurts the tradeshow floor. I think this could be one of the main reasons why some vendors didn't go back.

I said this before and I will say it again... Hauntcon should go to a 110% haunt tour slash seminar event, and skip the show floor all together or they need to balence it out some. Having seminars overlap the tradeshow floor constantly does hurt the vendors and their gripes should be heard.

I know some vendors griped about Transworld but they had the seminars one hour apart from each other. Maybe Hauntcon should do the same as Patti has suggested or simply go to a haunt tour seminar only event. If they did that they could cut all those costs of renting a hall selling booths and all of that.

It really should be an either or thing... either cut the floor out and then really hit the seminars and tours harder with a party as they have now or put more weight into the tradeshow floor and give those vendors more breathing room between seminars.

I will say this Hauntcon even had seminars stretching into Monday when technically the show was over... they have more seminars than you can shake a stick at! LOL


05-04-2009, 09:30 PM
This being the first Hauntcon I've gone to. I thought it was the biggest waste of $40. I pretty much paid $40 for a stupid bag. I've seen more props and masks at a garage sale. Vendors listed on Hauntcons website were not even their. Distortions was the biggest disappointment, did this guy drive up in a Geo Metro? 3 maybe 4 props, and to bring the lamest ones. I thought shows like this you'd want to bring the "good stuff". Maybe next year, when Hauntcon comes around I'll just save my money and go to Spirit Halloween store and piss away 10 grand on the crap they sell.

Patti Ludwinski
05-04-2009, 09:56 PM
Brett, THANK YOU for being a walking testimonial for me!...That was awesome. I'd be selling someone on the benefits of a HauntWorld banner ad campaign and Brett Molitor would be walking by, poke his head into the conversation, and tell the haunter "DO IT. IT WORKS!" Not just once, but 2 or 3 times. God love ya, Brett. That was one of the highlights I talked with Larry about as soon as I got home. Larry too thought that was awesome of ya...Thanks!!!


Jolly Pumpkin
05-04-2009, 10:30 PM
She must have been moving around a little when she took the photos. They aren't that bad, but not good enough for a magazine.

05-05-2009, 12:40 AM

You are right not good enough... I don't know what her deal was! LOL

Usually when I go to shows I don't take pictures of people standing around just the vendors..all the people care about is seeing what was in the booths nothing more. Yeah it looked pretty dead in the photos because the photos where taken on Sunday.

As for the one person who was ripping on Hauntcon, let me say this. I agree with you on one hand and don't on another. I agree with you and I have been saying this for years... even though some shows hype themselves up as something they really aren't, (NHC comes to mind), they misrepresent not only their own show but the whole industry.

NHC is not a national haunt convention, and Hauntcon is not a national haunt convention either. I don't like them being called that because when they do get a media person to check out the show, based on the show title the reporter might think this is it, this is the haunt industry, and their end impression is small, not that big, not really worthy of major press.

I like what MHC does because they say clear as day its a midwest show, its not a NATIONAL SHOW, why did EHC change to National??? THEY ARE NOT NATIONAL...they don't spend a dime from where I'm sitting on marketing so why NATIONAL?

Some people who have never been to these shows think they are one thing when really they are not. Rich Strelak wrote an article about this subject, and he stated FACTS, he outlined that these shows have a place, but why misrepresent them as something they are not.

I think in the long run Hauntcon would be better served as spelling out exactly what it is SEMINARS SEMINARS SEMINARS and HAUNT TOURS AND MORE HAUNT TOURS and dump the tradeshow floor all together and just sell tables outside seminar rooms or something.

Make it a haunted house owner gathering chalk filled with education and tours. I think that is more valuable and is more of the reality in my mind.

Me personally I will not promote NHC because I think its being mis-represented as something its not and in a market like Philly could make us look like we're small when really we are huge!

I wish they would change their names back to EHC just like MHC and I think Hauntcon should be just that Hauntcon not this whole National Haunted House Tradeshow and Convention or whatever.

If you remove some of the tag lines, some of the weaker elements how can you ever disagree that Hauntcon is one of the best times to be had by haunt owners?

Come, relax, learn, drink and let your hair down!

In the end I don't know how all the vendors did but I do think Hauntworld Magazine had a great experience at Hauntcon and will go back! We will also attend MHC because it represents itself as exactly what it is and it does play a very important roll in the industry.

I think in the end most haunters now are socialites, and Hauntcon and MHC really fill those rolls nice! I think Transworld was very stressfull for may people especially vendors. Transworld is BUSINESS all BUSINESS and Hauntcon is nothing but a GREAT TIME!!!!!!

Based on what Patti is saying or has said to me, Hauntcon was 10 times more fun than Transworld, but Transworld is business!

I will personally attend Hauntcon in 2010 with my kids in toe... I'll be there!


05-05-2009, 01:17 AM
But Larry your site is HauntWORLD...and I dont see any listings for China or Aussyland...does this mean you should change your name to Haunts of The United States and Surrounding areas? HAHA I do agree that NHC should go back to EHC but just becuase NHC sounds waayyy to much like MHC

RJ Productions
05-05-2009, 02:04 AM

You are right in that it would be better to report first hand. That is why my comments have nothing to do with the amount of people in attendance, seminars, haunt tours, or anything that requires a first hand knowledge to comment on.

My comments have to do with procedures, policies..things that can be commented on. Would I like to attend personally? Sure. the only problem being that I have been banned from attending! Yep. In fact Studio Tek was considering showing at HC and since I help Robert at his booth, Mr. Pickel informed Robert that I would not be allowed access to the show. Robert states, "you mean to tell me you are going to dictate who a can and can't have in my own booth?" and again Leonard states that it is his show and I will not be allowed access to it.

My daughter moved to Chicago and was visiting friends in Racine. She asked if it would a problem attending HC. I told her she should be OK but the last name is a litle usual.. She was questioned with "gee this name sounds familar" and the like but she didn't say she was my daughter so there wasn't a hassle.

She liked the show. She wasn't able to attend the haunt tours. She, like many others said the show floor was small and attendance was very low, but it was Sunday so I am sure a percentage of people were traveling back home. She found everyone friendly and helpful and said she'd go to another if it was in the Midwest area again.

So like Larry, I did not attend personally, but had family members attend. My comments only question policies that could be detrimental to the continued succes of the show. I might want to meet my daughter in Chicago and attend a show sometime in the future! Who knows, by then maybe I'll even get admittance!!!

Killer Katie
05-05-2009, 07:03 AM
What were the situations and circumsatnces that came to you being banned?
Just a curiousity and more rhetorical question.

05-05-2009, 09:23 AM

Hauntworld has listings from other natons yes we do. Click on International. In fact Tater we have some haunts from England that want us to create a section for England. EHC is NOT a National show period!

I simply would like to see shows reprsent themselves as what they are not what they are not. EHC is not the national haunters convention. IF that is what they want to be then they should kick up the national maketing.

Anyway... bottom line is Hauntcon for me is something I want to support and offer my suggestions too. I hope Leonard reads all the comments made by everyone here and thinks about everything.

We should bullet point them such as the seminars taking away from the show floor, seminars quality over quantity, and well Orlando maybe not the best spot but I'm sure he'll make it work!


Patti Ludwinski
05-05-2009, 09:48 AM
For the record, I am not a photographer for HauntWorld Magazine. I am a SALES REP for HauntWorld Magazine. I was taking those pics with my own little camera to show Larry pics of the show he missed. That's all. Larry never asked me to take pics for the upcoming magazine or anything. Larry didnt give me his high-powered camera to take pics with. If that's what he wanted, he shouldve communicated that to me. So I'm off the hook! LOL.


05-05-2009, 11:44 AM
There is a popular tradeshow seminar that goes around the country doing presentations and about the first slide they put up is one that says “Tradeshows with national in the title bring is more buyers”.

Gee wonder if they attended that seminar???? lol

05-05-2009, 05:45 PM
This was my third hauntcon. I have been to Michigans, and the Texas/NewOrleans one last year. I have also been to TW in Chicago & in St Louis and I have been to MHC 2-3 times.

I think LP puts on a good convention. Was it as big as Chicago or St Louis, NO. Did I learn more than in St Louis? Heck yes!! I am not willing to pay $40-$50 for a single seminar at St Louis unless it is a hell of a seminar. I attended a handfull of seminars and bought stuff at the show. The tours were great, my only complaint at many of them was the VERY long wait. I mean, I know it is because haunters go through at a snails pace, but sometimes they had 5 min between groups.

The costume ball seemed to bea lot of fun. I say seemed like it because I had to leave early due to a prior commitment, but from what I saw the costumes were great and the party was getting into mid gear when I left at 10.

Len & Jen are one of the reasons I like Hauntcon. Len is a great guy and actually goes out of his way to say hi and talk to people, something I find very cool, especially with everything he has going on.

There were some new vendors and some with smaller booths, but I still found some cool props I had overlooked at St Louis, or some I decided I had to have after St Louis.

I decided to attend the Bad Boys class on Monday, the all day seminar and it was well worth the money and I would strongly suggest for all to take it. They built a 8x12' tomb complete with distressed skeletons and mini spotlights. I picked up quite a few new ideas I had not thought of. At the end of the seminar they auctioned off the set, an 8x12 tomb and I was the high bidder. Having a haunt in Wisconsin, 30 min from TOF, worked out great because today they hand delivered the set to my storage building.

I am not sure what everyone is complaing about, I thought the convention was great, I met haunters from all over the country including North Carolina, TX, England, China, and Japan, so it is a NATIONAL convention.

Hope I can make it to Orlando next April....

05-05-2009, 06:34 PM
Id love to see a pic of the Tomb that you bought! :)

05-05-2009, 07:52 PM
I don't know how good all of the hauntcon seminars where or if any of them had top notch advice because I didn't attend. However I can say when you have 50 something seminars there has to be good info in there somewhere, so to say the show isn't worth 40 or 50 bucks is not accurate.

Information in this industry is undervalued, and people are critical of anything they pay for if it isn't earth shattering. Was Hauntcon worth $50 bucks I'm sure it was and I didn't even attend.

People who own haunts need to realize that education is the most important asset you can put your fingers on, more important than any animation, prop or whatever. Hauntcon was well worth the price of addmission no doubt about it. I would pay the fee without even a second guess... information is very important to your business very important.

People should buy everything they can get their hands on as long as the information is important to your business.

I agree!


05-05-2009, 10:30 PM
Not that it's a big deal, but to clarify, $40 gets you a single day pass and even then, I'm not sure if that included seminars or just floor access.

$95 was the entire 3 day registration. From those that I spoke to that did take the seminars, it was well worth it.

As I said, myself and our designer went. Between hotel lodging, the 2-day Pre-Con tour, the Thursday and Friday night tours, weekend registration and fuel, we easily put out $1200. Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY. We went to St Louis to BUY. We went to HauntCon (and the tours) to LEARN. If you can learn something new and get 100 patrons to come back the next season because of something you learned on the trip, the trip paid for itself.

That being said, we ended up buying a few odds and ends at HauntCon as well. I picked up some CD's from JJ @ RFR, the latest issue of 13th Hour and we made the decision to re-light our entire haunt with LED spots from Kim and Bert at MiniSpotlight.

I can't wait until Orlando, sans unneeded false drama :roll:

05-05-2009, 10:38 PM
Those mini-spotlights are the most addictive haunt item on the planet. Awesome stuff.

05-06-2009, 08:22 AM
Due to circumstances beyong my control, I was unable to attend the tours, but everyone who I talked to said they ROCKED! The only complaint I heard was the lines.

As a non-haunt owner and going to HC primarily to work for RFR, I found the seminars to be VERY informative. My only complaint was that three of the Saturday morning seminars that I really wanted to attend were being held at the same time. I guess that happens everywhere though. I gathered a bunch of information and networked with a lot of new people. It was great to see everyone that I hadn't seen since MHC too. I can't attend MHC this year due to scheduling conflicts so I decided to attend HC and I'm glad I did.

Listen to RFR this week AND next to find out what you missed...

chuck weber
05-09-2009, 10:10 AM
Enough of the sugar-coating on how great hauntcon was.