As a vendor who didn't have a specific product to sell, I went to Halloween Extreme both because it was in Orlando and I could take the family, AND because it was a new convention that sounded intriguing. I had a blast and promoted the radio show to many people who had never heard of us. We've experienced a spike in DL's for the show so I know that our trip was a success in that aspect. I know there were some bumps and miscommunications between the two shows but they were ironed out pretty quickly.
It was interesting to talk with so many people who did work in home, small, and charity haunts. They are the future of this industry and several of them told me they were there because they were going to open a 'professional' haunt in the next 1-2 years. Some of them had attended HAuNTcon in 2010 and were glad that there was another con here. I saw a LOT of crossover with May-Hem and many of those attendees were blown away with the products the HE vendors offered. I was across from the Creature Revenge booth and Carter had constant crowds admiring his Alien Splitter and Nosteratu Racer. This was his first tradeshow and I put him in touch with Barry at MHC so hopefully he can vend there. He did sell his human fly animatronic so I know that there were some big sales going on. The crowds seemed to increase on Saturday and even Sunday appeared to have good numbers before I left the booth in the capable hands of the Unknown Scare Actor.
The hotel was stellar. The local restaurants were good, and you have Disney, Seaworld, and Universal within a 10 minute drive. I took the kids to Florida for the first time and was able to stay at Disney on Friday until 4:30am (I think Tater made it even later) and a good chunk of Sunday at Universal. It was a working vacation for me and I took advantage of it. Sitting in the hot tub with Naomi Grossman, Kathleen from Fright Props, and Allen Hopps talking shop on Sunday night was also fun.
Will I be back? Absolutely. I have heard several vendors say that they weren't pleased with their sales outcomes, but I've heard that from vendors at every tradeshow and convention I've ever been to. Now that people sort of know how the two shows play out together I hope vendors will give Halloween Extreme another chance as I think it's a unique show that does have some very nice selling points.
Overall grade - B+