July 29, 2007
Rex B. Hamilton reports on the 2007 Midwest Haunters Convention
Greetings, Fellow Haunters:
Around 1,200 spookers attended the 2007 Midwest Haunters Convention in Columbus, Ohio two weekends ago. It is an attendance record that the show’s four producers, Kelly Collins, Kathy Schieferstein, Neena Collins and Barry Schieferstein, can rightly be proud of.
As in previous years, I was a seminar instructor at MHC. My session this year focused upon some of the mentally dumb things that actors sometimes do, and positively should not ever do.
But that was minor compared to the big job that faced me during my four-day visit. I blogged the convention for a Web site called hauntedreport dot com. You can see my entire array of blog entries at either www.hauntedreport.com or www.midwesthaunters.com. The posts are arranged in descending chronological order.
(Under normal circumstances, I would write several review pages about MHC. But this year, I’ll let the blog posts provide that information.)
This was my first experience at blogging, and it might well be my last. Like most people, I’m still learning what the heck blogging really means. Shooting in the dark, I decided that I would try to put up three posts (with embedded photographs) each day. According to other haunters to whom I spoke on the subject of my blogging strategy, I made a big mistake. They told me that once a day is the accepted norm in the world of blogs.
Personally, I’m glad I set high standards for myself. I am happiest when I can be a ground-breaker in the haunt industry. Perhaps someone will come along in 2008 and do an even better job than I already have.
I did not get the chance to enjoy the convention as much as I would have liked to because I was constantly searching out news items and taking digital photos for my next post. But I had given my word to HauntedReport and the four MHC producers, and I am most grateful for the marvelous opportunity. When HauntedReport approached the producers for a convention blogger about two months ago, they kindly recommended me. What a delight!
By the time my early Sunday afternoon class began, I was pretty much blogged out. The chance to talk to about 25 producers and actors (instead of cowpunch a keyboard) about some of the mentally dumb things that haunt actors sometimes do (and should never, ever) was a welcome break.
I took advantage of that group by posing this question to them: “If you were a thousand miles away from Columbus and could not attend MHC, what would you want? Would you want a weekend-long blog of the convention, or a one-hour live Webcast on Saturday morning from the vendor floor?” More than two thirds of my students raised their hands for a live Webcast. There were zero votes for a blog. I now know what my big job will be at the 2008 MHC.
Next year, 2008, should be a fascinating one in the world of haunt conventions in the center of the country. TransWorld will take place in faraway Las Vegas. HAuNTCon will travel all the way across the country from Detroit to Houston. Midwest Haunters Convention will return to the largest building in Columbus, the Convention Center. No other structure in our state’s capital city can now accommodate the show.
Another change: the show dates will switch from mid-July to mid-June. They are posted on the MHC’s home page right now. And if you are a vendor, you can reserve your booth space for the 2008 convention right now. Oh, what a tangled web of dark intrigue we haunters weave.
It would not surprise me if some of the smaller, regional gatherings see a marked increase in attendance next year. Ironstock, way at the very bottom of Indiana in Tell City, will probably benefit because it is already a rather large affair. The Pennsylvania Gathering of Haunters near Harrisburg might be forced to search for a new location. This Memorial-Day-weekend show has nearly maxed out the historic church under whose roof it has gathered for several years now. Drawing primarily from south-central Pennsylvania and the northern half of Maryland, this show needs room to grow. The Great Lakes Fright Fest near the Michigan-Ohio border seems to get stronger with every passing June.
It is my understanding that there are two different summertime gatherings for East Coast haunters. Year after year, I see posts for a group of Texas haunters who get together for convivial dinners. Since the Dallas-Ft.Worth metroplex has such a large number of haunts, those dinners must be a jolly good time. There have been a few rumors (none recently) that a group of Chicago-area haunters might attempt to put on a convention in Chi-town around the same time that TransWorld takes place in Vegas.
My sincere thanks go out to the producers of MHC and everyone who attended. It’s a wonderful thing to have one of the top haunt conventions take place just a couple of hours’ drive away. Next’s year’s convention holds promise to be better than ever. I look forward to meeting you then.
Very truly yours,
Rex B. Hamilton
13939 Clifton Boulevard
Lakewood, Ohio 44107-1462