Haunted House Magazine is the World's #1 source for finding haunted houses to learning how to build haunted houses! Hauntworld Magazine is the only Haunted House Magazine used by professional haunt owners and operators. With Subscribers across the WORLD Hauntworld Magazine helps you learn the latest trends to the best ways to make your haunts profitable to finding haunted houses across America. If you are looking for how to DVD's visit www.HauntedHouseSupplies.com


Subscriptions & Back Issue


BUY a subscription to Hauntworld Magazine TODAY.  Your subscription will start with the current issue or the next issue.  You will receive four issues per subscription.  Issues are full color anywhere between 50 pages to 100 pages. Each magaizne is jam packed with articles from the best industry minds offering how-to tips on marketing, building haunts, scares, and much more.

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Hauntworld Magazine Back Issues

Hauntworld Issue 50 includes feature articles on Headless Horseman and Creepyworld.  We have a deep dive article from 13th Gate Haunted House on how to build a profitable midway. 
Hauntworld Magazine issue 49 will teach you secrets on how to increase revenue thru midway attractions. 
Hauntworld Magazine 48 is one of the biggest magaiznes we've ever produced.  Several haunt features, learn all about flying rigs, how to open your haunt year around and starting a Christmas attraction.
Issue 47 features four different haunted houses, and how to articles about digital marketing, creating radio commercials and how to create signs for your attraction.  Get this full color 48 page issue today! 
The latest issue of Hauntworld Magazine will feature all the haunted happenings for the Transworld Show along with multiple featured articles.  This issue we cover the famous Queen Mary and their haunted events along with Woods of Terror from North Carolina. 

Hauntworld Magazine will also features several articles to help haunt owners expand, and increase profits.  One article presented behind the team from Queen Mary will talk about how they offer beer sales to other upsales to generate hundreds of thousands of additional revenue.  The staff of Hauntworld will also write an article that deals with coorporate haunts and amusement parks hurting the small haunt owners.  How can you deal with corporate invaders?  How can you compete with major amusement parks?
Hauntworld Magazine features three haunts including Trail of Terror, Statesville Haunted Prison and Brighton Asylum.  Hauntworld Magazine issue 45 is jam packed with information to help you create a digital marketing plan to increase attendance.  Get your issue now! 
Hauntworld Magazine Issue 44 features Rise Haunted House, Rise Escape Room and a review of DC Escape Live.  Additionally learn how to build a 3 minute escape room, top 10 tips for operating a successful escape room plus much more.  Other articles feature security information for your haunted house and learn secrets to sell more online tickets.  Jam packed issue. 

Hauntworld Magazine is now the industry magazine for haunted attractions, hayrides, escape rooms, corn mazes, and anything related to Halloween. 

Issue 43 gives the inside secrets to the success of one of the most successful haunted houses in America Netheworld located in Atlanta

 Hauntworld Issue 42 offers feature articles of Factory of Terror and Nightmare Nashville plus how to articles from Haunted Overload and much more.  

 Hauntworld Magazine Issue 41 is finally HERE!  Issue 41 is our best issue EVER because we focus on teaching you HOW to operate your haunted attraction in a year around setting.  Learn how to utilize your attraction year around to generate income from Escape Games, Zombie Laser Tag to Christmas Shows.  Learn everything inside issue 41. 

Hauntworld Magazine Issue 40 might be the single best most educational magazine we've produced as this issue helps you start your own escape game, high tech lighting for outdoor haunts, and an article from Larry Kirchner on how to get the edge on your competition this Halloween season.  The issue also includes new products from vendors, a featured haunted house article and much more! 

Hauntworld Magazine Issue 39 features several how to articles to help your haunted house business including how to set up retail, how to do make up quickly, haunted hayride safety, and social media marketing.  Issue 39 also features Legends of the Fog, and extreme haunts feature.

Hauntworld Magazine issue 38 features five different haunted house, articles on how to build your own 3D haunted house, state of the industry and much more.  Each magazine helps you learn how to own and operate a successful haunted house.

Hauntworld Magazine issue 37 features four haunted attractions plus learn marketing tips for your haunt, plus the main focus is about EXTREME haunted houses the do and the dont.  Get this issue now.  Released July 20, 2014. 

Hauntworld Magazine Issue 36 features 64 full color pages of content to help haunt owners grow and develope their business.  Featured articles from Larry Kirchner, Ben Armstrong, and Dwayne Sandbugh including how to renovate your haunt article plus five featured haunt profiles.

Hauntworld Magazine Issue 35 is jam packed with 5 haunted house features, how to create your own corn maze, secrets to create online web traffic and all the details about the haunt shows and tours. 

Hauntworld Magazine Issue 34 is a special edition with focus on how to be succesful owning and operating SCREAMPARKS!  Learn what types of attractions, what to charge, when to open and how to operate a haunted Screampark.  Featured haunts including Verdun Manor, Dead End Hayride, Darkwood Manor and 100 Acres Manor plus much more.

Hauntworld Magazine Issue 33 features two major haunted houses including Bennetts Curse and Pure Terror Haunted House and several how to articles from Netherworld's Ben Armstrong, Allen Hopps, and much more.  Learn how to make your haunted house more successful with Hauntworld Magazine.

HauntWorld Magazine Issue 32 features articles on how to build the ultimate crypts, how to use facebook to promote your haunted house and much more!  Learn how to promote, operate and create the best haunted houses with Hauntworld Magazine

Hauntworld Magazine Issue 31 features Screampark Haunted House and a review of Cutting Edge Haunted House in Dallas.  Additionally a review of all the latest on Zombie Mania, the future of haunted house industry plus the top 10 most unique locations for a haunted house and much more. 

Hauntworld Magazine Issue 30 is the largest all color magazine we've ever produced.  Issue 30 includes 76 full color pages featuring four haunted house attractions, top 20 haunts all time, how to create a giant outdoor monsters 'clownzilla' and much more. 

Hauntworld Magazine Issue 29 is the largest all color magazine we've ever printed with over 80 pages of content.  Learn how to make a giant clownzilla, or how to entertain your customers in line at your haunted house.  Learn more about the 13th Floor Haunted Houses and much more.  Subscribe today and save or buy this single issue.

Hauntworld Magazine features three amazing haunted houses including USS Nightmare, Realm of Darkness and the massive Terror Behind the Walls.

• Headless Horseman, New York
• Nightmare On 13th, Utah
• 12 Things That Changed The Industry
• Being Monsters
• Gift Store Observations
• QR Codes and more!

Hauntworld Magazine issue 26 is jam packed with three featured haunted houses, and in addition learn how to improve air throughout your haunt, haunt show information and much more.

Hauntworld Magazine Issue 25 is the biggest issue to date with feature articles on FOUR major haunted houses.  Additionally learn how to expand your attraction with several how to articles.

HauntWorld Magazine Issue #24, Featuring:

  • The Dent Schoolhouse
  • The Edge of Hell
  • The Beast
  • Macabre Cinema
  • The Chambers Of Edgar Allan Poe
  • To Buy or Not to Buy
  • Negotiating a Commercial Lease
  • Creating a Room to Fit a Theme



HauntWorld Magazine issue #23, Featuring:

  • Haunted Overload
  • Fright Kingdom
  • Tips to Produce Professional Photos
  • Creating a Haunt Video
  • Creating An Undead Horse From Scratch
  • Northern Fears: Scary Synergy


HauntWorld Magazine Issue #22, Featuring:

  • Atrox Factory
  • Graystone Manor
  • Learn scare tactics from the Alabama haunt owners
  • Social Media Marketing 
  • Animals in Haunted Attractions
  • Secrets to Efficient Lines & Smoother Ticket Sales

HauntWorld Magazine Issue #21, Featuring:

  • House of Torment
  • A central control room can create more efficient haunt operations
  • Building The Ultimate Facade
  • A review of Universal Studios House of Horrors CA
  • Haunt Quality / Film Quality

HauntWorld Magazine Issue #20, Featuring:

  • Netherworld Haunted House
  • Que Line Entertainment
  • Parking Lot Actors
  • Make-up & Costuming 
  • Big Monsters, Small Price Tag 
  • and more!

HauntWorld Magazine Issue #19, Featuring:

  • Bates Motel in Pennsylvania
  • Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory in Ohio
  • Explore the history of the modern day haunted house industry
  • Post-show reports: Transworld, Eastern Haunt Convention
  • and more!

HauntWorld Magazine Double Issue #17-18, Featuring:

  • The 13th Gate
  • 7 Floor of Hell
  • Building The Ultimate Trailer Haunt 
  • Eight to Eighty: Growing Attendance Numbers
  • Keep Actors Coming Back Year After Year
  • Marketing Tips 2008
  • Making Timed Ticketing Work For You

HauntWorld Magazine Issue #16, Featuring:

  • Kersey Valley Spookywoods Haunted Attraction
  • Learn all the ins and outs of outdoor haunts
  • Make money at your haunt through daytime events
  • Creating a Corn Maze
  • Plus articles from Ben Armstrong, Eric Lowther and Tony Wohlgemuth


HauntWorld Magazine Issue #15, Featuring:

  • Rocky Point Haunted House
  • How to make money selling pumpkins & more
  • Tampa Busch Gardens
  • Universal Horror Nights
  •  Disney

HauntWorld Magazine Issue #14, Featuring:

  • Paintball Monster Safari
  • Top Haunts of 2006
  • Make Money with Gift Shop
  • Do It Yourself Masks
  • Social Networking Sites
  • Advance Tickets Stimulate Sale


HauntWorld Magazine Issue #13, Featuring:

  • FrightWorld
  • The Future of the Net
  • Successfully Create & Promote the ULTIMATE Website
  • Internet Marketing
  • Cost-effective Scenic Designs
  • The Value of Education

HauntWorld Magazine Issue #12


DO NOT ORDER this issue

We are all SOLD OUT and do not anticipate printing more at this time.

Hauntworld Magazine Double Issue #10-11


DO NOT ORDER this issue

We are all SOLD OUT and do not anticipate printing more at this time.


HauntWorld Magazine Issue #9


  • Universal's Revenge Of The Mummy
  • Top 13 Revealed 
  • How to create an investor ready business plan
  • Universal's Van Helsing's Fortress Dracula
  • An Investor Ready Business Plan
  • The BOCA article
  • and more!

Hauntworld Magazine Double Issue #7-8


DO NOT ORDER this issue

We are all SOLD OUT and do not anticipate printing more at this time.

Hauntworld Magazine Double Issue #5-6


DO NOT ORDER this issue

We are all SOLD OUT and do not anticipate printing more at this time.

Hauntworld Magazine Double Issue #3-4


  • Headless Horesman Haunted Hayride
  • Haunted Pre-Shows
  • Cave Design & Construction
  • Amusement Park Haunts
  • Harkleroad Haunting 101
  • What's Your Line? Developing Character Actors
  • Inflatables and Halloween
  • Que Line entertainment 

Hauntworld Magazine Issue #2


DO NOT ORDER this issue

We are all SOLD OUT and do not anticipate printing more at this time.

HauntWorld Magazine #1


DO NOT ORDER this issue

We are all SOLD OUT and do not anticipate printing more at this time.

Fri, August 20, 2021
 The Character Matrix:
A Clear And Simple Way To Help Haunt Actors Develop Characters Fast!

Ben Armstrong - NETHERWORLD Haunted House www.Fearworld.com
As we know, the most important and difficult thing to develop in a haunted attraction is a well trained staff. The goal of the CHARACTER MATRIX is to give your cast the tools to get up to speed on their characters fast!
The act of building and opening a haunt is an out of control roller coaster ride and for many the last thing we do is hire a staff, get them looking scary and send them into the gloom to await the first customers. Even when you have the time for training there are always mid-season actors that have to be brought on line without delay. So once assigned to a position what are your actors supposed to do? Well certain things are obvious. Any basically designed room has some sort of obvious place for the actor to hide, or a clear place for them to be seen doing whatever that room requires them to do. Almost anyone you hire (Well almost anyone!) will understand that if you dress them like a clown and put them in a clown room they are supposed to “act” like a clown. So say for example we have a drop panel for them to use in the clown room. It is pretty clear they are supposed to slam down the panel shocking the patrons and do something “funny“. But the next step is the tough one: how do they interact AFTER that?
So let’s begin with some of the basic haunt acting descriptions from the Ohio/Bloodview/Scab 5 school of thought to set the stage for the discussion.

A) PRESENTATION: How the actor looks: the make-up, the costume , the mask, etc.
B) APPROACH: How the actor reveals to the patron, i.e. a drop panel, curtain, pops out from around a corner, was in sight the entire time (for atmospheric characters, trapped people, actors working at a task, like a butcher chopping meat, et al)
C) INTERACTION: What happens between the actor and the guest - The “act” of delivering lines, startling the guest, etc.

The CHARACTER MATRIX is designed primarily to help your actors with the INTERACTION but it can also affect the PRESENTATION and the APPROACH.
First comes the obvious: what is the TYPE and OCCUPATION of the character? What I mean is for example the TYPE could be a CLOWN, the occupation could be a DOCTOR. So we have a clown doctor - that alone gives your actor much better guidance than just being a CLOWN.
Now we go to the MATRIX. Pick One PRIMARY TRAIT and one or two SECONDARY TRAITS that make sense. That may even be too much, it really depends how elaborate you want to get with the act.

A) Determine actor TYPE (Vampire, Werewolf, Clown, etc.)
B) Determine actor OCCUPATION (Doctor, Cook, Gravedigger, Butler etc.)
C) Pick one PRIMARY TRAIT and one or two SECONDARY TRAITS that do not conflict with each other.

Find the DESCRIPTORS under the TRAIT and use them to flesh out your act.
Self Sacrifice
Kill for Fun
Talk to themselves
Gibberish Nonsense
Self Mutilation
Nonsensical Motivations
Motivation/Personality Shifts
Be Afraid of Nothing/Everything
Scared Brave
Share Knowledge
Pass Judgments
Order people around
Gather Data
Espouse Science
Act Clumsy
Ask Dumb Questions
Talk/Move Simple/Slow
Be Affectionate/Angry
Be Easily Fooled

Now let’s take our CLOWN DOCTOR. Let’s say the PRIMARY TRAIT is he is SMART. The SECONDARY TRAIT is that he is INSANE. Now go to the DESCRIPTORS under the Trait and pick out a few that work for you and go to town! Our Clown Doctor can be very Bossy (Smart characters tend to order others around) but since he is insane his orders are nonsensical. For example when folks enter his scene he might say, “The operation is about to begin! You will be my assistant. Give me the rubber chicken. I wish to make the incision!”
The goal is to give FAST direction to your actors, to give them something to work with that can really help flesh out a character in no time at all. So if they are playing a Ghostly Butler, make them OLD and GOOD, so now maybe in a very slow and cranky way they are trying to warn (Help) the patrons about the horrors ahead.
Someone playing a WEREWOLF might play it differently if they were told to be a YOUNG werewolf. You could play a GOBLIN as ANIMALISTIC or as COMICAL. Even within a Trait there could be many differences. Our ANIMALISTIC GOBLIN could be cowering, i.e. afraid of the patrons or it could be stalking them or putting on a show of intimidation.

Dialogue will naturally come once you merge the TYPE, OCCUPATION and several TRAIT SETS, but in many cases BODY LANGUAGE and or the APPROACH is the thing the actor will understand as many characters won’t even have dialog in their act.
So there you have it… a very SIMPLE EASY way to give your actors something more to go on than just the room and costume. Do you have a Zombie horde and you want to make them different from each other? Easy! Make some YOUNG, some OLD, some STUPID and some INSANE. Now you have variety! The CHARACTER MATRIX is by all means not finished. You can add endless TRAITS and DESCRIPTORS to it. It is more of a shorthand way of thinking to get the crew rolling. When your actors come to casting to get assignments you can hand out a few TRAITS along with the costume, and it will help a great deal with the performance.

There are certain trait sets that lend themselves to certain Haunted House Characters. Here are a few obvious ones to start with but you can make up a million of them… use these as an example and have fun!

Nazgul /Wraith Trait Set
Werewolf Trait Set
Demon Trait Set -
Goblin Trait Set -
Clown Trait Set
Creeper Trait Set
Zombie Trait Set
Monster Trait Set
Vampire Trait Set
Victim Trait Set
Greeter Trait Set
Camo Creatures Trait Set
Statues/Golems Trait Set

  Posted by Larry 6.24 AM Read Comments ()
Fri, August 06, 2021

Hauntworld Opinions for TRADESHOWS 2022 / THE DARKNESS HAUNT TOUR Updates  

Let's start with is Transworld a tradeshow or a convention?  Transworld is a hybrid tradeshow/convention.  Most people do not understand the difference between a tradeshow and a convention.  Transworld is NOT a Tradeshow because they do not limit who can attend the show.  A tradeshow is typically produced for an industry, by an association for the benefit of an industry.  For example IAAPA (Amusement Park) association produces the annual TRADESHOW in Orlando every November.  IAAPA is over 700,000 square feet of amusement, rides, games, food, and much more with tours of major theme parks and local attractions.  IAAPA is a TRADESHOW without question.  We strongly advice you to attend IAAPA at least once every other year learn more at www.IAAPA.org 

Watch everyone's favorite Carpetbagger give you a tour of IAAPA 2019.  IAAPA was canceled in 2020 but will return on November 16-19, 2021 with rumored tour of Disney's new Star Wars land.  Should haunt vendors exhibit at IAAPA?  Hmmm... maybe!  IAAPA is NOT a buyers show, very few people run around with check books buying things it's more of a get leads show.  IAAPA is hands down the biggest amusement show on planet earth.  If I was going to advice a vendor to attempt ANY show other than Transworld it would be IAAPA hands down.  As someone in the haunt or escape room industry, I would advice you to attend because you'll find many things at IAAPA you will not find at Transworld. 

Getting back to Transworld in my opinion Transworld is NOT a Tradeshow because there are way too many enthusiasts, actors, and fans of Halloween in attendance.  Allowing all these people into the show doesn't help vendors because vendors only have so many hours in a day to talk to REAL BUYERS! Let's face reality there isn't 10,000 haunted house industry buyers not today, not tomorrow not ever.  If we were to combine escape room and haunt buyers together we're talking maybe 1,000 to 2,000  buyers.  Vendors would benefit from Transworld raising the entry price to $200.00 per person to weed out a lot of the non-buyers and get the show back to a strict TRADESHOW!   A case can be made that Transworld is a Tradeshow because it brings real buyers and sellers together, it just needs to nix out all the non-buyers to be considered a real TRUE Tradeshow.  With all that being said Transworld is the ONLY show in my opinion that ANY vendor should attend if they can only afford one show.

Unfortunately most haunt vendors do NOT understand how to make money or run a successful business.  Vendors from the haunt community need to realize there is nothing wrong with making a profit.  Do not price your products based on what someone else is doing and never apologize for your price.  Vendors greatly benefit from having one show because that minimizes expenses and keeps you in the shop filling orders.  Furthermore we hear all this talk about creating multiple shows for vendors who can't afford Transworld.  So let me see if I'm getting this straight... Transworld GETS ALMOST EVERYONE to attend.  Transworld gets all the press all the youtube views, facebook views, its spread across the World via social media but you can't afford it?   What?  If you're trying to create a successful business then you have to jump in with two feet!  When a show as successful as Transworld which is perfect for your product line being a part of that show is vital!  You shouldn't be thinking about building up to Transworld by attending shows almost no one attends because over price.  That is ridiculous.  As I pointed out attending tradeshows cost the SAME no matter how big or small the only difference is the cost of a booth.  So attending Transworld might cost a bit more for a booth, but look at the benefits.  EVERYONE talks about the show all year long, they attend the show in force, both buyers and vendors, and the national press and social media hits are off the chart. Can other shows say the same?  What other show can bring that many buyers in one weekend to see your product? 


I would agree many vendors don't have a lot of money, which is why there needs to be ONE SINGLE SHOW, where you can expect to show your product to the entire community all in one shot.  Some delusional people mention how great it would be to have multiple events scattered across the country but those people don't understand the cost a vendor goes thru to do a convention/tradeshow.  It doesn't matter if the show is Transworld, IAAPA or MHC it all costs the same... hotels - food - transportation and your time away from your shop.  Instead of attending some smaller convention you could be in your shop answering emails, taking phone calls, filling orders, and getting work done!  When you break away you lose an entire week if not more not to mention money.  Why don't these people chatting away on Facebook understand or even respect how much money it costs to attend shows?  That same group of people whine about how they didn't get their order on time, how vendors need to buckle up and get things done on time as promised... but at the same time you want vendors to leave their shop to hop around the country to regional shows?  What?   

Vendors and buyers should ONLY SUPPORT ONE SHOW TRANSWORLD because our industry doesn't need MHC or anything else.   Haunt Tours aren't a reason for vendors or buyers to attend a show, its a benefit but not a reason to spend thousands of dollars to travel across the country.  Bringing buyers and sellers together in one place, at one time, putting everyone on the same page this is what this industry wants and demands!  The industry is small and not overly wealthy and many are do it yourselfers who want to get back home and get to work.   Lastly, Transworld is PERFECTLY positioned for both vendors and haunt owners.  There are only THREE buying seasons for haunted house owners, dump cash before December 31st, the Transworld buyers who wants to buy at the mid-year point, and the summer buyers who need to use credit cards.  Haunt shows have been tried outside of March and all have failed including IAAPA.  Vendors need enough time to make new product, and enough time to fill orders (MARCH is the PERFECT month).  A haunted house show in any other month than March doesn't work for the industry as we know it.  

TRANSWORLD IS THE ONLY TRADESHOW YOU SHOULD INVEST YOUR TIME AND YOUR MONEY INTO if you're a vendor expecting to grow your business. Don't get me wrong there are other options to find new eyeballs, as I pointed out the second show you should consider is IAAPA.  If your company wants to branch out into family fun centers, bowling centers there are shows specific to those industries. The question is if you're companies focus is HAUNT PRODUCTS -  then putting most ofo your marbles in the Transworld basket is the smart move.   In 2021 Transworld moves back to March giving both vendors and buyers the right amount of time to conduct business again.  However I have some suggestions for Transworld...  1)  Expand the show into an Amusement Show to find vendors new customers and buyers new amusement options to expand  2)  Ditch the multiple websites and the name HAASHOW and rebrand into the Transworld Attraction Show highlighting Halloween - Christmas - Escapes - Axe Throwing - Amusement.  3)  Re-Draw the floor plan even though some vendors have already purchased booths.  The show started off as a haunt show and morphed into something bigger.  Transworld needs to create sections just like IAAPA so that they can attract more amusement vendors, food vendors, business to business.  What food vendor wants to sell food next to a bloody body?  The show needs a Halloween - Christmas -  Escape -  Amusement sections so during sales meetings with possible new clients they can clearly see the zone for their business.      Learn more about Transworld at www.haashow.com 

Midwest Haunters Convention

MHC is a clear cut CONVENTION.  MHC should be rebranded into the National Halloween Home Haunt and Enthusiasts Show.  Midwest implies its a regional convention, so why not open this baby up to the entire country of home haunts?  I  believe this will help the exhibit floor as well because now vendors can choose to purchase booths and bring products for that market.  If Transworld rebranded MHC into a national home haunt show, they could transform the main attraction show into a full fledged TRADESHOW, raise the price on buyers, and invite all the actors, home haunters and everyone between to THEIR OWN SHOW!  Makes sense right?

To be clear I've ALWAYS advocated for ONE SHOW because this industry can't afford to trot around the country.  We need an attraction show to be clearly different than the home haunt show.  Transworld should make these updates.  Just my opinion.   


Lastly, we haven't produced a Darkness haunted house tour in TWO years, and in 2022 it would be THREE seasons of renovations no one has seen.  After getting a ton of emails and phone calls expressing how important opening the haunt is to the show we've decided to open The Darkness one last time.  The Darkness will open during Transworld 2022 for ONE LAST SCREAM!   Thursday night will be an escape room behind the scenes tour with seminars.  Friday will feature The Darkness behind the scenes tour with seminars.  Saturday will feature LIVE event with actors.  At some point we might try and open Creepyworld.   


The Darkness will showcase THREE SEASONS of NEW SCREAMS in ONE LAST SCREAM TOUR!  New scenes will include a human sized doll house, and an all CNC created Devil's Domain complete with video mapping special fx.  The escape rooms will add their 7th and last escape room Jurassic island. 


Tickets will go on sale January 2022.  Tickets will be limited and sell out.  Stay tuned to Hauntworld.com for details. 

Have a great Halloween season 2021 and stay locked into Hauntworld for more how to articles.   Please update your haunt profile on Hauntworld.com 


  Posted by Larry 7.20 AM Read Comments ()
Wed, July 28, 2021

Could COVID put fear into  the 2021 Haunted House Season Again?

In one simple word...YES! Many cities have already started implementing new mask mandates and who knows what’s next.  The CDC has already issued a warning that even vaccinated people should wear masks.  Oh no; here we go again.  What should you do as a haunted house owner to prepare for the 2021 Halloween season?  We list TEN things haunts should or could do for the 2021 season and beyond.

1) OPEN FEWER DAYS: Haunted houses should open fewer days, Covid or no Covid.  In the past, haunted houses tried to open more days, earlier into September, and later into November.  Again Covid or no Covid, haunts should re-train their customers to come when you’re open. Do not give guests so many options to attend your attraction.  For starters, if you’re looking to cut expenses the easiest way to cut labor is simply by not opening as many days.  Is it really worth it to open in early September for 500 people?  You might say yes because you make money, but what if you didn’t lose those 500 people and they came a different day?  Based on that possibility, you'd actually increase your profits. Remember, it's not about how many people come thru the door; it's about how much money you have left at the end of the season. Your biggest expense is labor. You don’t need to cut the number of actors. You simply cut out how many days you’re open. As for Covid, by opening only Friday thru Sunday you give your staff 5 days between opening again to report an illness. Imagine if you’re open on a Wednesday or Thursday and then you find out…It's possible half your staff doesn’t show up on Friday.  I’d rather give myself a full five days between events to find out if anyone got sick.  An added benefit...Your staff is fired up and ready to go every weekend, producing an overall better show. 

2) WARNING SIGNS: Do NOT be caught DEAD without tons of warning signs on your website and everywhere on-site at your attraction. Warn about risks of everything from asthma to Covid.  Furthermore, you should continue to have warning sign check points asking people with recent signs of flu or fever not to attend. It doesn’t hurt you to require masks, or at the very least suggest everyone wear a mask. I hate to say this but you might have to pony up and buy more masks to have available just in case your town requires them once again.  
3) REDUCE STAFF: You should absolutely reduce staff inside your haunted house. We reduced staff inside The Darkness 2020 by 40% and heard zero guest complaints. Let's be real for a moment; if you have 100 actors, how many are actually GOOD actors? What would happen if you ran with the very best actors only? Isn’t one of the top complaints about actors not the greatest? A few bad ones can drag down the entire attraction, so why not focus on hiring only the best, and let them make your guests scream? Why did we ever hire 100-150 actors to begin with? Lightbulb: Haunts should have between 30-60 actors tops, depending on the size of the show.  Another great point...size! Why is your haunted house so long?  At The Darkness, we sold our side attraction, an add-on zombie haunt, and we replaced it with escape rooms and mini golf. Both make 100 times more money for 1/10th the operation cost.  At Creepyworld, we eliminated three entire haunted houses, while at the same time improving the overall attraction. We give the customer what I believe is the absolute best product now.  Cut out the dead weight and focus on the meat and potatoes Lastly, if you’re planning on cutting out length to your haunted house consider removing 20% of the ending and revamping into a Midway with games, escape rooms, photo ops, a retail store, concessions, and more.  Our retail stores and midways at both Darkness and Creepyworld are real money makers! Remember this, people don’t come to your haunt to get scared, so much as they come to have FUN! 
4) OPERATE AT A FASTER PACE: Haunts need to open earlier and get the party started earlier. On busy nights, we advertise a 6:45pm open time. Even if the first group doesn’t enter until 6:55, it doesn’t matter, we’re getting the ball rolling. Then once you open those doors, your through-put needs to be just as fast as you would if the place was swamped. What is better?...trying in vain to distance people inside the haunt, or having a massive line around the block? Push people through your haunted house. Allow 10-12 people into the haunt every 30 seconds and keep up the pace all night long. Some might suggest doing timed ticketing. However, this might cause fewer people to buy a ticket, and no one wants that. Buying a haunted house ticket is likely a spur of the moment thing for many. Don't discourage them from buying. 
5) CLOSE EARLY: Ever heard the song, "Freaks Come Out at Night" by Whodini? No haunted house should stay open past midnight. Right now crime is out of control and some no longer respect authority. Get your guests through your haunt safely and keep the lines short. The main cause of fights is line-cutting. Last season, several haunts saw a drastic uptick it violence at their haunts including shootings. In most cases, it started late at night over line cutting. You put yourself, your customers, and your staff at risk being open late into the night. Follow what I’m suggesting...Open earlier and run them through quicker. You'll be closed before midnight with everyone safe.
6) ADD MORE SECURITY:  You must add more security because crime is at an all time high. You can’t take chances.  Do not even second guess hiring local police to work your security detail along with your in-house security staff. Your focus should be on the back of the line where all the cutting takes place.  Another form of security is a healthy amount of line actors to keep people entertained, plus the extra eyes are helpful. Make sure you have a lot of 2-way radios inside the attraction too. We have roaming actors and maintenance crew who circle around sections of the haunt with radios checking for anything out of the ordinary. The more eyes and ears you have, the safer your attraction will be, so buy MORE radios and add more security.  
7) ADD AIR CANNONS: So you’re cutting staff, but still want the show to be top notch.  Adding cool animations are great, but they typically don’t scare many people and often break. The best, cheapest form of scare is the good ole fashion AIR CANNON.  They never fail and always get a scream.  Last year in the Darkness we added about 10 more on top of the 10 or so we already had.  Haunt owners should be focused on buying ANYTHING that makes a LOUD NOISE!  (Attention haunt vendors: We need MORE NOISE MAKING animations and props!  As haunts decrease the amount of staff in their attractions, haunts will be focused more on buying noise making devices.)
8)  AVOID PUBLIC RELATIONS:  Once again, I call on haunts to AVOID talking to the media this season, because they will pin you down and drill you about Covid.  I don’t care if you have the best plan on planet earth. The media will spin your plan.  I did ZERO MEDIA last year along with ZERO sponsorship and we did better than the year before. If you don’t want a target on your head, keep a low profile. Just put your head down and create the best and safest show you can. Going back to opening fewer days falls into this category too, because you’re out of sight and out of mind. With the advent of digital marketing, we can target our crowds and zero in on those people. We no longer need TV, radio, newspaper,s or free or paid PR. Marketing is now cheap and can direct target your audience. While on this topic I strongly suggest you not throw a wide net this year for customers, focus on the most likely and you’ll be fine.
9) DITCH MAKE-UP FOR MASKS:  When you offer makeup & makeup artists, you have people touching other people and people digging into community makeup, touching it with their fingers and transferring to other people. Don’t take the risk. Last year we ditched makeup all together in favor of ALL MASKS. Another option to offer your staff is for them to do their own makeup at home and arrive ready to go. Come up with a plan: Maybe actors can buy their own makeup, or you could supply it for home use, or maybe offer free makeup lessons preseason, or simply require ALL MASKS labeled specific for individual actor use. Mask quality is so good now, we can’t realistically create characters as quickly or as good with makeup. Hire the actors who have no problems wearing masks; it makes life easy and safe.
10)  SCARE BOXES: Confine actors to scare boxes All actors roaming creates a less safe Covid environment. Assign actors to the most pivotal spots and you’ll find this works better anyway.  Last year at Darkness, we focused on making these scare boxes better than ever so they touched more area’s of the maze.  Therefore actors could scare one group and then turn around and scare another group on the opposite side of the maze.,  If you take this approach and rely more on the aircannons to fill in the gaps you should be golden!  Scare Zones are the wave of the future for haunts as they pair down staff. You need to offer those actors more access to the maze from the same position. For example, you have a wall right there, but what if you removed it; what’s on the other side?…Oh a different scene!... Then tear it out.  You can do more with less if you focus on it. Sure, adding animations are GREAT, but actors are the life blood of any haunt, so hire the best actors and give them MORE room to scare without leaving the same spot. 
Good luck on your haunt season and keep checking back at Hauntworld.com for more how-to haunt articles.
  Posted by Larry 6.00 PM Read Comments ()
Tue, June 08, 2021
Transworld Haunted House Convention / Tradeshow 2021 Review 

The 2021 Transworld Haunted House Convention/Tradeshow is now complete and behind us.  Now Transworld looks forward to producing the annual Midwest Haunters Convention June 25, 2021 (learn more details click here) 
Watch our Transworld 2021 show floor highlight videos below and subscribe to our youtube page for more updates about the haunted house industry.  

Transworld 2021 was not the same show we've seen in the past due to covid related issues.  Transworld was forced to cancel the 2020 show, then delay the 2021 show until May, causing a lot of headaches.  Despite the event being postponed until May the convention was very successful if for no other reason than it happened.  Tradeshows for nearly every industry have either been canceled all together or pushed back until late summer.  Moving the haunted house show back any later than May, would have been pointless for the haunted house industry.  Haunt owners need months not days to produce their attractions.  Vendors need months not days or weeks to fill orders.  May was never going to work for either side however just having the show was a first step back.  Everything should return to normal in 2022 with Transworld hosting their convention in March 2022. 

Transworld deserves a lot of praise for pulling off the show, despite all the challenges.  As we predicted here at Hauntworld most vendors wouldn't be able to take a lot of orders and this was the case.  Once the show was announced for May opposed to March, buyers took to the phones and placed millions of dollars in orders prior to the show happening.  With that being said vendors who hadn't yet filled all of their production schedule filled those schedules by the end of the first or second day of the show.  Many buyers were very disappointed when they visited a booth and  exhibitors told them they're no longer taking orders for 2021.  Transworld moving the show back to March in 2022 should change the dynamic for most haunted attraction owners buying habits, with more orders being placed at Transworld.  Transworld also did their best to organize events for buyers such as a vampire magic show, trips to the famous City Museum and a haunted house tour of Six Flags which received mixed reviews.  At the end of the day Transworld did their best despite the all the constant road blocks due to covid.  Hopefully now covid is behind us.  

Covid 19 situation has changed many industries including the haunted attraction industry.  So what should you expect from a haunted house convention in 2022?  

First lets start with a reality check, haunted attraction owners have been woke!  Haunted Attraction owners now realize they can cut their marketing budgets in half thanks to digital marketing. Additionally they can cut their labor costs by almost 50% rethinking how they operate.  Haunted attraction owners going forward are cutting their staff by 30 to 40%, and reducing operation days by 15 to 25% thereby cutting down labor overall by a lot!  The haunted attraction industry is no longer about being open every day, or having 125 actors, or having the World record longest haunted attraction but simply giving your guests a great experience.  As haunted attraction owners learned giving guests a great experience doesn't mean just making them scream, but creating photo opportunities, uncharged attractions, and more.  Most haunted attraction owners have branched out to create their own escape rooms, axe throwing and other year around business, leaving their haunts with less attention.  

Owning and operating a haunted attraction isn't a hobby its a JOB, and your JOB is to make money, otherwise what started as your HOBBY is now your NIGHTMARE!  Wake up people, if you're having FUN operating your HAUNTED HOUSE then YOU are doing something WRONG!  Operating haunted houses is hard work, and require a lot of operational skills to keep them safe and fun for your customers.  

Transworld on the other hand now faces new challenges.  The haunted house industry is NOT growing and neither is the escape room industry.  What we've seen from the escape room show is reduction and there is a simple answer... there was too many escape rooms and now many are closed or closing.  Furthermore as I predicted the haunted house industry would dive into this industry and basically take it over.  Haunt owners brought more theming, animations, special fx, and proved a point that escapes aren't about the puzzles they're about the SHOW!  Here is where we're at with conventions/tradeshows... most of the exhibitors know the buyers, and now understand clearly how to sells their goods directly covid forced them to learn direct marketing.  I would predict many vendors will cut down booths going into the future, while turning more attention to direct marketing, a skill they honed during the pandemic.  

Look at Poison Props, Unit 70 and others they sold OUT 110% without a tradeshow, while other vendors sold out 75 to 80% prior to the 2021 show.  These are new realities so I have a few suggestions to keep the show going strong and grow.  Originally the convention benefited the vendors more than the buyers, with Transworld finding buyers and bringing them to the vendors.  Now its flipped the show is more for the entertainment and education of the buyers than the vendors.   All we kept hearing was buyers want the show, buyers want the show to happen they want to get together... while vendors are like wow we're almost sold out.   Tradeshows and conventions are now mostly the benefit of the buyers due to vendors knowing their customer base and access for direct marketing.  

Buyers should be willing to pay up to $250.00 per person for entry to help offset programs to keep vendors buying more booth spaces.  Transworld should raise their prices for entry, thereby creating more revenue to offer venders discounts to keep current booth sizes.  Buyers don't need vendors cutting their booths in half, we need vendors to spend all winter making new products, and bring everything including the kitchen sink.  In order to make this happen buyers will need to spend a lot more to help offset other costs for vendors benefit.  Transworld should also look to add another industry to the mix such as bringing back what's left of Halloween retail or adding a family fun center show (amusement expo).   Transworld should take advantage of bringing so many small amusement business owners to one show, by adding an entire new section with a focus on family entertainment.  Furthermore Transworld could  grow the food/beverage vendors by creating an entire section just for them.  The bottom line Transworld SHOULD NOT put their focus on trying to grow the show with haunt vendors, but vendors who would benefit from all the theme parks to small amusement operators who already attend.  The haunt vendor side might shrink but there is plenty of room to grow the show for the benefit of all the buyers.   We need more insurance companies, digital marketing, business to business services, food and beverage all the way to amusement attractions, games and vending. Look at ticketing, once all the entertainment ticketing companies found out about the industry they flooded the show floor, the same will happen with other digital marketing companies, food service, insurance and everything between.  Most haunts must realize you don't grow revenue by buying another monster, its from finding better business to business services.  Haunters need to be shown the way especially with seminars and education opportunties.  

Can we just be honest for one second, haunt owners are moving away from haunts every day when they venture off opening a bar with axe throwing, escape rooms or even a family entertainment center.  Successful haunted house owners are already TELLING this industry... we're looking to start new business which create revenue every single day!  Transworld should pounce, they have buyers, now find new industries to fill the space from wall to wall!  FOCUS on growing this into a mega amusement show, and please move away from things like Haunters Hangout.  Vendors are at your show to MAKE MONEY, not to talk to enthusiasts about how to paint or mold something.   Let's focus on real buyers, and making this show a tradeshow not a haunt fan convention, time is better spent growing the show and reaching out to all ends of the amusement industry.  This show can make a complete transition from convention to tradeshow if we raise addmission, focus on real buyers needs which is adding more business to business and amusement vendors.  Transworld has an opportunity to create a show to rival IAAPA and I hope to see this happen.    

In closing let me say once again KUDOS to Transworld for pulling off what seemed impossible but now the real work begins as the landscape has changed.  What will happen next no matter what we'll be here to report it! Good luck in 2021. 

PS:  Sorry we didn't open our haunted houses.  We'll reconsider opening in 2021.  

  Posted by Larry 5.48 PM Read Comments ()
Sun, May 23, 2021

The Midwest Haunters Convention is the largest Halloween show of its kind in the US, dedicated to ALL Haunters; actors, enthusiasts, home/pro haunters and Halloween enthusiasts. Open to the public the MHC features a haunted house, horror and Halloween trade showeducational seminars & workshops, a chartered haunted house bus tour on Fridaycontestsfamily-friendly activities and much more!   The show happens Wisconsin Center - June 26-27, 2021.  Pre-convention Haunt Tours happen June 25, 2021.  The show includes a smaller tradeshow filled with haunt vendors, seminars and much more.  




*Please note you need to sign up for the Midwest Haunters Convention before you can purchase tickets for the Pre-Convention Bus Tour:  CLICK HERE to register now!

The Pre-Convention Haunted House Bus Tour can be purchased either WITH or WITHOUT a Bus Ride.

  • With the Bus Ride, it’s $300 per person.
  • Without the Bus Ride, it’s $235 per person.
  • These are Early-Bird Prices good through Friday, June 11th at 11:59pm CDT.
  • From June 12th the prices increase to $320 per person With the Bus Ride, and $255 per person Without the Bus Ride.
  • ONCE YOU HAVE REGISTERED, and only IF YOU WANT TO TAKE THE BUS, click HERE to choose the bus you’d like to ride

Here is the itinerary for the Pre -Convention Bus Tour ( please note times could be subject to change due to traffic)

11:30am Load buses  from the Convention Center

12:00pm Depart for Abandoned Haunted Complex ( travel time 1/2 hour)

12:30 Arrive at Abandoned Haunted Complex   (2- 1/2 hours will be spent at this location)

  • Lunch will be served at this location
  • 2 ‘Lights Off’ Haunt Tours With Actors
  • 1 ‘Self-Guided’ Haunt Tour (No Actors, Partially Outdoor)
  • Behind The Scenes Tour
  • Axe Throwing
  • Beer Available for Purchase

3:00pm Depart Abandoned Haunted Complex ( travel time 2 -1/4 hours)

5:15pm Arrive at Green Bay Fear

  • Daylight Tour of Their Outdoor Trail, The Howling Hollow
  • Lights on AND Lights off Tour of Mr. Jingles Funhouse
  • Lights on AND Lights off Tour of Shawano Manor Haunted House
  • Q&A With Staff
  • Tours of Kidnapped: An Extreme Escape Room Experience (Self-Guided)
  • Snacks and Beverages Available (Included with Ticket)

7:00pm Depart Green Bay Fear ( travel time 10 minutes)

7:15pm Arrive at National Train Museum

7:30pm Dinner ( cash bar with beer and wine) & Q&A Featuring Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group
Hosted by Ben Armstrong from Netherworld Haunted House

8:30pm Loading and Train Transportation to Terror on the Fox

8:45pm-10:30pm Special MHC Unveiling of Terror on the Fox’s Legendary Sound, Music and Light Pre-Show, Lights off Tour of BOTH Attractions, with actors and after party

10:30pm  Depart Terror on the Fox to return to the Convention Center (  travel time 2 hours)

  Posted by Larry 12.45 AM Read Comments ()
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