Here is the Haunted Attraction Industry News for April, 19th.
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Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment and Egan Escape Productions have teamed up to create an all-new “IT” themed multi-room escape experience in Las Vegas, Nevada, opening this fall. Spanning more than 30,000 square feet, Escape IT will offer fans two multi-room escape adventures that bring to life the blockbuster horror films IT and IT: Chapter Two. The attraction will include more than 20 interactive rooms, state-of-the-art special effects, lighting, animatronics, and live actors to create a fully immersive environment featuring the iconic locations from the films. In addition to the two escape experiences, Escape IT will include a full-scale themed retail store complete with photo ops, exclusive merchandise, and carnival-style midway games. Follow Escape IT on Facebook and Instagram for announcements and ticket on-sale dates.
Ghost Bus Hawaii, a horror experience from Japanese horror creator Michaelty Yamaguchi, is bringing year-round chills and thrills to Honolulu. In the 15-minute attraction guests will come face-to-face with Japanese-style ghosts and monsters via audiovisual and sensory effects as well as a cast of actors. The attraction was created in conjunction with the transportation company JTB Hawaii, who decided to pivot into the haunted attraction industry when tourism dropped during the pandemic. The Ghost Bus experience costs $15 ($13 for Hawaii residents). Through April 29th, it will be parked in front of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Mondays – Fridays and it will be stationed at the Ka Makana Alii mall in Kapolei Saturdays and Sundays. Learn more and purchase tickets on Ghost Bus Hawaii’s official website.
Nightmare on Chicago Street (Elgin, Illinois) has been cancelled for 2022. In a 4-3 vote, the Elgin City Council voted against holding the popular Halloween event this year, citing rising material and rental costs along with a volunteer shortage and uncertainty over the pandemic as major factors in their decision. The cost to hold the event was estimated at $512,000, a 51% increase over 2019’s cost. “The risk of this event is too great to justify,” said Elgin Special Events Coordinator Kate O’Leary. “The likelihood of the city recouping a majority of the expense is low.” While opinions on the council were split on whether or not to hold the event this year, each council member who spoke at the meeting supported the idea of holding it again in 2023.
Conventions & Mixers
Hotels are now available for TransWorld’s Halloween & Attractions Show 2023. The show will take place February 2nd – 5th, 2023 in St. Louis, Missouri. Hotels surrounding the America’s Center can fill up quickly, so be sure to book your rooms early. All hotel rates expire on January 16th, 2023.
Celebrate Halfway to Halloween with the Idaho Halloween & Horror Convention on Saturday, April 30th from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at The Reveal at Town Square Mall in Boise, Idaho. The event will feature spooky snacks from Eat The Dead; makeup, costume, and wig classes; a corpsing workshop; and more. Admission is $2 for pre-registration and $5 at the door. The Revel will be open for business and shopping during the event. Purchase tickets, and view the full schedule of events at the Idaho Halloween & Horror Convention website.
Haunted Attraction Association
Five new members are joining the HAA Board of Directors in 2022. The Haunted Attraction Network is releasing a series of podcasts to introduce each new member.
The third entry in our series features Jim Werner of Pennhurst Asylum Haunted Attraction and Eloise Asylum. Jim has an extensive background in emergency preparedness as an advanced EMT and nationally registered NRE and EMT in Pennsylvania. In Jim’s opinion, the biggest misconception about safety in the haunt industry is, “We have the impression that because no one is getting hurt, we’re safe… but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a hazard that could be catastrophic.” Developing safety checks for your attraction will allow staff to record any potential issues and fix potential hazards before they result in injury. Additionally, clear communication of safety plans and drills can allow staff to efficiently deal with situations – such as fire alarm evacuations – so standard operations can resume in a timely manner.
HAA Member Companies
Dapper Cadaver, the death-related prop house, has been expanding their diversity of characters. At Transworld 2022, the company featured new heads and light casts featuring different ethnicities, ages, body types, and sizes to offer a more inclusive lineup of props. With over 75 different styles of heads, bodies, body parts, and more, haunters have a wide range of choices. In addition to standard polyfoam products, Dapper Cadaver offers a high durability, urethane rubber – called “Dura Rubber” – for use in escape rooms, actor props, or anything that may be roughly handled. You can view their full catalog on their website. This time of year, orders can take up to 8 weeks before delivery, so be sure to place your orders early.
Hallucinations Creations debuted 14 new DIY mechanisms at this year’s TransWorld’s Halloween & Attractions Show. One of the most popular new designs for 2022 was a full-sized scissor mechanism with a head and arm lift that come out to six feet. Haunters can combine the mechanism with the prop of their choice for a startling effect. You can view all their new products and entire catalog on the Hallucinations Creations online store.
Now in their 22nd year, the Dark Attraction and Funhouse Enthusiasts (DAFE) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving, and enjoying dark attractions, haunts, and escape rooms. For 2022 DAFE members can expect some fun and exciting events, quarterly editions of Dark Times magazine, and opportunities to socialize with like-minded individuals. To join DAFE or learn more about their upcoming events, magazine, and attraction list, visit their website.
Pittsburgh Poster‘s popular Dot Room and Clown Maze 4’x8′ GloFlex PolyPanel walls create stunning black light effects used in haunts around the country. In a recent interview with the Haunted Attraction Network, Melanie Paul of Pittsburgh Poster highlighted a way to take those 3D rooms to a new level: the “Gizmo”. The “Gizmo” rotates a screen fitted with any print up and down to create a sense of motion to the room. Combine the Gizmo with their “Hypnoscopes” for a truly disorienting experience, “You got motions, and then with our hypnosis spinning wheel next to it, it really just creates this awesome illusion to where you don’t even know what’s up and down… It’s almost too much motion and crazy illusions that you can put all that in a room, and really do some cool stuff with it.” You can view all Pittsburgh Poster’s haunt division catalog on the Aisle 13 at Pitsburgh Poster website.
Making monsters since 1978, Distortions Unlimited is a Halloween manufacturing company and online Halloween store. The company showcased a variety of new and returning products at this year’s TransWorld’s Halloween & Attraction Show. Highlights of their new 2022 lineup included “Mutant”, a savage animatronic prop with fast, realistic movement that can shoot water or air from its mouth; and “Jack Widow”, a giant Halloween Spider Jack-O-Lantern prop with a leg span of approximately 5 ft. Classic designs were also brought back to the show this year, including their infamous Electric Chair, T-Rex, and Wizard (with film & TV legend Dick Van Dyke’s vocals as a new feature for 2022). Haunters looking to place orders should do so as soon as possible to make sure orders arrive in time for the haunt season. Last year, for the first time ever, the company cut off orders in early September. You can view the entire Distortions Unlimited catalog on their website.
Celebrating their 10th anniversary, Shattered FX debuted several news designs for 2022 including the popular Necromancer full head silicone mask. The company also creates half-masks with adjustable lacing to fit a multitude of scareactors. All Shattered FX masks have a lifetime warranty; if you mask rips or tears for any reason, they will fix it free of charge. To learn more about the company and see their entire catalog, visit their official website.
For 19 years Creepy Collection has been providing its unique style of static props to the industry. In a recent interview with the Haunted Attraction Network, Jerry Dalessandro discussed the durability and craftsmanship of their products. From flex bodies that can be moved around to fully-foam table bodies, Creepy Collection creates detailed, durable prop bodies that are built to be long-lasting with steel reinforcements. Their 2022 TransWorld lineup included all new props, such as a 7ft Gruesome Granny, Santa and Elves Frozen Head Set, and Large Pop Corn Puke Clown. You can view their entire catalog online on their website. Be sure to place your order soon, as price hikes may loom in the future due to rising gas and material costs.
Minispotlights have been providing LED lighting solutions for haunts since 2006. In a recent interview, Bert Zelten of Minispotlights discussed the company’s standout custom products. Minispotlight’s top selling items are their Jacob’s Ladders. “They’re all one-of-a-kind items,” Zelten remarked, “I hand built all of them. They’re all one of a kind and really unique, and low voltage, so they’re super safe, but they look just like a real Jacob’s Ladder art.” While Zelton does have standard units haunters can purchase, he regularly works with haunts to design custom works – custom heights, designs, things that are build into scenes, etc. You can view Minispotlights’ entire catalog online or e-mail Zelten directly at [email protected] for custom order inquiries.
After months of unofficial reports, the Spirit Halloween movie has been formally announced via an April 11th article in Variety. Spirit Halloween has teamed up with Strike Back Studios, Hideout Pictures, and Particular Crowd for a feature-length family-friendly movie currently titled “Spirit Halloween”. The Project will star Christopher Llyod (Back to the Future) and Rachael Leigh Cook (She’ll All That). The film’s official logline has also been announced, “When a new Spirit Halloween store appears in a deserted strip mall, three middle-school friends who think they’ve outgrown trick-or-treating make a dare to spend the night locked inside the store Halloween night, but they soon find out that the store is haunted by an angry evil spirit who has possessed the creepy animatronic characters. The kids embark on a thrilling and spooky adventure in order to survive the night and avoid becoming possessed themselves.” Production has wrapped on the film and the team is aiming for an October 2022 release.
Are you planning to grow your own pumpkins this year? Globally recognized greenhouse and glasshouse maker Hartley Botanic shared some tips for growing the perfect pumpkin. Be sure to plant your seeds no earlier than 3-4 weeks before your last frost date; soil temperature should be at least 60 degrees. Seeds can germinate in as little as 5-10 days, however pumpkins take between 80 – 110 days to ripen the fruit and harden the skin, so be sure to plant early to ensure your pumpkin is ready for the season.
Upcoming Haunt Events
Halfway to Halloween
Cobb’s Adventure Park (Calgary, Canada) – May 14
EverHaunt (Angola, NY) – May 13
Fear Fair (Seymour, IN) – May 13 -14
Field of Screams (Lancaster, PA) – May 13 – 14
Fright Kingdom (Nashua, NH) – May 13 – 14
Planet Doom (Idaho Falls, ID) – May 13 – 14
Reign of Terror (Thousand Oaks, CA) – April 22 – 23
Scare Kingdom Scream Park (Blackburn, UK) – May 7
Podcast Episodes You Might Be Interested In
A Convergence of Trends
We’ll review the most important new attractions openings and break down why they’re all continuations of ongoing trends.
Wristbands for your Haunt
Wristband Resources is one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of identification wristbands and accessories in the world – and for the past 16 years, Bonnie has been building relationships in the haunted house space.
The Half Masks of Von Grimm Productions
We check in with Von Grimm Productions to hear about their 2022 products. The owner has worked in the haunted attraction and special makeup effects industry for over 14 years, in attractions large and small; Von Grimm settled into making masks and started with their signature burlap designs.
Haunt Team Retention with Travis Rhoad of Reaper’s Revenge
Reaper’s Revenge, in Scranton Pennsylvania, started in 2006. A founding member, Travis oversees most of the things that involve the employees. With a staff of 240 every show night, there’s certainly a lot to keep track of. Over the years, Travis has developed a family philosophy to retain team members, and today, we’ll explore some concrete things you can do to retain your haunt team.
Mini Spotlight’s Custom Creations
Minispotlight has been providing LED lighting solutions for haunts. They have the standard stuff sure, but as you’ll hear, their real differentiation is in custom creations like the LED Warp Tunnel and Jacob’s Ladders.
Haunted Attraction Industry News for April 12th
Read more here.