Farewell, Spooky Thrills! Inside the Closure of Legendary Reaper’s Realm Haunted House

Reaper's Realm Haunted House
Here is the Haunted Attraction Industry News for January, 15th.
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U.S. Haunts & Events

The City of Hammond, Indiana, is moving forward with plans to replace Reaper’s Realm haunted house with a riverfront developmentReaper’s Realm has rented its location for 34 years at the historic Indiana Botanic Gardens. The City of Hammond has recently filed an eminent domain lawsuit in Lake County Superior Court to obtain the property, claiming the land is underutilized and houses a deteriorating building. During a recent city council meeting, John Hluska of Hluska Enterprises, the family business that owns Reapers Realm, said the property loss would “devastate” his family financially. Despite his statement, the council approved an ordinance expanding their Gateways Redevelopment Area to include the haunt property with a 6-2 vote.


After a successful run this past Halloween season, Ashland Public Library will again team up with Jeff DePaoli, host of “That Halloween Podcast,” for a series of “Haunted Happenings” livestreams. The first livestream of the year will be held on January 18th at 6:30 p.m. EST and feature Tony Gardner, founder of Alterian, Inc., a Los Angeles-based studio specializing in the design and creation of animatronic and prosthetic makeup effects. Listen as they discuss many of Gardner’s projects, emphasizing his work for the “Chucky” television show and movie franchise. Hear how his work on the family-friendly movie “Hocus Pocus” led to him building and puppeteering the iconic killer doll for numerous projects. Register today to receive the livestream Zoom link.


Body paint artist Pashur is hosting two workshops at Naimie’s in Burbank, California: Body Paint Lingerie on January 22nd and Monster Heads Body Painting on February 19th. In these hands-on classes, artists bring their models and learn Pashur’s master tips, tricks, and techniques. Walk out with a portfolio-worthy piece and help master your body painting skills. Workshop tickets are $125 per student. Students must bring their own body painting supplies and models. Space is limited.

AZ Haunters will host a PVC Candles Workshop in Mesa, Arizona on Saturday, January 20th at 10:00 a.m. MST. This class will teach a method of using pre-wired flicker LEDs which can be plugged in for steady light. For $5 each participant will receive three pieces of PVC pipe prefilled with foam, three orange flicker LEDs, 22-gauge wire, female power jack adapter, and some hot glue. Extra candles will be available for $1 each. A 12volt adapter will need to be purchased separately. If you have a hot glue gun, please bring it. Register by January 18th to attend. 

Conventions & Mixers

Exhibitor registration is open for the Texas Haunters Convention (Mesquite, TX). Early bird pricing is in effect until March 31st at 11:59 p.m. CST – save 15% by registering early. Returning 2023 exhibitors will also receive an additional 5% discount. The Texas Haunters Convention will take place at the Mesquite Convention Center July 13th & 14th, 2024. Attendee registration will open on March 1st. 


There is a new year-round Halloween & haunt store in Ironton, Ohio – Backfire Boo-tique. After operating an online business (Project Backfire) and receiving a positive response with booths at Fear Expo & Transworld’s Halloween & Attractions Show, 18-year-old Tayen Poplin opened the brick & mortar store to sell her spooky wares to like-minded Halloween fans & haunters. “I realized that people like the weird and odd things and I always wanted a storefront to sell and I wanted it to be a workspace out of my house,” Poplin said in an interview with The Ironton Tribune. “And also, if a local haunted attraction needs something and can’t wait a month for something to come in, we can build it in a couple days.” Despite her age, Poplin already has quite a lot of haunt experience. She began scareacting at age 8. By 15 she managed a trail with over 45 crew members, scaring nearly 2,000 people each night. She then began building props with her dad, which eventually turned into Project Backfire. Her store now sells everything from static props to animatronics, as well as spooky gifts, clothing, costumes, masks, jewelry and much more. The Backfire Boo-tique is open Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 

Gore Galore has released a new line of scenic detailing mosses for 2024. These real dried mosses come in easy-to-install sheets. The sheets can be stapled, glued, or set with their Gore Foam. Once installed, fire treat it onsite for safety and fire marshal compliance. 


Upcoming Events: January - March 2024

January 23 – 25Halloween & Party Expo (Las Vegas, Nevada)
February 9 – 11HAuNTcon (Daytona Beach, Florida) 
March 7 – 10Transworld’s Halloween & Attractions Show (St. Louis, Missouri)

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Craving more haunt goodness? We’re thrilled to be partnered with HaunTopic RadioScareTrackThe Scare Factor, and A Scott in the Dark. Give them a listen.

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