Haunted Attraction Association
Highlights of the new plan include:
- The addition of a Home/Charity Haunt membership tier
- New secondary memberships (to allow haunts to add managers and team leaders)
- A code of ethics (to be unveiled in 2025)
- A new Vendor Advisory Board
- A diversification of the Top Haunts program to include a tiered level of awards
- increased educational opportunities – including forming a nationwide actor training program for a consistent curriculum.
The HAA website will be updated to include a jobs board, an expanded attraction finder, and a vendor finder to help members stay better connected. To learn more and see a detailed account of the most recent HAA member survey results, watch the HAA’s full presentation.
The Haunted Attraction Association is now accepting vendor donations for their annual Live & Online Auctions. A $250 donation or more will renew a vendor’s annual HAA membership; higher donations will receive enhanced perks – with tiers at $350, $600, and $1000+. Submit your donation information via the HAA’s official auction submission form.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has targeted The Costume Shoppe (Calgary, AB, Canada) to pay over $100,000 in import duties fees after changing the classification of themed costumes. Store owner Ryan Schoel had been importing his costumes under Chapter 95.05 of the Canadian Customs Tariff, which classifies the goods as ‘festive wear’ and comes with zero import duties. In late 2022, however, Schoel was notified by the CBSA that his costumes were no longer classified as “festive wear” and instead classified as “fancy dress” imports under Chapters 61 & 62, which comes with an 18% duty fee, plus applicable taxes. Furthermore, he was retroactively being charged these fees dating back to 2021. “We all import under 95.05, and the government itself, in its final report, said to me, ‘You had no reason to believe you did anything wrong,'” Schoel said in a Clagary News interview. “But it’s wrong, they say it’s not a costume; I mean, come on… Mario, Luigi, or Ghostface, they’re all costumes.” Schoel, who has more than 2,500 costumes in stock, must now refile previous inventory, even if those goods are no longer imported, and he can’t appeal the CBSA’s decisions until payment is made. CTV News contacted other big-box retailers to inquire if they are paying extra import duties on their costumes, but received no responses. They contacted other small businesses in Calgary, but no interviews were granted for fear of retaliation from the CBSA. Schoel has contacted lawyers, brokers, and consultants for to defend himself and intends to continue to fight the ruling in court.
Efteling‘s new “Danse Macabre” attraction will feature a first-of-its-kind spinning ride system, Intamin’s Dynamic Motion Stage. The tilting, dipping turntable will feature six other turntables atop it, each with three six-rider rows to allow 108 guests to experience the attraction each ride. This attraction replaces the former Haunted House. The new attraction is inspired by Camille Saint-Saëns’ 1874 orchestral work “Danse Macabre,” bringing to life the piece in a thrilling new way. “Danse Macabre” is set to open this fall. For more behind-the-scenes insights, check out Efteling’s official Youtube “The Making-of: Danse Macabre” playlist.
U.S. Haunts & Events
The building that housed the former Dead City Haunted House (Murray, UT) caught fire and collapsed this past Wednesday. Firefighters initially responded to a smoke investigation. Due to the amount of smoke and fire spread, six engines and four ladder trucks were called in. “This is a defensive fire,” Murray City Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Stephen Olson told ABC4.com. “That means we’re unable to send people in due to the heavy fire conditions and the limited access.” Within an hour of the firefighters’ arrival, the structure’s roof collapsed. No injuries are reported, but heavy damage to the structure and contents is expected. The building housed Dead City until its closure in 2022. It was currently being used as a warehouse.
The Ashland Public Library has teamed up with Jeff DePaoli, host of “That Halloween Podcast”, for a series of “Haunted Happenings” livestreams. This free series of livestreams will feature guests from the haunt & horror communities, where they will share behind-the-scenes stories. The next event will occur on Thursday, February 15th, at 6:30 p.m. EST. This month’s edition will feature Niki Tracchia, set builder and scareactor from Haunted Overload (Lee, NH). Free registration is now available for this and future livestreams.
Film / TV
A brand-new Evil Dead movie is on its way. It has been announced that Ghost House Pictures has hired Sébastien Vaniček to direct a spinoff to last year’s Evil Dead Rise. Further details, including the film’s plot and anticipated release date, are not yet announced. Vaniček made his directorial debut with 2023’s Infested (Vermines). Infested will be available for streaming on Shudder starting on April 26th.
Steve McCarthy, owner of New Republic, a screen-printed clothing company, has decided to permanently close the business, but loyal customers and fans of his work don’t despair – he has taken a position at Monster Ink Tees. All current orders from New Republic will ship as soon as possible and be delivered by their requested due dates. Monster Ink Tees will respond to all current quote requests. McCarthy addressed the change in a Facebook post, stating “My customers will not notice a difference in print quality with the move as I will still be the printing. The only real difference should be the point of contact and business name as well as all new product offerings.”