Nominations Open for First Annual ‘Haunters To Watch’ Awards

Nominations Open for First Annual ‘Haunters To Watch’ Awards

Haunters to Watch Awards will recognize Future Leaders in the Haunt Community at HAuNTcon 2020

27 August, 2019 – HAuNTcon, The Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Convention, in partnership with the Haunted Attraction Network is excited to announce the launch of Haunters to Watch. Haunters to Watch is an awards program for the haunted attraction community created to showcase excellence in the areas of mentorship, business skills, innovation, and storytelling.

Nominations Open for First Annual ‘Haunters To Watch’ Awards

Nominations are open now through December 6th, 2019. The 5 Haunters to Watch are selected by the steering committee, comprised of industry experts Scott Swenson, Robbi Lepre, and Michael Bolton, with awards’ Chairman Philip Hernandez. Each honoree will receive an award at HAuNTcon 2020 (January 17-19 in New Orleans), a profile in Seasonal Entertainment Source Magazine, lodging, and the opportunity to share their story on-stage.

Nominations Open for First Annual ‘Haunters To Watch’ Awards

“Through our conversations with haunters we have seen so much amazing creativity, collaboration, mentorship, and exciting new concepts, that we are always brainstorming ways to share this thinking with the broader community. Haunters to Watch will celebrate and share the ideas of those that are disturbing the norm through their storytelling, mentorship, marketing, acting and more. We are so thrilled to partner with Haunted Attraction Network and continue to be a forum where innovation and new ideas are recognized and take center stage,” commented Liz Irving, senior vice president of marketing for HAuNTcon and the co-located Halloween & Party Expo.

Nominations Open for First Annual ‘Haunters To Watch’ Awards

The Categories and Recognition Details

Nominate yourself, your haunted attraction, or another individual across the following categories:

  1. Up-and-Comer: a new haunt (5 years or younger) which has received recognition for offering a unique experience.
  2. Fastest Growing Haunt: the haunted with the highest percentage-based attendance increase between the 2018 and 2019 season
  3. Mentor: an individual who helps new haunt staff grow professionally and or personally.
  4. Off-Season Business: The best non-Halloween season event hosted by a haunt, such as Bloody Valentine’s Day, Krampus Fest, Halloween in June, etc.
  5. Excellence in Storytelling: the maze with the most cohesive story that has been brought to life

Nominations Open for First Annual ‘Haunters To Watch’ Awards

The categories, selected by the industry steering committee, spotlight haunters who push boundaries creatively and who demonstrate business skills. HAuNTcon, the Haunted Attraction Network, and the steering committee will recognize the top 25 submissions online. The top Haunter to Watch in each category receives a 2-night stay in New Orleans during HAuNTcon 2020, will share their insights on stage, and be profiled by Seasonal Entertainment Source Magazine.

“Haunts exist at the intersection of macabre creativity and business acumen. The Haunters to Watch program perfectly celebrates that intersection in a way which bolsters the industry. The program benefits the entire industry by sharing real-world examples of competitive thinking. I’m grateful to HAuNTcon and our steering committee for their effort in bringing this program to life,” commented Philp Hernandez, publisher of Seasonal Entertainment Source magazine, operator of the Haunted Attraction Network, and Chairman of Haunters to Watch.

The Steering Committee

The Haunters to Watch steering committee is comprised of industry icons whose expertise in entertainment and haunted attractions spans more than 90 years. The steering committee will review all of the submissions to choose the 2020 honorees. This year’s steering committee includes:

Nominations Open for First Annual ‘Haunters To Watch’ Awards

Scott Swenson has been bringing stories to life as a Writer, Director, Producer and Performer. After 21 years working with SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment as the Director of Production, Scott formed Scott Swenson Creative Development LLC. Since then he has been writing live shows, creating and implementing themed festivals and developing communication-based training classes. Learn more about Scott here.

Nominations Open for First Annual ‘Haunters To Watch’ Awards

Michael Bolton has been fascinated with the haunt industry since screaming his way round Terror on Church St in Orlando in 1999. Now, he is the owner of ScareTOUR – a news and reviews site for scare events, as well as running ScareCON – Europe’s only trade show for the scare industry. In his career, he has visited every attraction in Europe, as well as multiple attractions in the US and beyond. He has used this experience in a consultancy capacity and has designed multiple scare attractions for UK theme parks and attractions including PrimEVIL, Frightmare and the critically appraised Ghost of Christmas (the UKs first out of season horror experience).

Nominations Open for First Annual ‘Haunters To Watch’ Awards

Robbi Lepre has more than 40 years of theme park leadership experience at Busch Gardens Tampa as entertainment department director, project manager, technical director, and producer for award-winning live shows and events. Robbi is now CEO of Eye Insights, LLC where she provides solutions and insights for improving the “Guest Experience” of disabled visitors to your attraction or business.

Concluded Irving, “We thank Scott, Michael, and Robbi for their guidance as we continue to grow and evolve Haunters to Watch – as well as that of the entire haunt community. We are so thrilled to see all of the new ideas that are developing for the 2019 haunt season and hope that this program can serve as an additional source of inspiration and recognition in the community.”


Haunts and individuals are invited to visit for additional information and to put forward a nomination. Tickets are also available for HAuNTcon 2020 taking place January 17-19 in New Orleans. Haunters to Watch joins a full schedule of networking, idea sharing, and game changing new products and concepts.


HAuNTcon, the leading event for haunted attractions, haunt owners and operators, agritainment
owners, theme parks and home haunters, is a trade-only event that brings industry professionals
together each year. Owned by Clarion UX, the event provides a platform for sourcing, learning, and networking. The next event takes place in New Orleans, January 17-19, 2020 and is co-located with the Halloween & Party Expo, creating North America’s largest event devoted to Halloween, Haunt,
and Celebration. For more information, visit


The Haunted Attraction Network is the largest global media entity providing education, information, and inspiration to the haunted attraction industry. We release articles, podcasts, and events through content partnerships and original content to connect the industry year-round. Our annual Haunt Awareness Campaign raises awareness for and encourages guests to visit haunted attractions worldwide. Our content partners include: A Scott in the Dark, HaunTopic Radio, Haunter’s Toolbox, ScareTrack, Haunt Weekly, and Marketing Your Attraction. Visit our website or Facebook.


Seasonal Entertainment Source is a website and quarterly print magazine providing in-depth education to seasonal attraction professionals. Our readers range from designers to attraction owners and vendors to students. Seasonal Entertainment is any temporary entertainment an attraction uses (haunted houses, Christmas shows, food festivals, summer activities, concerts, etc.). Nobody talked about how to transition a show from Halloween to Christmas, plan the summer menu, or where to find help- until now! Subscribe here.




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