Here is the Haunted Attraction Industry News for March, 9th.
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Haunted Attraction Association
The Haunted Attraction Association has a busy line-up for this year’s Transworld’s Halloween & Attractions Show. Chat, mingle, and brainstorm with HAA board members at Booth 1803. Renew your membership at the show to receive 1 free drink at the OSCARES event bar. Many HAA board members will teach and share their knowledge at seminars throughout the event. HAA presentation highlights include the C.H.A.O.S. Safety Seminar on Thursday, March 17th at 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in Room 132. Tickets are $20 for HAA members, $75 for non-members. On Friday, March 18th at 3:15 p.m. in room 127 the Haunted Attraction Association is hosting a free seminar with their crisis management team, JK Consulting. The HAA Auction will take place Friday, March 18th in room 231 starting at 4:30 p.m. All proceeds go towards HAA member benefits. Don’t miss the State of the Industry Seminar on Saturday, March 19th at 4:30 p.m. to hear HAA board members review their successful 2021 goals, highlight data from the 2022 industry-wide survey, and hold a Q&A. The OSCARES awards ceremony immediately follows at 5:00 p.m. in room 241 where the Haunted Attraction Association recognizes attraction owners, vendors, and others who have excelled in the industry. Listen to HAA President Spencer Terry discuss this year’s plans.
Conventions & Mixers
Tickets are now on sale for Midsummer Scream, taking place July 29th – 31st at the Long Beach Convention Center (Long Beach, CA). For a limited time, receive 40% off General Admission tickets. “As Midsummer Scream returns we’re putting a renewed focus on what made us love Halloween as kids, and the traditions we’ve continued through our lives,” says David Markland, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Midsummer Scream. “That includes, the magic of trick-or-treating, celebrating the classic monsters of our childhood, and preserving the history of our favorite holiday.” Celebrate Halloween in July with the return of the Hall of Shadows Mini Haunts, Panels & Presentations, over 350 Exhibitors, Celebrity Guests, Black Cat Lounge kitten adoption space, Paranormal Pixie’s Pumpkin Patch children’s zone, Screaming Room Film Festival presented by HorrorBuzz, Classes & Workshops, and more. New for 2022 is the Museum of Halloween. Curated by Stephanie Anne Jöens, the museum will feature a variety of vintage collectibles, costumes, and more, alongside original artwork created just for the event, celebrating the culture, community, and even commercialism of the spooky season.
Halloween Marketplace exhibit booths are now on sale for the West Coast Halloween Convention. 10’x10′ Booths start at $325. All booths include a 6′ Table, 2 Chairs, Pipe & Drape, Numbered Booth Sign, Power, Free Wireless Internet, Website Banner, Mention in the Program, and (2) Three-Day Convention Passes. Reserve your booth for this 13th Anniversary non-profit show today.
Halloween Club Costume Superstore’s 9th Annual Spook Show has announced a date change. The festivities will now take place a week earlier – Saturday, September 17th from Noon – 7:00 p.m. The event is located at the Halloween Club in La Mirada, California and will feature spooky artists, vendors, food trucks, and more.
Fear Expo 2023 will take place January 20th – 22nd, 2023 at the Owensboro Convention Center (Owensboro, KY). Exhibit sales are already underway with with an early bird discount if purchased by May 15th. Early bird 10’x10′ Booths start at $600 ($800 Regular Price) and include (1) 8′ Skirted Table, (2) Chairs, Trashcan, Pipe & Drape, (2) Friday & Saturday Lunch Tickets, Power, (4) Vendor Badges, 1/2 Page Ad in Program, and more. Reserve your space online at Fear Expo’s website.
The March CalHauntS online meeting will take place Saturday, March 12th at 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. PST. In this Zoom meeting, Guy Myers will demo how to build a Trash Can Chiller for your fog machine. Join the CalHauntS Facebook page for sign-up information, materials list, and more.
CalHauntS will host an in-person Make and Take event Saturday, April 9th from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Haunter Tim Fowler will teach attendees how to create a Toe Pincher Coffin. Join the CalHauntS Facebook page for sign-up information, materials list, and more.
Haunt Comp, an educational competition focused on the design side of Halloween Haunted House walkthrough attractions, is returning for their third annual competition. The same Directors from 2021 are joined by partners at Midsummer Scream, Knott’s Scary Farm, and The Essential Art Department to present this year’s competition. Haunt Comp is open to current college students and recent grads with less than 2 years of themed entertainment industry experience. Entrants will submit a proposal for a haunted house revolving around a concept that will be revealed at the opening ceremony on March 22nd. Proposals will be judged on Written, Visual Development, Schematic Design, and Presentation elements. A full list of rules and judging criteria can be found on the competition’s website. Sign-ups will close on March 13th or when 30 teams have applied (whichever comes first).
This Thursday, March 10th at 5:00 p.m. PST Fear Expo Haunt Master Classes will present “How to Use Your Electronics to Take Your Attraction to the Next Level with Kurtis Lammaer” .Tune in live at Fear Expo’s Facebook page.
U.S. Haunts & Events
Hershey Park in the Dark, the annual Halloween event from Hershey Park (Hershey, PA), promises to be even spookier this year. In a March 4th Instagram post, the company posted a teaser trailer and wrote “Keep your eyes open… Hersheypark In The Dark is about to get darker with all-new frightening experiences.” No further details have been announced as to what additions and changes guests can expect for this year’s event. More information will be posted in the coming months on Hershey’s website and social media accounts.
Throughout the year Dark Castle (Elgin, South Carolina) utilizes their facilities to host special off-season events. In a recent interview with the Haunted Attraction Network, Elizabeth Oliveira spoke about their unique Valentine’s Day haunt offerings and how they engage their audience and staff at these off-season events. At My Zombie Valentine couples compete in an interactive zombie survival scenario to locate scavenger items and complete mini games throughout their haunt venue. “We wanted to make it like a video game…you’ve got your main quest, and then you’ve got your side quests…The true winners are usually the people that do everything and get everything correct.” The 2-hour long experience accommodates 12 couples per night and the winners receive two VIP tickets to the Halloween haunt. The event serves as a way to not only market their Halloween event, but to engage volunteers. Creating these theatrical, immersive experiences differs from their typical Halloween event and often requires retraining actors, “[Haunters looking to create an immersive experience] should avoid assuming that normal scare actors will be able to do the types of things required for this kind of experience… When new people come from other haunts, we’ve noticed that retraining their mindset is something that we must work on because you can’t just say, ‘Oh, you know how to freak somebody out, so you’ll know how to entertain somebody.’ Entertainment is a completely different ball game.”
Garner Holt Productions has been inspiring the next generation of potential attractions industry members with facility tours, hands-on workshops, and virtual learning. During a three day Animatronics Academy Career Camp this past January, students attended workshops at a facility in Redlands, California where they participated in hands-on art and engineering activities, connected electrical circuits, learned about pneumatics and hydraulics, sculpted with clay using ratios and fractions as a guide for the right proportions, painted, and finally brought their creations to life with a controller and prerecorded soundtracks. Garner Holt Education Through Imagination is a for-profit enterprise that focuses on delivering STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education and career exploration through hosting in-person workshops at the Garner Holt Productions facility in Redlands, California, designing and installing AniMakerspaces in schools and libraries, conducting virtual tours and online workshops, and developing and selling engineering kits. “The Garner Holt programs are the kinds of experiences schools have been looking for; programs that harness the magic of STEAM learning and show kids how they can create careers for themselves doing the things they love,” says Ted Alejandre, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. In addition, the separate not-for-profit Garner Holt Foundation is currently developing “Garner’s Garage”, which will include programs in robotics, automation, engineering, and visual and performing arts provided free of cost to communities in need. The first location is slated for Redlands, California, near where Holt grew up. Fundraising efforts are already underway. Garner sees these educational efforts as key to empowering future creators, “These children will be the designers of the future; they will be the engineers of the future—every part of our industry needs to be sustained,” Garner says. “Students can’t get excited or engaged if they don’t know it exists.”
Granite Insurance is hiring two qualified Business Insurance Account Managers. Duties include managing and serving as the primary contact for a group of current accounts, performing annual review and risk exposure analysis of renewal policies, and achieving agency account retention goals through proactive account rounding, up-selling of limits and coverages, and by providing an extraordinary customer experience. Qualified candidates will have a four-year college degree or equivalent combination of formal education and relevant work experience, document management software experience, and passion. Granite Insurance is a supporter of the Haunted Attraction Association, and this year’s OSCARES event sponsor.
Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail will soon be featured on the big screen. Making his directorial debut, Terry Jarrell has chosen Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail as the location for the upcoming independent film, Harlow’s Haunt. “There’s a few haunts around here, but Sir Henry’s is the gold standard,” Jarrell said when asked about his choice in filming location. Harlow’s Haunt centers on Harlow Greer, an unsuccessful businessman who made a failed attempt at establishing his own settlement. The film showcases three different time periods in which Harlow’s past leaves kids living in modern time to experience eerie and unexpected things. Filming could begin as early as April. A release date for the film has not yet been set, but Jarrell hops to hold the premiere at Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail in October.
After fans have waited years for a new adaption of everyone’s favorite spooky Disney attraction, Disney has announced the theatrical release date for their new Haunted Mansion film: March 10th, 2023. Haunted Mansion is directed by Justin Simien, written by Katie Dippold, and starring Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Danny DeVito, and LaKeith Stanfield. On IMDB the plot is described as, “A single mom named Gabbie hires a tour guide, a psychic, a priest, and a historian to help exorcise their newly bought mansion; after discovering it is inhabited by ghosts.”
Spring Haunt Events
St. Patrick's Day
Bennet’s Curse (Dundalk, MD) – March 12
Castle Blood (Monessen, PA) – March 18 – 19
Containment Haunted House (Lithia Springs, GA) – March 11 – 12
Dead City Haunted House (Murray, UT) – March 12
Haunted Hills Estate (Uniontown, PA) – March 11 – 12
Hudson Haunted House (Hudson, OH) – March 18 -19
Wells Township Haunted House (Brilliant, OH) – March 18 – 19
All Saints Lunatic Asylum (Apple Valley, CA) – April 8 – 9
Halfway to Halloween
Podcast Episodes You Might Be Interested In
From free seminars to the auction, CHAOS, and the annual OSCARES awards – the Haunted Attraction Association has a ton of events planned for Transworld. Several events are free and available for both members and nonmembers to participate.
This week we discuss the latest SeaWorld earnings, takeaways from the PLASA survey on live events, and why two cedar fair parks are discontinuing scary Halloween events.
Cynthia MacDonald from Zombie Farms in Athens, Georgia shares her experience from start to finish on how she started their outdoor trail and how you can start one too.
With 19 seasons under their belt, Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach Florida is preparing for their 20th year this coming Halloween season. Today, we’ll hear about their 2021 season and what they have planned for their 20th year.
Sarah and Matthew, co-owners of Haunt Scheduler, will walk us through specific examples of using software for your haunt’s personnel management. While there’s other scheduling software out there, this is the only product designed by and for haunters.
CFX masks started 17 years ago in haunted houses but have since expanded into other markets. And with that perspective, they’re noticing a few things. More people are aware of silicon masks now because of social media and, due to the expansion in eCommerce, they have access to the same materials as haunts. In fact, CFX is extending their annual Transworld sale this year online to give everyone access. Overall, that’s lowering the barriers for people to create characters. And they certainly are. But what does that mean for haunts? We’ll find out.
Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and even Halfway to Halloween – more and more haunts are opening outside of the traditional Halloween Season. We’ve heard plenty of examples here on the show. Today, Scott Swenson will walk us through his list of 4 reasons: additional revenue, utilizing assets, expanding your audience, and building loyalty. This is a preview of the first part of Scott’s upcoming seminar at Transworld “Turning the Page from Halloween to Christmas”.