HAuNTcon 2019 Shows Continued Growth through Increased Attendance and Expanded Exhibit Hall
Co-location with Halloween & Party Expo creates North America’s largest event for Haunt & Halloween
Trumbull, CT (February 7, 2019) —For the second year in a row, HAuNTcon: The Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow & Convention, reports increases in attendance from haunted attractions, theme parks and escape games, as well as an expanded exhibit hall featuring double the exhibitors from the prior year. The event, which wrapped up its 2019 edition January 25-27 in New Orleans, was once again co-located with Halloween & Party Expo, bringing together the attractions and retail industry for the most all-encompassing event dedicated to Haunt, Halloween, Party and Celebration. Innovation took center stage through new products, advanced education and unprecedented idea sharing and collaboration.
Attendance growth was developed through new partnerships with regional associations including East Coast Haunt Club, Arizona Haunters, Alabama Haunters Alliance, Northwest Haunters Association, Canadian Haunters Association, Chicago Haunt Builders and Ohio Haunters Association. Buyers represented 37 states as well as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
We are so thrilled to see the positive momentum and continued growth of HAuNTcon,” commented Liz Irving, senior vice president of marketing for the event. “Leading up to this year’s show we involved the haunt community in all aspects of planning to ensure that HAuNTcon was the best resource for their business. We thank all of our partners, exhibitors, speakers, and attendees for their support and we look forward to continuing to implement new programs and events based on their feedback as we expand again in 2020.”
Early Sourcing Opportunities and First Access to New Products
As the first show of the year and the only event to bring retail and attractions together under one roof, the show floor provided unparalleled access to see new products and the 2019 trends - allowing haunters to plan their season earlier and gain inspiration to new themes and concepts for their haunts. Product selection on the HAuNTcon floor expanded based on customer feedback and included more key categories that buyers said were most important to their business including accessories, scenic props and décor, makeup, lighting, costumes, build materials, and business services – with HAuNTcon 2019 welcoming more than 40 new exhibitors including Wonderflex World, VFX, Two Way Radio Gear, Techni-Lux, Patron Technology, Fright Night Studios, Haunts FX, Alcone Company and more.
New exhibitor Brian Jeffrey of Wonderflex World commented, “We not only had fun, but made some money…as well as new contacts. The Wonderflex World booth was so busy, that we never had the time to break for lunch!” He continued, “We don’t usually find both new retail customers as well as new dealers or distributors at a trade show, but we sure did at HAuNTcon. Excitement and acceptance at our booth was beyond expectation.”
Buyers also had access to shop an additional 60+ Haunter Friendly exhibitors on the Halloween & Party Expo show floor and an exclusive advanced preview of what will be hitting retail shelves later this year. Companies participating in the Haunter Friendly program provided lower minimums for purchases and included Alchemy of England, Disguise, Dreamgirl, Forum Novelties, Froggy’s Fog, Gantom Lighting & Controls, Kreepsville 666, Morbid Enterprises, Rockstar Wigs, Zagone Studios and more.
New products took center stage at the Haunted Trends Main Stage during the NEW Friday Night Fashion Show, which featured more than 40 exhibiting companies across HAuNTcon and Halloween & Party Expo, where exhibitors had the chance to model and debut their own products – from costumes to accessories and makeup – to the backdrop of Froggy’s Fog. In addition, Haunt Collective went behind the scenes throughout the weekend with designers and brands to showcase new product launches during interviews on the Main Stage and social media and buyers also had the opportunity to vote on best new product of the show in the New Product Showcase – with Pumpkin Pulp named the Buyer’s Choice for Best Product of the Show across both events for the second year running.
Advanced Content from Industry Icons
Known for its robust education program, the 2019 schedule saw a renewed focus on advanced topics during 70+ hours of sessions on topics ranging from actor management, business, escape games, makeup and prosthetics, and marketing, to planning and design and safety and security. Haunters were encouraged to take advantage of all-inclusive education passes – allowing them access to all sessions and to learn from industry leading trend setters and experts such as Scott Swenson, Margee Kerr, Ted Dougherty, Jon Cooke, Amy Hollaman, Davis Graveyard, Justin Fears, J. Michael Roddy, Leonard Pickel, Kyle Vest and many more. The decision to move education to the show floor addressed a key piece of feedback following the 2018 event that haunters wanted easier access to move between education and exhibits and was well received with sessions such as “Women in Haunting – Breaking the Boundaries,” “Mastering Digital Marketing: Essential Strategies for a Noisy World,” “7 Secrets to Dramatically Increasing Guest Satisfaction and Revenue!,” “Low Voltage LED Lighting for Haunts,” “Advanced Makeup Techniques,” and “The three “S” system of Actor Training: Safety, Specialization and Scary!” seeing packed rooms.
Saturday’s keynote event provided all attendees access to never-before-heard content during the presentation “Successful Creative Brainstorming: Lead Your Team to Better Ideas” moderated by Philip Hernandez of Gantom Lighting & Controls and sponsored by Patron Technology. Panelists include industry leaders Scott Swenson, Joel Talacko, Dalton Dale and J. Michael Roddy as they discussed forward thinking ways to drive your team to think out of the box and past the obvious to deliver exceptional new concepts and ideas.
For attendees interested in learning new hands-on techniques, workshops provided the opportunity to try lifecasting and create props such as realistic tombstones, large blockhead mallets, and shrunken heads with experts including Michael and Lynne Burnett of FrightNight Studios, the Davis Graveyard Crew, and Tiphfennie Yao of Stalker Farms. In addition, haunters had the opportunity to try their hand at carving, painting and distressing techniques as the team from Davis Graveyard created a live build of a Parisian Cemetery inspired by the Montmartre Cemetery with a centerpiece built using a form from Ghost Ride Productions. Sponsored by Hot Wire Foam Factory and products and remaining build materials donated by HAuNTcon, the piece was available for silent auction and raised $900 for Magic Wheelchair, a nonprofit organization that creates transformative costumes for children in wheelchairs. Brian Jackson had the winning bid and will take the piece back to its new home at Derailed Haunted House in Tennessee.
Enhanced Opportunities to Connect with the Community to Move the Industry Forward
A key component of HAuNTcon is the opportunity to for the community to come together to share ideas and address the changes and trends for the coming season. The 2019 schedule featured expanded opportunities for networking. The event kicked off with a Pre-Show Inspiration Tour which provided participants behind the scenes access to St. Louis Cathedral, Bank Architectural Antiques, Movie Sets: A Reel Venue – a working prop house for some of today’s most popular television series and movies, Terror on the Coast, the largest haunt on the gulf coast, a walking ghost tour and ending with a reception at the 2019 Official Haunter’s Bar, Barcadia. Tours continued throughout the weekend with a lights-off October style tour of Terror on the Coast in Gulfport, MS and additional ghost and cemetery tours.
New roundtable discussions were added to the schedule and were open to all badge holders, allowing attendees to meet on topics such as marketing or connect with other haunters and owners with similar attraction types – from escape games, to large attractions to farm haunts, to discuss best practices. Off the show floor, haunters, retailers and exhibitors came together for the largest Brewing, Boos and Booze industry party to date. More than 1,200 attendees and exhibitors gathered at Generations Hall for a night of networking, entertainment and celebration.
Alex Linebrink, CEO of HauntPay and EscapeTix, added, “HAuNTcon was bigger than ever this year! We were thrilled to return as the title sponsor to catch up with old clients and find new haunters in need of our solutions for scary simple ticketing and payments. From the fascinating pre-show tour (if you didn’t catch the jaw-dropping movie prop house, you missed out!) to the swanky costume ball and all the new networking opportunities, this is a show that knows how to balance fun with business. HAuNTcon showcases the best the haunt industry has to offer, and the organizers really worked with us to help make connections that could help grow our business. I can't wait to see what next year looks like!”
HAuNTcon and Halloween & Party Expo return to New Orleans January 17-19, 2020 and have already announced dates for 2021, when HAuNTcon will head to Dallas, January 22-24, 2021. For more information visit www.hauntcon.com.
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 & Celebration. For more information, visit www.hauntcon.com.