I attended Hauntcon this past week (April 30th through May 2nd) The event is a convention that caters to the haunt industry and the home haunter. The convention changes location every year and this year it landed in Orlando (actually Kissimmee and the Ramada resort and convention center) this event does the normal convention things. They have classes and seminars and they have the trade floor were you can buy and see things. They also offer a Costume Ball on Saturday Night.
Huantcon also offers trips to haunts in and around the convention area. Now you who live in Central Florida can count on 1 hand the only standing haunt in the area which would be Grimm House in Old Town. So I was very interested to see what Leonard Pickle ( the person who runs Haunted Attraction magazine and the Con would have up his sleeve) Well they start the event on Wednesday with a pre convention tour. The price for this little tour was in the area of $195.00 per person double occupancy. The pretour would go 2 days Wednesday till Thursday afternoon.
Well tour started close in Kissimmee and Grimm Haunted House in Old town then back on the bus and to the panhandle of Florida, to Perry Florida, then crosses over to Tallahassee then to Jacksonville then to St Augustine. So for the people who loved bus rides and seeing nothing for miles this was for you. I talked to some people who went, they said it was nice and they had a surprise trip to Sally company in Jacksonville.
Thursday night the con made it back to Orlando with a visit to HHN. For 78 dollars you got to eat on the street (on tables in front of the Horror Make Up Show building) and then visit the prop area and do a Q& A session with the creative minds behind the event. The people I talked to were impressed with the props and the sheer numbers that HHN pushes through. I mean imagine owning a haunt and doing what HHN does in a week, KACHING! The one complaint I heard was that they had no House to show them and some people thought they would have that to offer. But most people were happy and felt it was very informative.
Friday the con kicked off and I was a little surprised at the low number of people I saw. I am used to larger cons, Spooky Empire and the huge Dragoncon so this was a little surprise for me. I also was a little upset that when I arrived I didn’t have a name badge and had to ask for one. Mine wasn’t ready even though I signed up for the event in January. But I cut them some slack since the Terra Queen of HHN hand delivered it to me when she saw me a few hours later. The first class was on Stilt Walking and Sliding. The class had stilt walkers from HHN who did a great job, sadly no sliders showed and even more amazing was that they only had put enough chairs in the room for half the people. But that happens when you are not sure of numbers. They made up for it with later classes having piles of extra chairs. The Trade floor opened and everyone flooded into the area looking for cool props and things of that nature. Sadly it was a small amount of vendors, the pictures show an idea of what they were selling at the prop areas. They had vendors selling makeup, and dvds and fog juice, bubbles, website information, pneumatic prop parts, Motorola radios and slider gear.
One of my favorite groups was the guys who were doing a booth called “Bring Terror back to Orlando” They were working on getting funding and setting up a year round Class A haunt. I wished them good luck they told me they knew it was an uphill battle in Orlando. It is funny to me that the Halloween destination has no major haunt. Go to any other tourist city, Pigeon Forge, Myrtle Beach they all have them but none in Orlando.
Sadly HHN and HOS control most of the quality people and minds who can put on and design a major haunt also the money you have to make to keep the doors open in a good destination like an International drive makes it even tougher.
Now classes ended around 5 on Friday and at 6 at the HHN creative minds came in to the Con and did a seminar of HHN and the now old and wore out Art of the Scare. For the others who had booked the next trip they were loading on Buses and on they were on the way Tampa. To visit Busch Gardens and learn about there event HOS. I had left around 4 and drove down so I could get a little coaster time since the event didn’t start till 7. I saw Scott Swenson and had some time to talk before the event started he told me to grab a seat by the Crown Colony that the event was going to start out in front of it. I sat down around 6:45 and they were sitting up a bar and they had the infamous Dj booth set up. I thought wow this is a nice little taste. As I sat there suddenly I saw 2 werewolves walking toward the Crown Colony, then 2 zombies, then 2 nurses, then a stilt walker, then Dr. and his patient, Then Nightshade and his Doll chainsaw person and then of course 2 sliders. I started realizing Scott was about to throw the kitchen sink at these Haunt People. The buses arrived and the music was pumping and the pictures were being taken (some people actually took pictures with those nurses,,lol) the bar was hopping they served dinner and Scott gave a talk on HOS and set up and then Robbi gave a short talk. Sadly there were many rude people who couldn’t shut up long enough to let Scott and Robbie be heard well by everyone (Sadly some were from Ga, my home state) Then the released everyone to do the Haunt tour of Nightshade and Reconstruction everyone seemed very impressed and Scott was in each of the Haunts to answer questions and gave that enthusiasm he is so famous for.
At 10:30 the event ended and everyone was happy and buzzing about HOS. The next day they were still buzzing and the classes and seminars went on as scheduled. That night the Masquerade ball had a nice turn out and some very good costumes. I didn’t go to the Ball as I wasn’t excited to spend 50 dollars on a dance with finger foods and a cash bar.
Hauntcon will be moving to Louisville, Ky next year for the event. I may go as the Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana area is full of haunts. I think for the money $85.00 for the con it is a little pricey for what you get. The tours at 195.00 and 78.00 per for HHN and HOS were not as bad. And the Ball $50.00 per person is a little high. But I am cheap as all kinds of hell. Overall I think Orlando is an area that is tough to get in the haunt market. I know that was part of the reason they brought the Convention here but I would be surprised to ever see it come to Central Florida again with the limited Haunt market.
Thanks for reading,