Festival Preview: Hauntcon
HAuNTcon is an acronym for the Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Conference, an expo and convention “Designed by Haunters, for Haunters” of every age and level of experience. HAuNTcon brings people who love Haunted Houses, Halloween and scaring people together for a fun-filled four days and nights Haunt Tours, Education, Tradeshow and Networking, rounded out by a Haunted Garage Sale and the amazing annual Costume Ball. Past exhibitors in the tradeshow have featured haunt industry heavy-weights such as Haunted Enterprises, Fright Props, and Distortions Unlimited. Reasonable booth fees that includes electrical and internet, allows up-and-coming Haunt Industry exhibitors to get cost effective exposure to a fanatical fan base. HAuNTcon is heavily attended by pro-haunters. HAuNTcon also moves to a new city every year with the intent to grow the industry by promoting to home haunters, haunt actors and Halloween enthusiasts of all kinds. This year’s Hauntcon is taking place between the 23rd and 28th January, in Houston, Texas.
Kicking off HAuNTcon 2014 Spotlight tours is SCREAMWORLD. This multi-element “nose to tail” haunt experience includes: Skull Cave, considered the most high tech haunted attraction in Houston, with very elaborate scenes and sophisticated animatronic features, and containing the VooDoo Swamp, Psycho Farm House, Mummy Hall and the Giant Skull Monster. Jake’s Slaughterhouse, a grim, old style meat processing plant, complete with slaughtered beef, gutted hogs, skinned animals, rotting carcasses and a few things no meat market should ever have. Edge of Darkness, featuring scenes from the dark underside of modern society, including a hospital scene, the boiler room, death row and the morgue. Maze of Maniacs, prowling ghouls use disorienting strobe lights and meandering corridors to their advantage as they systematically hunt down their victims. Zombie Graveyard, nestled in the hollow of a forgotten bog is an outdoor attraction that is the final home of a host of monstrous creatures that never rest in peace, now featuring the vortex tunnel.
HAuNTcon hosts a variety of workshops aimed at teaching the skills required to create amazing haunts. These include –
Brutal Rust’s Quintessential Boiler Room: Set Construction and Detailing Workshop. Starting from scratch, attendees will help build the walls, and create sets of a rusted pipe filled boiler room. This session will cover set wall construction, base and faux painting, distressing and set dressing, all using low cost, light weight wood, foam, plastic and sheetrock. Once learned, the techniques demonstrated in this hands on workshop can be used in a variety of ways thought your entire attraction to take your haunted house to the next level of realism and detail. At the end of the day, the boiler room set will be auctioned off to the attendees.
Fright Zone’s Making Monsters 101. This all day class will teach students the entire process of creating, applying, and painting a latex prosthetic. Students will sculpt and mold a piece, take a brief lunch break, then come back to class and learn how to use latex to make their creation into a working piece of art using airbrush and had applied paint techniques.
Hauntrepreneur’s Opening Your First Haunted Attraction: Without Losing An Arm And A Leg. This comprehensive and detailed step by step “how-to” session features the “do’s and don’ts” on getting an attraction open, keeping it open and making enough money to survive for both a for-profit dark attraction and charity Halloween Event. From choosing the attraction name and URL for the event though pricing and dates of operation, topics covered include, creating a business plan, location requirements, safety code compliance, attraction style, attraction design, multi-element approach, timed ticketing, advertising, operations and answers to the most frequently asked questions: “How big should the attraction be, how much should I charge, and how much will it cost?” In this all day session, attendees will explore the reasons why some attractions prosper while others fail. “A Haunted Attraction is a business and as in any other business, what you don’t know about this specialized field can put you out of business before you get started,” explains haunt industry veteran Leonard Pickel who will share with attendees how to maximize profits while minimizing costs and effort while describing what he sees as the best model for creating a successful Halloween Event.
For more information, check out the official Hauntcon website.