Get the answers to your burning questions here!
Q: What is HAuNTcon?
The Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Convention is an expo and conference designed for the needs of Haunted Attraction Owners, Operators and those who strive to some day be in the Haunt business. Open to the general public, HAuNTcon provides a vast amount of education and do-it-yourself hands-on workshops. Each year, HAuNTcon moves to a different part of the country and offers tours of area Haunted Events, so that attendees can stay on the cutting edge of what the best attractions in the industry are doing.
Q: How did HAuNTcon get started?
A: HAuNTcon started out in 1999 as a small Haunter Gathering each May with educational seminars, show and tell demonstrations and a small swap meet. The gathering continued to grow, and by 2004 it was ready to become the first of its kind, a haunted attraction national convention. Haunter education is still our focus, with over 40 hours of education included in the price of admission to the show.
Q: Why a travelling show?
A: Moving the show to a new city is the most difficult part of what we do, but HAuNTcon moves every year to provide Haunters who cannot afford to travel every year a chance to attend when it is close to them. Moving also provides us a great opportunity to tour infamous Haunted Attractions around the country that owners cannot visit in October.
Q: How do you choose the cities to host HAuNTcon?
A: We look for meeting space and hotel rooms that are affordable to our attendees in locations that have multiple Haunted Attractions to tour. Not an easy task, because we have to find Halloween events that are still standing and set up enough to tour during the convention, and then talk the haunt owner into putting forth the time, energy and effort to open up off season just for our attendees.
Q: What should attendees pay attention to at this year’s event?
A: Our attendees have been coming to HAuNTcon for over 10 years now and have learned a great deal from our education. So we now have to program more and more advanced classes. Look for even more advanced education, from experts outside the haunting industry on subjects like social media and advertising.
Q: Why does a business conference have a costume ball?
A: Most haunters are working in October and don’t get to dress up in freaky costumes just for the fun of it. The HAuNTcon costume ball gives attendees a chance to get back to what got them into haunting in the first place: Halloween! The costume ball gives attendees and vendors time to get to know each other outside of the show floor. It is a great opportunity to meet and network with like-minded people… not to mention it is a GREAT party!
Q: Do you have to wear a costume to the ball, and is there a costume contest?
A: The short answer is ‘no’ to both. A majority of people attending the costume ball will be in costume, but costumes are not required in order to attend. However, we do ask that you dress nicely, as this is an upscale event. As for a “contest,” the haunted attraction industry is very competitive as it is, and HAuNTcon is a place of sharing. No matter who wins a contest it upsets someone who didn’t, and that is not the spirit of HAuNTcon! Ball attendees range from Imagineers to Home Haunters, with a full range from store-bought costumes to tedious hand-sculpted creatures. They are all fantastic; how could you choose one as the best? All we care about is that you have a GREAT time.
Q: Do you have to pay if you just want to attend the trade show?
A: Meeting space for the convention is very expensive, and it is not fair for the exhibitors to carry the full cost of the 10,000 square foot trade show room. So there is a charge for admission to the trade show, however that admission includes three days of continental breakfast and all of the education, seminars and demonstrations at the show. If you are on a budget, single day passes are also available, but we hope you will join us for the full six days of tours, tradeshow, education and fun!
Q: How do I receive the tickets I bought online?
A: All tickets are will-call at the trade show location and can be picked up starting the Wednesday before the convention starts. That means you need to swing by the trade show before going to the Thursday Night Haunt Tour, so you can pick up those tickets.
Q: What is the Pre-Show Bus Tour?
A: Starting on Thursday morning and going through Friday, before the convention begins, we offer a bus tour of as many exceptional haunted attractions in the area as we can find. These tours are one reason that HAuNTcon moves to a new city each year: so we can see new attractions in different parts of the country.
Q: What happens when?
A: The Pre-Show Bus Tour is the Thursday and Friday before the convention. Friday night is the Kick-Off Haunt Tour at a local Haunted Attraction (transportation is available). The tradeshow and education start early on Saturday, and run Sunday and Monday. There is another Haunted Attraction Tour on Sunday night, and yet another on Monday night. The Costume Ball is on Saturday night and the Haunted Garage Sale is on Sunday. But that is not all! On Tuesday, after the official trade show, HAuNTcon offers a series of full day hands-on workshops. These advanced classes provide in-depth one-on-one instruction on a variety of subjects vital to the success of your Haunted Event.
Q: How many haunted attractions can I see during HAuNTcon?
A: The pre-show tour averages 11 different attractions and some other fun points of interest along the way. Then there is a Friday night tour, a Sunday night tour and a Monday night tour, but any of these events may have multiple attractions open for attendees. On an average year, if you purchase each of the tours, you would see as many as 20 different attractions in a four day period.
Q: Can I get a booth at HAuNTcon?
A: If you have a product or service that you would like to sell to the Haunted Attraction Industry, HAuNTcon is a great place to exhibit. Booth space is reasonable and includes many amenities that are up charges at most trade shows. There are two different booth packages, one a bare bones package and the other a premiere package that even provides exhibitors with lunch, because we know how hard it is to get away from your booth. There is a link on the web site menu to sign up for a booth. If you are just starting your haunted business or just have some haunted items you would like to sell, you can buy a table at the Haunted Garage Sale. It is a great place to test out a product or sell off some props you made or are not using any more.
Q: Where do you find your seminar/workshop presenters?
A: HAuNTcon is all about networking and the sharing of ideas, and the educational part of the conference is what we are most proud of. Our seminar and workshop presenters are people like you: Haunters who have learned a thing or two about some aspect of the industry and are willing to share that information with others. Many years ago, I rationalized that one person alone can take haunting only to the level of their knowledge, experience and talents. To excel past that, you have to rely on other people’s level of haunting expertise, as a stepping stone to get to a higher level. If we all share our passion, knowledge and tricks, together we can take haunting to levels it has never achieved before. Please, think of what you know that could help someone in their haunting endeavors and share that information by becoming a HAuNTcon presenter. CLICK HERE and fill in your session title, description and a short bio detailing yourself and your experience.
Q: Is there an age limit to attend HAuNTcon?
A: We know that many haunted events are family-run businesses, and the children are often strategic parts of those events. So there is no age requirement to attend HAuNTcon. Well-behaved and well-supervised children of any age are welcome. There is no charge for children under 13 to attend the trade show and education, as long as they are accompanied by a parent. However, there is no discounted rate for children. Anyone 13 and over pays the same as an adult, so take advantage of early discount registration. Note: Some props in the trade show may be too graphic for young children. Parental judgment is advised.
Q: Do I have to own a business to attend HAuNTcon?
A: While some of the education is directed to event owner/operators, HAuNTcon is open to the general public and everyone is welcome. The ticket registration asks for a company or attractions name so we can print it on your badge, but you can leave that line blank if you don’t have either.
Q: What should I know before I get to the convention?
A: From the time the bus leaves for the pre-show tour on Thursday to the final workshop letting out on Tuesday afternoon, HAuNTcon is packed with almost 24 hours a day of networking and activities. By far our biggest complaint is that we do not schedule nap time into the conference agenda! There is no right or wrong way to haunt, and most of us do it completely differently, but all of us have something we are doing right. If you open your mind to the possibilities of learning something new and different, you will come away from HAuNTcon with great new ideas and methods worth many times over the cost of the tickets to the convention.
Q: What should I bring to the convention?
A: Bring plenty of business cards with your name and contact information. Each exhibitor will ask for this, and you will want to hand them out to the new friends you meet during the conference. Bring an extra bag to carry the stuff you accumulate home with you. And don’t forget your costume for the ball, just in case. (You may change your mind once you get here!)
Q: Will HAuNTcon be back here next year?
A: No! HAuNTcon moves to a different city each year to find the best Haunted Attractions in the country to tour. This gives everyone a chance to show off their haunts… eventually, we will be near where you are!
Q: Can I pay for the haunted house tours at the haunted houses or on their web site?
A: No! HAuNTcon has rented these attractions for a private party – to which you are invited – but there will NOT be tickets available at the haunted houses. You have to buy your tickets on the HAuNTcon website or at the convention site to attend the haunted houses.
Q: I will be on the Pre-Show tour – do I need to make hotel reservations for Thursday night?
A: The price on the Pre-Show tour includes transportation, food and admission to the haunt tours. You may want to bring some cash for snacks, adult beverages and merchandise for the haunts on the tour, but everything else you need is included. Normally, lodging is also included in the price, but for the first time in 2013 it is not, because the buses will return to the host hotel Thursday night. So check to make sure. And in 2014, the buses will be returning to the host hotel so lodging is not included in the price.
Q: Is there some place I can put my luggage while I am on the Pre-Show tour?
A: You can leave anything that you don’t want to lug on the bus with the hotel concierge. They will store it for you until you check back in.
Q: Does it cost money to just see the Trade Show?
A: I have always felt that it was unfair for the exhibitors to pay the total bill for the exhibit space. It increases their costs of exhibiting which they pass on in increased prices. By charging the trade show attendees, we spread out the cost of the meeting space so we can keep our booth prices low.
Q: How much is each seminar?
A: Once you pay for admission into the convention, all of the education (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) is free! There is a materials fee for each of the hands-on workshops, but you get to take what you make home with you after being instructed about how to make the prop. The hands-on workshops do sell out, so be sure to reserve your seat as soon as you know which ones you want to take. The Tuesday classes are full day workshops, and there is a fee for those. You can buy tickets for these workshop sessions at the same place you register for the convention. They are also limited in size, so sign up early.
Q: What is a Hands-On Workshop?
A: A “Hands-On Workshop” is where you are instructed about how to take common everyday materials and turn them into the scariest things you can imagine! A small fee is required to pay for the materials used, but when you are done you get to take your evil creation home with you.
Q: How do I sign up for the Hands-On Workshops?
A: The Hands-On Workshops are sold on the HAuNTcon website through the eHaunts.com shopping cart, until just before the convention. Then, if there are any spaces left, you can sign up at the show.
Q: Do I need reservations for the Seminars?
A: No. The seminars are first-come, first-serve, and the popular topics fill up quickly, so get there early to get a good seat. There is limited seating for the Workshops, and you should be able to sign up for them onsite, but you should sign up in advance as soon as these classes are finalized a week or so out from the show.
Q: There is a lot going on at HAuNTcon… when do we sleep?
A: There is no sleep at HAuNTcon! We have crammed every second of the convention with more education, tours, products, networking and pure fun than is allowed by law! So bring your No-Doz and Redbull, and join us for a haunting good time at the Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Convention… HAuNTcon!
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