Admission to HAuNTcon Education is FREE with paid registration for that day! However, HAuNTcon Registration is required to attend the below classes. CLICK HERE to register. Additional fees are required for Workshop Classes. Session topics, speakers, as well as class day and times are subject to change.
8:30-9:30am – Business
How-To Build A Haunt: Tricks and Tips From 40 Years of Scary Construction
by Leonard Pickel, Hauntrepreneurs®
Everyone who has dreams of opening a haunted house had great ideas about what they want the patron experience to be like. The theme the room designs, the creative part of the plan is all they can think about, but what is the best way to build the walls, what is the best way to handle the electrical, how can a wooden structure pass building and fire code? In this informative session, industry icon Leonard Pickel will offer his insight on the best construction practices from 35 years’ experience building haunted attractions across the country and around the world. Topics include cost effective exit signage, different construction styles, panel connection systems and the best way to brace a haunted house. Whether you are already operating a haunted attraction, thinking about building a new attraction or even remodeling an attraction then this session is not to be missed.
8:30-9:30am – Creative
From Entry to Escape: Crafting A 5-Star Guest Experience
by John Tarpley, The Captured: A Live Escape Experience
To stand out in the crowded themed escape rooms business operators must look beyond the rooms themselves. Experience immersion begins before the guests arrive. In everything from communications prior to the guest’s arrival, all the way through their departure, the guest experience is paramount to high satisfaction. Utilizing simple theming techniques and outstanding customer service, John Tarpley shares ways to turn a great experience into an unforgettable one that will have them returning over and over again.
8:30-9:30am – Demonstration
Frightful Face Painting for Haunts
by Nick Wolfe, Evil Twin FX
Quickly painted and frightfully effective makeup is essential to today’s haunted attraction. With entertaining antidotes from 19 years in the makeup business, Nick Wolfe will demonstrate classic haunted house face makeups in the fast and fun facepainting style tat as made him famous. The perfect level of makeup for attraction actors, Nick explains how to create the illusion of 3D prosthetics with just highlight and shadow. Amusing as well as educational this demonstration covers how to facepaint creepy, scary, and victim makeups and what makes them effective. This session is not to be missed!
10:00-11:00am – Business
Diabolically Successful Haunt Advertising
by Dick Terhune, VoiceFromHell.com
Haunters face all kinds of challenges running a business and putting on a great show every season. The most successful haunters are those who routinely commit brazen acts of Evil Super Genius! In this session, Dick Terhune, the Haunt Industry’s “Voice From Hell” and the host of Hauntcast’s “Marketing Morgue” lays bare the most diabolically successful advertising and marketing strategies he has used to grow his clients’ attendance by as much as 300%. Always informative, educational, and entertaining, Dick will immerse attendees in the thought-process that goes into the world’s most successful haunt advertising, and motivate attendees with instantly usable knowledge that will grow their haunt business this season.
10:00-11:00am – Creative
Using Forced Perspective To Design Larger Than Life Sets
by Harry Siebert, ScareAtorium / The Counts Crypt Prop Shop
Forced perspective is a trick of the eye, used by architects and scenic designers for centuries, to build larger than life sets in small spaces. In this session, Harry Siebert will explain how forced perspective can be used in a haunted attraction to great effect. Topics include tips on construction, painting, decorating, and lighting to bring the “wow” factor to your sets and facades. Using the space above the 8-foot panel to increase detail and believability of your scenes will also be covered.
10:00-11:00am – Demonstration
Sliders: Adding Spark To Your Attraction!
by Todd Patton & Tim Green
Every haunt owner wants to see their queue lines packed full of people and the cash flowing in. However, waiting for hours in long lines can create a negative experience for patrons. With the proper line entertainment, the wait becomes part of the show, eases the tension of waiting in a long line, and can even be a memorable experience for the customer. In this session, Todd Patton and Tim Green will show attendees how to ramp up their queue line entertainment by adding “Sliders.” Topics include the basics of sliding, advanced sliding techniques, sliding equipment, and gloves. Attendees will learn different sliding techniques, how surfaces effect sliding, and effective ways to incorporate Sliders to terrify crowds.
11:30am-12:30pm – Business
Retaining Customers: Keeping Them Coming Back For More
by Amanda Laing, The Resolution Place
Learning new ways to and
Keeping customers coming back for more is crucial for a successful business, and customer service skills are an essential part of improving the bottom line, making a good business great! Throughout this interactive session, Amanda Laing will walk attendees through ways to improve their interact with ideal clients and customers. Topics include different personality types, exceeding customer expectations, how to handle disgruntled customers, and how to improve listening skills.
11:30am-12:30pm – Creative
The Future Of Scare Acting
by Kyle Vest, Blast Effects
Haunted attractions are evolving. The scenic decoration rivals film sets and makeup is hitting new levels of realism. It is now time to take haunt acting to a new level as well. In this lively session, Kyle Vest will offer new tried and true methods that have been changing haunt acting for the future. Topics include, actors who won’t act, is this fear or just uncool, and discovering an actor’s hidden talents. From finding hidden gems during casting and weeding out the trouble makers to helping the shy scare actor bust out of their shell to actor training techniques, this calls covers it all.
11:30am-12:30pm – Demonstration
Non-Latex Skeleton Corpsing How-To Interactive Demonstration
by Dr. William Ramsay, EyePromote, Inc.
Change plain, boring white skeleton into something truly worthy of a scream! In this session, “Dr. TerrorEyes” (Dr. Bill Ramsay) will provide attendees with the knowledge to transform a plastic skeleton from boring to soaring — without the mess of latex glue or paper mache. Let the Doctor’s 42 years of Haunt experience provide the perfect make-over that every lame skeleton needs. In under an hour, attendees get close-up details (and maybe even get to assist) as the Doctor provides his “therapeutic touch”. The finished corpsified “Harvey” skeleton (kindly donated by “Skeletons And More” company) will have a value of $225. To add to the fun, course attendees are eligible for several door prize drawings throughout the Doctor’s course.
“Ask The Experts” Roundtable Discussions
Join in on the discussion with our panel of experts. Each table has a designated topic for discussion and an industry notable there to answer attendees questions, develop solutions, flesh out new ideas and share experiences. This is a great opportunity to meet other attendees and brainstorm, Topics include design, theming, creative storytelling, actor management, home haunting, escape rooms, hayrides, makeup, airbrushing, branding your haunt, marketing, social media, legal matters, audio, and video! Seating is first come first serve.
Tod Ardoin – Escape Rooms
Jeffrey Blackburn – Audio & Video
Michael Burnett – Makeup/Body Painting
Brett Hays – HAuntng Legal Issues
Philip Hernandez – Social Media
Patrick Konopelski – Hayrides
Todd Patton – Design/Theming
Leonard Pickel – Haunting Start-Up
Dr. William Ramsay – Home Haunting
Alyssa Schipani – Actor Management
Scott Swenson – Creative Storytelling
Brad Weinstein – Marketing
3:30-4:30pm – Business
Haunts That Have To Move: How To Make Them Work
by Curt Brower & Matt Kolbe, Haunted Hall
Not all haunted attractions have the luxury of a permanent year-round building. Temporary install or “Tear Down” haunts require a bit more thought. They must be designed to not only come apart easily but also to move and store efficiently. In this cost driven session, Curt Brower & Matt Kolbe will share their experience with haunts that have to be taken down after each season. Topics include location, design, permits, security, and storage.
3:30-4:30pm – Creative
The Audition: Casting and Training Haunt Actors
by Scott Swenson, Scott Swenson Creative Development LLC
All too often I have heard haunt actors AND haunt owners ask the question, “Do I have to Audition?” The answer is simple…YES! By casting and training the right people for the roles in your attraction, you improve your product and increase your positive word of mouth. While simultaneously making your life so much easier. A must for haunt actors, directors, and owners, Scott Swenson will discuss where to find the best actors for your haunt, how to use your auditions as your first wave of marketing, and specifically what to do with the potential actors during both the audition and trying process.
3:30-4:30pm – Demonstration
Airbrush and Prosthetics For Haunts
by Darla Wigley, Wigleyfx
Not keen with just throwing a mask at an actor and hoping they can emote through its thick layers, today’s haunt operators looking for a more efficient makeup options for their haunts. However, creating cool intricate makeups for your attraction takes time… or does it? In this demonstration, Darla Wigley and team will show attendees how to use airbrush and prosthetics to enhance your haunted attraction and still have time to get these realistic makeups on the actors and in place before show time? Topics include product info and safety concerns for the actors in the makeup chair. This airbrush and prosthetic demo will get attendee’s creative juices flowing with tips and tricks to haunt makeup.
5:00-6:00pm – Business
Using Facebook To Attract and Engage Your Guests
by Philip Hernandez, Gantom Lighting & Controls
In this session, Philip Hernandez introduces attraction marketers/operators to Facebook and Instagram. Students will be introduced to the mechanics of each platform, be given a tutorial on paid advertising as well as discover essential content creation and management strategies. Recommended for members of a haunt’s marketing, sales, or operations teams, this entry-level course is designed for attendees to leave with a greater understanding of these social media platforms. Students are however encouraged to bring Facebook content or marketing plans to the session for group discussion.
5:00-6:00pm – Creative
How and Why To Re-Theme Your Haunt!
by Todd Patton & Tim Green
Keeping a haunt audience enthralled year after year, and not bored with the same old fright scenarios is a challenge for all haunt designers. In this seminar, Tim Green will share reasons why attendees should re-theme their haunted attraction each year. As well as sharing tips and ideas on how to launch new themes without breaking the bank.
5:00-6:00pm – Demonstration
Life Casting 101: A Demonstration
by George Crenshaw, Deathly Hollows Fx
Learn the art of life-casting from a 12-year veteran of the haunted house and Halloween mask industries, George Crenshaw. Whether on a low or unlimited budget, attendees will learn how to use new specific materials to create life like castings for mask and prosthetic sculpting. The systematic process of life-casting from the preparation of materials to the execution of the complete process will be demonstrated. Topics include materials needed for life casting, cost of materials, where to get the materials, safety, making sure the subject is comfortable, executing the life cast, and casting a completed life cast for sculpting.