In an industry centered on macabre subjects like death and dying, the one thing you don’t want flat-lining is your business. For haunters, the technicalities of business can be overwhelming. HAuNTcon has brought the brightest specialists in their respective fields of marketing, social media, business plans, getting started and more to share their knowledge and experience with you. These very important classes are chosen to help make running your haunt easier, more lucrative… and more fun! Times and topics are subject to change.
Note: Registration to HAuNTcon is required to take these classes.
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If you have a suggestion for a seminar you would like to have offered at HAuNTcon 2016, then please share the topic with us at email@example.com If you have knowledge or expertise that you would like to share with HAuNTcon attendees and are interested in presenting it at a future HAuNTcon then submit a proposal HERE.
CLASS TOPICS, SPEAKERS AND SCHEDULE ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
All HAuNTcon Education is FREE with paid admission for that day!
Contemporary Tips for a Powerful Haunted Website
by Alexis Abare, Haunted Farms of America, Inc.
Creating a website for the first time, or redesigning your existing website, can be a scary experience. Your website is a key factor, (perhaps even the main factor) that drives people to buy tickets and attend your event. Your site should be interesting, professional, trustworthy, and dynamic or visitors will click the ‘back’ button and search for another haunt to visit.
In this lively, thought provoking session, Alexis Abare and Benjamin Selecky of Haunted Farms of America will help you “Crack the code,” and discover the important qualities that make a website a powerful force. Look for 13 tips for a powerful haunted website and learn about resources and tools that will empower you to take control of the digital side of your haunted business.
Copyright and Trademark for Haunters
by Jonathan Bailey, CopyByte
Many haunt owners don’t think about the role intellectual property plays in running their attractions. However, intellectual property governs almost every aspect of a haunted attraction. Ignoring this is extremely risky. Even a “small” copyright or trademark lawsuit can cost tens of thousands of dollars between legal fees and damages. That amount that can bankrupt many haunts.
Fortunately, these are threats that are almost completely avoidable. In this session, Jonathan Bailey will explain how intellectual property impacts every area of the haunt industry. Topics include the attraction’s name, ads, website, the characters within the haunt and much more, from promotion to concept and execution.
You will learn both how to avoid legal trouble and how to protect your original creations from others. The time to learn about intellectual property and haunting is now. Once the cease and desist letter has arrived, it’s far too late.
Opening A Haunt For The First Time So Your Experience Isn’t Incredibly Frightful!
by Dr. Brian D. Jackson, Derailed Haunted House
So, you’re thinking about opening a haunt? You’ve counted the number of people waiting in line at an attraction you’ve visited, multiplied that number by the ticket price, then thought, “Wow, I can do this!” This session is not designed to discourage your interest, but to provide you with myriad considerations you NEED to know before your next BIG step! You’ll leave this session with a categorized checklist to assist in guiding your decisions to what is hoped to be a successful haunt business.
The session is designed to review some of the items that one might not necessarily consider when thinking about entering the haunt industry. One of the scariest things about a haunted house can be owning one! The goal of this session is to help quell some of the fears you will encounter as an owner. Time will be dedicated in this session to address questions you may have about the beginning process. Those with years of experience are encouraged to attend to create a robust and productive discussion for those who are new and aspiring to the business of haunting.
Happy Actors, Happy Bottom Line
by Dana Martin, Talladega Frights Haunted Attraction
Do your actors grow stale and repetitive as the month wears on? Do you lose actors mid-season? Is scheduling your actors a problem? Are your costumes, makeup, masks unorganized? It might be your management. Unmanaged monsters are like circus animals without the ringmaster: No direction. No focus. No common goal.
In this informative session, Dana Martin will show attendees a better way to manage your monsters efficiently, allowing owners and other crew to focus on their jobs. Baptized by fire, Martin operated two haunted attractions 90 minutes apart and out of necessity, developed these techniques to cultivate a positive acting environment and satisfy crew expectations.
Haunted Attractions, large and small, can benefit from cast and crew that returns year after year. Rather than rookie training a new cast every year, returning actors can improve their skills. Dedicated actors will be there when you need them and help mentor new actors. Your bottom line benefits if your actors are happy and return each season.
Besides management tips and tricks, she will share the most efficient methods to reward and retain actors on a yearly basis, including techniques and classes used to “give back” to volunteer actors to equip them with job skills and career training for lifetime enrichment.
Enjoying a 75% return rate on actors each season at both of her attractions, Martin will show you how dedicating one well trained person to actor management will drastically improve your show (and save your sanity).
Creative (And Affordable) Marketing for Haunts and Halloween Events
by David Markland, ScareLA
A well thought out low cost marketing plan can often out perform one with a higher budget, and in this session, David Markland of ScareLA will offer a crash course in various marketing techniques and strategies using a limited budget. . Topics in this class include social media, email campaigns, in person interactions, smart PR and promotional stunts. Focusing on all manner of Halloween events and haunted attractions, David will explain which techniques work best depending on your market.
Starting a Non-Profit Haunt
by Todd Patton and Tim Green, Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern / Fear Connection
You have ideas, talent and motivation, but little funding…how can you get started in the Haunt business? One option is to partner with a charitable organization. In this session, Todd Patton of Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern will provide attendees with details, ideas, and proven methods that will help them partner with a non-profit group to open your first haunt. Learn how Todd partnered with charities to help put the blood, fear, and fun into his own Haunted Attraction, and you too can live the dream of having your own Haunted Attraction.
Haunted Hayrides From The Ground Up!
by Kristen & Dennis Doyle, Night Terrors Haunted Farm
Opening and running a first time haunted hayride can be an overwhelming process, full of big decisions like where to begin. Or perhaps you are already running a hayride and have some questions. If so, Kristen and Dennis Doyle of Night Terrors Haunted Farm can help!
In this informative session, the Doyles will go through the whole process one step at a time and share their first-hand experience of building a haunted hayride from the ground up. Topics include choosing a location, building to your strengths, the benefits of an outdoor attraction, troubleshooting and safety measures that every haunted hayride owner should be aware of, and how to incorporate them into the planning from day one.
Online Ticketing, Upsells, and Digital Marketing: Advanced Tactics to Double Your Haunt Sales!
by Alex Linebrink, HauntPay
An advanced course on selling more to each attendee, getting more money upfront, and using inexpensive (or FREE) online and social media tactics and tools to boost attendance. Case studies included!
Additional Elements to Increase Revenue and Expand Audience Demographics
by Scott Swenson, The Vault of Souls
Theme parks and Boutique style haunts have offered guests additional products in their Halloween events to expand their audience and earn more money. This seminar will discuss the actual and perceived value of everything from merchandise to VIP tours; photo ops to full blown parties. Learn how any sized haunt can offer additional elements that will generate both interest and income. The discussion will focus on the simple concept of “Who do you want to attend your haunt? and What is it that they want to make their experience better?” We will also talk about “buzz worthy” elements that can be incorporated into the haunt itself to raise interest and make your haunt the talk of the town.
Guerilla Marketing Your Haunt
by Brett Molitor, Hysterium
By definition, “Guerilla marketing is an advertising strategy that focuses on low-cost unconventional marketing tactics that yield maximum results with a minimum budget.” Every haunted attraction is or should be on a budget, and most are on so tight a budget that traditional media like television, billboards and radio are out of reach. In this informative session, Brett Molitor of Hysterium Haunted House will explain how attendees can create word of mouth (the best promotion of all) and sustain it on a very limited marketing budget. In this class, Brett will show attendees how to spend minimal money to get maximum results and how to spend what marketing budget you do have, wisely.
13 Reasons to Start a Haunted Farm
by Benjamin Selecky, Haunted Farms of America
Do you love farms? So do we. One of the most challenging obstacles of opening a first time haunted attraction is finding a location. It has to be zoned correctly, have good visibility, be easy to find, and have some infrastructure to support the event. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, a farmer, a creative partner, or you already own a Haunted Attraction, Agritainment may be the solution to some of your problems.
Agritainment is the combination of special events and farmland (Agricultural Entertainment). It is a hot, fast growing segment of the Haunt industry that is sweeping the nation, and Haunted Farms is at the forefront of this movement. In this session, Benjamin Selecky and Alexis Abare of Haunted Farms of America will discuss why a Haunted Farm should be at the top of your list when looking for a location.
Topics include zoning advantages, risk management, investment, and the creative process. Find out how you can leverage your existing resources to take advantage of the growing community, support network, and resources available to launch a Haunted Farm and position yourself for success.
Those Pesky Inspectors: Code Compliance and Your Attraction
by Andrew Alexander,
Haunted House operations are configured in a manner that increases potential risk to the occupants. Audio-visual special effects, reduced lighting levels, combustible materials, and maze-like means of egress arrangements can potentially be hazardous to life and safety. It is extremely important for haunt owners to correctly follow building and fire codes and know what the local officials will require for actor and patron safety.
In this session, Andrew Alexander, Chief Building Inspector for the City of Oneonta, will discuss dealing with building and fire codes, and how to work with your local inspectors to ensure code and life safety compliance in your attraction. Topics include code terminology, jurisdiction, planning, permits, construction methods and materials, ADA compliance, as well as the consequences of non-compliance.
This class a rare opportunity to hear from an actual building official what they are looking for when inspecting a haunted attraction. If opening a haunted attraction is even a thought in your mind, then don’t miss this class.
Make-up Room Set Up and Supply
by Darla Wigley, Wrigley FX with Ruby Falls Haunted caverns
When it comes to the hustle and bustle of nightly preparation, is your makeup studio functioning to its maximum potential? Having an organized studio and productive team of artists is crucial to any haunt production. In this seminar, the crew from WigleyFX will discuss how to setup and supply their makeup studio including inventory, lighting, and space. Attendees will also learn how to hire, prepare, and train a rock star team of Makeup Artists AND how to properly stock their makeup kits! Last but not least, WigleyFX will demonstrate the most effective techniques to achieve movie-quality makeup and ways to pump out 50 actor makeups in a just 90 minutes!
Lessons Learned: The Trials and Tribulations of Opening a Haunted Attraction
by Kevin Irvin, Dam b haunted village
No one plans to fail, however 60% of all businesses fail in the first 2 years. The rate of haunted attraction startups is even higher. In this frank and honest assessment of a haunted attraction start up, Kevin Irvin of Dam B Haunted House shares the professional mistakes he made over when opening his haunted event. In the hopes that others will not repeat his errors, Kevin offers the hard lessons he has learned in his six year struggle in the haunted attraction business. If you are considering getting in the haunting business in the future, do not miss this informative class on what not to do when opening a haunted attraction.