Sheraton Birmingham
Birmingham, AL
January 28-February 1, 2016

Creative Sessions

Creative Sessions

DemonstrationsCreative SessionsBusiness Classes
Hands-On WorkshopsAdvanced All Day Workshops

Creativity lies at the heart of any great entertainment venture. We sometimes get so bogged down in the technical and business details of bringing our attractions to life that it is easy to lose track of that spark of story and imagination that truly engages haunted attraction guests. Listen in, follow along or join in with these Creative sessions and let our innovative speakers help your dark dreams flourish. Times, topics and speakers are subject to change.
Note: Registration to HAuNTcon is required to take these classes.
CLICK HERE to register.

NOTE: We are working diligently to finalize the 2016 HAuNTcon Education Program. However, it will be much later in the year before we have any solid schedule to share with attendees. Below we offer the 2015 Education offering, just to show you what a fantastic learning opportunity you missed last year, and to whet your appetite for what will be in store for next year.

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 If you have some knowledge or expertise that you would like to share with HAuNTcon attendees, then please write up a description of the topic, a name for the presentation and a short bio on yourself and submit all that HERE

2015 Education Schedule

Creative 1 – Saturday 8:30 – 9:30 am
Scare the living daylights out of them: A Scaring Tutorial
by Roger Hayes of Hayes Haunt

You can have the most realistically detailed haunted attraction, the most elaborate and astonishing props and the most eye-popping costumes and makeup, but none of it makes a difference if you can’t scare anybody. You have to give them something to scream about. A scare is a carefully crafted art form, that comes in many types and flavors. A successful haunted attraction is based upon the ability to frighten and fully entertain your guests.
In this lively session, Roger Hayes will explain how to creatively use fear and to eliminate bottlenecks in the haunt, how to effectively use lighting to enhance scares and set, how to use scares to move the guests through the haunt and increase throughput. A complete and well-designed scare will keep patrons coming back for more! This insightful discussion will examine specific options that you can use in your haunted attraction to scare the patrons, fueling their nightmares. Attendees in this session will learn how improve their haunts with more effective scares from an avid haunter with an engineering background and an artist’s eye. Attend, and you could win one of two amazing tombstones from The Tombstone Factory in the drawing after the session. Must be present to win. Check out their website at

Creative 2 – Saturday 10:00 – 11:00 am
Homemade Blood Guts and Gore! Do It Yourself Special FX
by Greg Poljacik of Gravity and Momentum LLC

Attendees will learn how to make their own blood, guts, gore and special FX from ingredients found in the home or at any local store. Check out their website at

Creative 3 – Saturday 4:30 – 5:30 pm
Cashing In On A Haunted Christmas
by Marty Arominski of Chamber of Horrors NY

Opening a haunted event during Christmas has a completely different set of issues and concerns from opening in October. In this informative session, industry veteran Marti Arominski, will take attendees though ways that he has overcome the issues with December Haunting that he used with “A Very Scary Christmas” event at Chamber of Horrors NY. Topics include theme, advertising, budgeting, casting, and scares. This multimedia presentation will include photos , commercials, video and news coverage of his event. If you are considering opening you attraction off season, then this is a must attendee discussion. Check out their website at

Creative 4 – Sunday 8:30 – 9:30 am
Building A Better Graveyard: Design Principles to Set You Apart From the Rest
by Jeff and Chris Davis of Davis Graveyard

This seminar will cover the entire process of creating an award winning graveyard. It will cover lessons learned along with some tips and tricks that will help anyone build a creepier graveyard. From large scale facades and structures: to detailed tombstones and monuments you will see some of the ways to use Styrofoam. It will explain how to do video ghost effects and singing statues. Find out what monster mud is and how to use it to build props that look great. Learn about casting with expanding foam. Hear about how animatronics and atmosphere details are used to add to the overall feel. It will also touch on details like lighting, organic treatments and other small but important touches. Check out their website at

Creative 5 – Sunday 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Advanced Haunted Attraction Design: Haunting Outside the Box
by Leonard Pickel of Hauntrepreneurs(R) Themed Attraction Design and Consulting

“It’s just a haunted house… how hard could it be?” While it may be true that anyone can design a haunted house, what is it that sets an amazing Fright Attraction apart from just an okay haunted house? In this quick paced session attendees will delve into the cutting edge process that leading attraction designers use to develop an unforgettable fright attraction. Veteran attraction designer Leonard Pickel of Hauntrepreneurs(R) Themed Attraction Design will explain how storyline and Architectural design principles like “form follows function” are used to develop terrifying Fright Attractions, and how attendees can use these methods to strike terror into the hearts of their patrons. Topics include; how theme and storyline increase realism and provides a blueprint for the experience. The different types of frights and how these frights combine into the overall Scare Factor of the attraction. The need for high capacity in a fright attraction and how to maximize throughput while maintaining the high quality of the experience. Whether you already have a Fright Attraction, or are merely considering opening one, take your attraction design to the next level by attending this thought provoking session.

Creative 6 – Sunday 4:30 – 5:30 pm
Tailoring your Scares to your Market: Why Chainsaws & Clowns don’t work in China
by Alan E Ostrander of AEO Studios, Inc.

Learn ways to dramatically increase the impact of your scares by understanding your target audience, tailoring your show directly to that audience, and turning your guests own fears & phobias against them! Join Alan O, a 30+ year veteran of Theatrical Haunts & Productions around the world, as he takes you through the psychological breakdown of different types of Fears & Scares. By understanding Why different Scares/Impacts/themes have varied effects on different groups of people, you can use these methods to make Your production the Scariest, and Most Memorable it can be! Discussion would include breakdown of the different types of fears – the known vs. unknown… how to maximize the scare factor by capitalizing on the pre-existing experiences/stories/beliefs of the local market where your haunt is located, etc. Check out their website at

Creative 7 – Monday 8:30 – 9:30 am
The Haunted Travel Niche Market
by Maria Schmidt of Haunted Travels USA

Bringing the realities of the paranormal together to enhance local economies and historical interest.” This presentation discusses the potential and growing niche travel market in haunted destinations and itineraries. There are many merits (besides encouraging small and local business growth) in this unique travel market trend. It is a catalyst to put all the stake holders together, including and not limited to: Haunted Inns, Ghost Tour Groups, Paranormal Investigator Groups, Haunted Attractions, Mediums/Psychics, Metaphysical shops and (above all) Paranormal/Haunted Events. Together they can work to stimulate local businesses, and above all, attention to the flavors/historical significance of the associated cities/communities. The speaker will Introduce the new app: Haunted Travels USA and techniques of how to market yourselves in the world of personal mobile devices within the surge of paranormally-driven shows/events and reality media exposures. Check out their website at

Creative 8 – Monday 10:00 – 11:00 am
Trash to Terror: Low-Cost Techniques for DIY Haunters
by Jennifer Vanlangdingham

New to haunting, on a limited budget, lack storage space, enjoy building scary stuff yourself, (or all the above)? Jennifer builds full-size haunts in Hawaii, despite the high cost of living and ridiculous shipping fees. She will demonstrate how to transform cardboard boxes and other dumpster-diving trash finds into effective props. If you change themes every year, this is the class for you.

Creative 9 – Monday 11:30- 12:30
Psychological Scares: Fear Is All In The Mind!
by Leonard Pickel of

Haunters are always looking for ways to increase the scare factor of their attractions, but there are only so many giant animatronics that the budget can handle. In this session, industry veteran Leonard Pickel with delve deep into the psyche of the human brain and share psychological tips and tricks that he has used over his 40 year history of scaring people. Psychological Scares are cheap and easy ways to increase the scare factor of any haunted experience. This class will cover how to use the patrons own imagination against them to increase the effectiveness of existing scares and how to use psychology to create new scares in your attraction. Check out their website at

Creative 10 – Monday 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Year-Round Haunting: A Look at Scare Based Attractions Around the World
by Chris Kullstroem of Monsters and Books

Dare to venture into the world of haunting outside the United States, and learn how fright attractions around the world are run outside the Halloween season. Halloween is an American holiday, but scaring people through dark attractions is a worldwide phenomenon. In this photo-rich presentation, author Chris Kullstroem will describe haunted attractions, ghost tours and dark character groups holding year-round events. With no limit to a specific season or holiday, these horrifying venues will demonstrate how the haunt world holds no boundaries for the right time to scare. An emphasis will be placed on interactive events in the UK, Ireland, Europe and New Zealand, demonstrate the draw to the dark that we all share, and the various ways it is represented across the globe. Check out their website at

Creative 11 – Monday 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Building with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) for Haunters
by Steve Colberg of Scary Tinker Labs

In this is a technical seminar for beginners, attendees will learn about using LEDs in their haunted attraction. Topics covered will include: Types of LEDs, Principles of LED operation, Powering and wiring LEDs, Where to buy LEDs, and examples of suggested uses. This is a practical class which teaches just enough technical material so that you can include LEDs in your projects. Practical demonstrations and sample applications will be presented during the session.

Creative 12 – Monday 4:30 – 5:30 pm
The Rise, Demise and Resurrection of the House of Shock!
by Ross Karpelman, Jay Gracianette and Steven Joseph of House of Shock

Starting in 1992 as an over the top home haunt, the House Of Shock, was forced by authorities to go commercial or close in 1994. Once moved into a New Orleans warehouse, local officials attempted to shut the attraction down completely, over a room in the attraction representing the Church of Satan. In the 20 years since, the House of Shock has become one of the icons of the haunt industry, considered by many to be one of the best haunted houses in the United States. Just before the 2014 season, co founder Ross Karpelman rocked the haunted attraction industry by announcing that October 2014 would be the last year of operation for the House Of Shock. New Orleans’ most controversial attraction was closing its doors. However, an outpouring of support from the haunted house community and fans of the attraction made the 2014 season, one of the most successful in years. Now comes the big decision. What does the future hold for the House of Shock?
Join Haunters from around the world as Ross Karpelman share the triumphs and tragedies through 20 years of over the top haunting. In this unprecedented behind the scenes look into the an iconic House of Shock haunted attraction. Check out their website at

DemonstrationsCreative SessionsBusiness Classes
Hands-On WorkshopsAdvanced All Day Workshops

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HAuNTcon 2016

January 28 - February 1, 2016

Sheraton Birmingham
2101 Richard Arrington Junior Boulevard North
Birmingham, AL 35203

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Event Coordinator: 
Leonard Pickel

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About HAuNTcon

An acronym for the Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Conference, HAuNTcon is a celebration of people who love Haunted Houses and Halloween. It is three days and nights jam-packed full of Networking, Tours of area Haunted Attractions, educational seminars, make-n-takes teaching the latest is Haunting techniques and a tradeshow exhibiting the latest in Haunting props and equipment.

Offerings include a pre-show bus tour of area Haunted attractions, tours of local Haunted attractions, tradeshow floor, costume ball, haunted garage sale and Haunter education including workshops, make-up and product demonstrations, and prop how-to make-n-takes.

HAuNTcon is open to the general public and all ages are welcome to attend. If you operate a Haunted House or would like to. If you act at a Halloween Event or would like to. If you Haunt your Home, or if you are just a fan of Haunted Houses and Halloween, then HAuNTcon is a "not to be missed" weekend of Haunting fellowship and just plain fun!

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