This past weekend I was heading to a business meeting with one of my vendor friends and conveniently it coincided with the National Haunters Convention. So I took a few hours to walk around and check out what they had to offer. The show, much like 2011, was not as large as I had hoped. This year it was moved into the larger Expo Center which allowed for more vendors and higher ceilings for bigger props. Unfortunately they didn’t really have more vendors and bigger props (although the larger space did allow for the two indoor haunts and the ScAir Structure sample). Still, it was good to catch up with some of the people I work with and other familiar faces from last year.
Here’s a quick rundown of highlights! Corresponding photos for each item are in the photo gallery at the bottom of this post.
- Opening Ceremony: Co-owner Michael Bruner got married moments before they opened the doors. There’s nothing like zombies at your wedding
- Classes: I had the privilege of participating in Allen Hopps’ class “Turning Your Actors Into A Team.” Allen who runs Stiltbeast Studios has been an inspiration of mine for a while now and I use many of his techniques in my haunt work. I was admittedly a bit of a gushing fan but he was still nice enough to take a photo with me. So cool! [Visit Stiltbeast Studios]
- Haunted Handyman: This is the type of merchandise I wish they had more of. Pete makes all of this stuff on his own and they’re all unique air powered props. I know his items went over well in 2011 and it was good to see him return in 2012. [Visit Haunted Handyman]
- Creepy Collection: These guys are known for their gory clowns and zombies and this year they did not disappoint! Unfortunately the air system was down so I couldn’t take a video of their animatronics but they still looked great without even being turned on! [Visit Creepy Collection Props]
- Indoor Haunts: The Psycho Trail setup two mini haunts on the showroom floor. The first was “The Infected” which is a zombie themed wasteland. The layout was something new to me and it definitely inspired me to make some changes to my haunt this year! The second haunt was “Big Top Mayhem” which is a 3D Clown maze. I didn’t get to experience this one with live actors but I could appreciate the potential!
- Specter Studios: This was one of my favorite booth from the show. I formed a great relationship with the owner Mark back in 2011 at this same show. I ended up using his zombie and clown costumes in my 2011 haunt and they were big hits! Although I wasn’t at the show for long, I’m happy I got to meet with him face to face again. I’m definitely looking forward to working more with the Specter Studios team in the future! [Visit Specter Studios]
- All Scare: I first met the team from All Scare at the 2011 show and I was happy to see them return. The booth was larger this time and they had even more animatronics. I love the concept of the universal frame. [Visit All Scare]
- ScAir Structures: I’ve heard so much about ScAir Structures but I had never had the chance to see one in person – until now! The material was a lot stronger than I expected and I could see actually using this in the future. I wish they had posted a rep from the company so I could ask questions and get to know them. It was basically just an empty setup that you could walk through and examine… [Visit ScAir Structures]
Here are the photos from the show. Enjoy!