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“We’ve received extremely positive response from exhibitors and attendees this year. We listened to what they wanted to see and were able to implement many new programs and show features based on their feedback,” commented Liz Irving, Vice President of Marketing. “This partnership and collaboration led to record setting attendance and the largest vendor floor to date. We are very excited for what the future events have in store and our goal is to double the size of the show in 2019 to continue to provide even greater resources for the haunter community.”
Philip Hernandez of Gantom Lighting & Controls added, “Halloween & Party Expo co-located with HAuNTcon provides a unique opportunity to both haunters and retail stores. Haunters get insight into what trends their customers will see and build partnerships with local shops. Retail outlets learn how to enhance their in-store experience to drive sales. Imagine an ecosystem where retail and attractions work together to raise mutual awareness and revenue! The Halloween & Party Expo and HAuNTcon are critical to our company development moving forward.”
Throughout the three days, haunters had access to new props, makeup, lighting, décor and much more from 60 exhibitors, with many debuting new products for the 2018 season. In addition, attendees had access to the Halloween & Party Expo vendor floor, more than doubling the amount of sourcing opportunities. Across both events, Pumpkin Pulp received the honor of best product of the show from attendees.
Brian Blair of Pumpkin Pulp commented, “It was our first year doing HAuNTcon and the Halloween & Party Expo and we were happy with the results. We had the opportunity to meet many new clients we haven’t seen at other shows and made a few new contacts that we are excited to say will change our business forever.”
In addition to the show floor, Haunters had access to a stellar lineup of education sessions featuring leaders from Universal Halloween Horror Nights, Knott’s Scary Farm, Eastern State Penitentiary, Six Flags, Amarillo Scaregrounds as well as Scott Swenson, Kyle Vest, Margee Kerr, Nick Wolfe, and many others. The education program was expanded this year with new escape room and safety and security sessions, taking place alongside business, creative and demonstration courses. HAuNTcon offers all access education passes to encourage haunters to take advantage of as much of the education as possible with the goal of helping them to grow their businesses.
Scott Swenson of Scott Swenson Creative Development LLC, one of the featured speakers this year noted, “I have attended HAuNTcon for several years and have presented classes and/or sat on panels many times. As always, I was thrilled by the participants’ interest and enthusiasm.” He continued, “This event has always been a great source of information and education. This past year was no exception. I was especially pleased with the show’s operational staff. All contacts were timely and professional. I look forward to presenting again in the future.”
Attendees were also able to participate in hands-on workshops on the show floor as well as try their hand at painting, carving and more at a new show feature – a live build of a 8×16 ossuary crypt which was auctioned off at the close of the show to raise money for Magic Wheelchair, a nonprofit organization who helps children in wheelchairs create epic costumes. In partnership with Davis Graveyard, Gantom Lighting, Hot Wire Foam Factory, and Skeleton Store, $1,650 was raised for the group, and the new owners of the ossuary, Legends of Fear, based in Shelton, CT, plan to use the piece to encourage donations during their upcoming season.
Additional events taking place over the course of the event included advanced all day Monday workshops, the annual Garage Sale, and talk of the event – the expanded costume ball which took place at Generations Hall and exceeded attendance records this year.
Commented Leonard Pickel, founder of HAuNTcon, “There were a record number of attendees at HAuNTcon 2018, even without counting the Halloween and Party attendees who had free access to HAuNTcon vendors. They filled the seminar sessions, some past capacity. HAuNTcon 2019 will remain in New Orleans and the buzz is already reaching a new level. The synergy of bringing back the haunters to the wholesale buyer’s convention is taking HAuNTcon to new heights.”
Concluded Irving, “We see tremendous opportunity for the HAuNTcon brand and are committed to building it alongside and for the haunter family. Than you to all our participating vendors, speakers, haunters and our industry supporters from Haunt Collective, Haunted Attractions Network, Big Scary Show, Haunted Farms of America, HaunTopic Radio, and all others for making HAuNTcon 2018 such a success.”
All are invited to save the date for the 2019 event, taking place January 25-27 in New Orleans, LA.
HAuNTcon, the leading event for haunted attractions, is a trade-only event that brings industry professionals together each year. Owned by Urban Expositions, a Clarion Events Company, the event provides a platform for sourcing, learning, and networking. The next event will be held in New Orleans, January 25-27, 2019. For more information, visit hauntcon.com.