After a 23-hour drive from Austin to Detroit, we made it to HauntCon (Haunted Attraction National Tradeshow and Convention). Actors, managers, and myself headed up in two vehicles to attend the HauntCon seminars and get some props for this year. We took a pickup truck specifically so we could buy stuff at the show and haul it back. We had a great time! I keep saying to myself that it's good to take a long road trip every couple of years. Then again, now that I'm back in Austin, I'm saying I don't ever want to take another road trip. The trip was fine, but driving more than 46 hours over five days sucks. I'm really glad HauntCon 2008 is in Houston. For the seminars, honestly, I was disappointed. I went to HauntCon two years ago in Dallas and it seemed like there was much better material for pro haunters.
It could be that we are maturing as a professional haunted house in our fourth year so we already do or know most of what's taught. I'm not sure what the answer is there. Don't shoot me - it's just a critique.My crew opted out of the costume ball. We were just too worn out from the drive and the daily events. I think we really missed out because it looked like a lot of fun. We are definitely going to go to the costume ball in Houston. The HauntCon 2007 show floor was great! We spent around $4,000 on new props while there. We pretty much knew what we wanted to pick up at the show and what we already ordered before going to the show.
We picked up set dressing items like rot cloth from Oak Island Productions, an SPFX mask, some lighting effects, cases of anatomical bones, some great ABS plastic crypt, and cathedral facade pieces. My favorite company from the show was definitely Grave Robber Studios. They have some spectacular full size zombies and busts. The attention to detail and paint jobs on these things was just amazing. We spent quite a bit at their booth. Some we took home with us and some they're shipping our way.
We also picked up some new scares that I'm going to keep to myself that are really going to enhance our haunt. There's some great new stuff out there. Now I'm definitely fired up for the season to get up to full speed and underway.