Transworld Haunt & Attractions Tradeshow Report
March 2009. St Louis, MO

We made a trip to the Transworld Haunt and Attractions Show in St Louis, MO this season. It’s their 14th year but it was our first time going. We’ve been to haunted attraction conventions before, but never to this one. It was a pretty easy drive for us and we were able to meet some of our friends there. The Jarnigs and Littles from Zombie Manor were there as well as Alex and Daniel from 13th Street Morgue. We also met up with Brandon and Travis of Brutal Brothers and Eric and Patti who are home haunters.

We also made some new friends this year – the fellas from Mystery Manor in Omaha , Nebraska and from The Haunt House in Caddo Mills, Texas . Needless to say, we had a great time, not only at the convention, but in the hotel lobby as well. Worm, worm, worm - yay! - I like tortles! (a little shout out to my peeps).

It was great meeting up with friends old and new, but it was also tons of fun just to walk around the convention floor seeing all the sights, hearing all the sounds and smelling all the scents. Yes, that’s right – maybe not all of you know – haunted houses try to utilize as many senses as possible. The only one they might not have adopted yet is taste.

Haunters lined up waiting for the show to open
As soon as we walked through those doors we were inundated with loud noises, air cannons, flashing lights, animatronics and eager guys and gals ready to show you their product. Instant FUN! We saw some props that have been around for years. Completely realistic looking heads, zombies, dead animals, masks complete with pores and veins. We also saw some new (to us) props like the guy in the meat grinder and rope climbing vampire demons that were carrying their victims up to the ceiling where they could devour them in peace. Well, as much peace as a vampire demon can have.

Probably the thing that interests me the most at these types of trade shows are the people though. Haunters vary so much personality wise. You have the very business like haunters who are in it for the money, who don’t have much actual interest in anything horror related. They’re just trying to make a buck. Unfortunately, you can usually tell who these people are when you talk to them about their haunt or simply pay your money to actually see their haunt. Lots of black hallways, lackluster, cheap props combined with bad actors wearing even worse masks or cheap makeup. They spend a good $15 bucks on their fancy “No Refunds” sign by the ticket booth though.

Then there are the quiet and contemplative or boisterous but always slightly odd types. These people are either there selling stuff that might not immediately make sense or they are there buying stuff for their own haunt and I look at them wondering what their haunt is like because they’re so into it, but nothing about them exudes scariness….exactly.

with pictures and video

These are the out of the box thinkers who have the props you aren’t bound to see at too many haunts. They are people who make the props that you stand there and stare at for a while, leave and come back to stare at some more, trying to figure out a spot in your haunt where you could use it. Not many people buy these props, but they sure are fun to look at on the showroom floor. These are the people who use a lot of theatrics in their haunts usually. The one’s who might rely on a few elaborate, albeit weird props, but mostly rely on their actors to put on a good show.

Then there are people who are in the haunt industry because Halloween and horror is their life. They are the ones you would think would own a haunt or a haunt prop business even if you just saw them in the local dive bar or even Wal-mart.

They love the haunt world because it's dark and scary and they think it's fun to make people cry and beg for mercy. They stage their haunts down to the tiniest detail and they want you walking out of their haunt with either a huge smile on your face or pee in your pants. They don't use the Jason or Freddy or Michael masks. They probably don't chase you out of the haunt with chainsaws. You've seen all that stuff before and they know that to make you come back year after year, you're going to need variety and you're going to need to come face to face with your worst nightmare, which face it, probably isn't a monster from the 80's who's mask you can buy at CVS. Now a lot of these haunters make most of their props themselves. They buy the basics and then build on it. They go to haunt conventions for the camaraderie and ideas more than to buy that $3000 animatronic psycho clown.

All of these people were at Transworld and they made it a really fun time. It was great to be a part of the experience and I recommend it to anyone in the industry. If nothing else, you're bound to get a lot of great new ideas. Talk to some of your fellow haunters and get inspired.


Kara with residents of Zombie Manor and The Haunt House plus Indiana Freddy.
with pictures and video

Visit the Transworld Haunt show website

Horrorfind Banner Exchange