Ahhh. It felt great to release our inner beast this weekend at the annual Midwest Haunters Convention in Columbus, Ohio.
The convention, created for haunt insiders, i.e. folks who run and work at haunted houses, has expanded to include something for everyone who gets giddy over things that go bump in the night. The three-day convention includes, not only seminars in haunt design, makeup, marketing, accounting and so on, but also a convention floor full of ghoulish treats for anyone to take home. The vendors peddle fright items including state of the art masks, makeup, props, toys, animatronics, signage, costumes, artwork and, our personal favorite – smells. Yes, smells. Want your zombies to have that not-so-fresh odor? A little dab of “room freshener” and you’re on the set of The Walking Dead, at least via your olfactic sense. By far, the worst scent was “slaugherhouse.” Yikes! No matter how many times we tried, we couldn’t wash away that pungent odor!
The state of the art items (including smells!) and the training offered at the Midwest Haunters Convention clearly shows that the folks who bring us fright experiences every fall season take authenticity, safety, comfort and successful scares very seriously. According to Ned Baughman and Dave Neff, owners of the Haunted Town Hall in Lafayette, Ohio, “We like to attend MHC to see and purchase new products check up on new trends. The educational seminars are a fantastic way to learn a few new things or just enlighten you on some things you could change. We find that we can connect with other haunters and we find owners on some of the tours to be very helpful.”
But, of course, haunters don’t take themselves too seriously and a great time was had by all. To make sure it wasn’t all work, the MHC hosted a number of events and happenings. There was a Monster Beach Party, Zombiewalk Columbus, Kidz Zone, Creepy Car Show and a Masquerade Party that, we’re told, is to die for! Haunters and “regular people” alike were also treated to the Haunters Hub that included a Character Photo Exhibit, Scream-off contest, Backdrop Scene Painting Competition and Gore-A-Robics with the beautiful Gore Girls. And, of course, there was the ever popular Monster Makeup Wars sponsored by Bloody Mary.