TRANSWORLD HALLOWEEN - ESCAPE - HAUNTED HOUSE Tradeshow Review 2017
The 2017 Halloween and Haunted House tradeshow was a another success story. Given the fact that many haunters felt the show would never work, now after 9 shows this industry can't live without the show. Some vendors reported a slightly lower crowd than last year, the attendance was still brisk! We talked to some new vendors who said they wouldn't come back, wrong show for them, while others said they've already put down deposits for 2018. The haunted house industry tradeshow has some what expanded to many different industries including escape rooms, farming, pumpkin patches and more. Many amusement parks where found in attendance from Six Flags to Universal Studios. Many haunt owners from Netherworld to 13th Gate to Headless Horseman roamed the halls looking to find the next great prop!
The escape room section of the show was way down, I'm assuming due to Transworld starting an escape room conference. This was very disappointing, would rather see everything in one place than scattered across several shows. I'm an advocate for everything in one place, no MHC, no anything but one show so buyers and vendors get it done once a year in one place. Another thing I found very disappointing was how disorganized the show floor really is ... let me explain. At IAAPA they create themed sections of the show I'd like to see the same thing here. For example if I'm looking for food vendors I know what section to go straight to, same with controls systems, masks and costumes. I'd rather be able to find all those vendors in one area than search around for them. This is something I think Transworld should consider going forward.
As for new products... if you're looking for big ticket items I think those days are long gone. I think the industry has made just about every style of zombie, animation, or large prop from this perspective you would be greatly disappointed. The days when animation companies reigned over the show are over. For example this had to be the flat out worst display Scarefactory has ever attempted... rating there a 2 out of 10. One company featured a giant shark cool but seen it before and very few haunts would even use something like that... all the same was cool. Poison Props stood out in this field offering simple, cheap yet effective animations again. But again nothing on the animation was breathtaking nor stand out.
So with animations getting less attention, what is thrilling haunters? I would say the highlights to the show are the vendors who offer something to grow or expand their revenue from zombie laser tag, zombie paintball, donut machines to new ticketing companies like Fear Ticket. Additionally costume and mask companies continue to offer more and more products and I believe most of the money spent during this show is heading to those vendors. Fantastic job once again!
Props like zombies to everything between once again did fantastic such as Ghost Ride or Gore Galore... simply amazing.
Overall the show in 2017 wasn't much different than 2015 or 2014 or even last year. The show has somewhat hit a wall... so adding more new industries like we saw this year from VR, Christmas prop vendors and more is what the show needs. Lastly I would say what the show really needs is more food vendors, and or vendors who help haunters expand into new area's such as food, VR, Escapes, to laser tag. Lets see the show expand into a amusement family fun center type of show and focus less on what the show already does great.
Transworld does a great job producing this show but after nine years it's time to really shake it up and make the attempt to expand into other common interest industries. This show has every type of industry coming amusement parks, escapes, farms, to family fun centers so why not make a bigger effort to meld them all together for one big giant show?
Instead of being a Halloween or Haunted House show change totally and head down the Amusement path headlined by Halloween.
Just a thought.
On the improvement side we saw less home haunters, less people dressing up in costumes and better security! All great things! Overall the show was great but now I think after 9 shows its time to turn up the heat and really expand. Let see what happens.
Lastly, I wanted to mention to vendors who spent a lot of time trying to create really elaborate detailed booths... I think the mass majority of buyers are interested to take photos but not buy those services. I think vendors in 2018 should focus more on products than displays. Again another thought.
Hauntworld will publish its list of the best vendors from the 2017 Tradeshow. Stay Tuned.