As you likely know the Halloween Association and Attractions show (HAA for you cool kids) is the grand kickoff of each year’s scare season. Usually held in March it is the only industry trade show of its kind in the world, gathering the entire haunt industry together to view and purchase new products from over four hundred exhibitors. It’s a place to see the hottest trends and get a peek at the latest in special effects, from small visuals perfect for a home haunt, all the way up to $15K ‘life size’ dragon animatronics. Normally this is an ‘industry only’ show requiring a tax ID number and other credentials to score a ticket. However, Black Gate photog Chris Z and I have been lucky enough to be invited to cover the HAA for the past 17 years and we look forward to it each and every time; along with the ability to give you a look behind the curtain of a $9B industry. Impressive when you consider that money comes from six weeks annually.
Unfortunately, the current zombie apocalypse caused the HAA, like everything else, to be cancelled for 2020. Postponing is not an option as the haunt industry gets after it early, to be ready for September / October. Holding the show over the summer would not allow enough time for orders to be placed and received before the start of the haunt season.
However, out of sadness comes opportunity.
Transworld, the company which puts on the show every year, did a massive scramble to play matchmaker between vendors and customers in the form of a virtual HAA. And the beauty of that is everyone who would normally not have a chance to see the remarkable plethora of products catering to the haunt industry, can now do so. Though the HAA is not open to the public, the vendors who attend will sell to anyone – it’s just that until now there was no organized platform to do so.
So, if you’re a collector, a fan or just curious, you too can now explore the HAA. Start by watching the virtual trade show below.
Now click HERE to see a vendor list, most with a short video of their own displaying their products as well as link to their online catalogs and websites. Most have no minimum order and all will ship nearly anywhere. To give you a taste of some of the big-ticket effects, check out the video by Distortions, the special effect house featured in the Travel Channel show Making Monsters.
These vendors, like all businesses, could use your support so if you’re in the market for a costume or décor for both inside and outside, surf around and discover why this is our favorite show of the year. There are some great deals to be had when dealing directly with the suppliers.
Transworld also hosts the Midwest Haunters Convention which is open to the public and which will go on this year. This show is aimed at the home haunter and has just been moved to the weekend of July 24th at a location in the Chicago ‘burbs.
Stay spooky my friends…