The Texas Haunters Convention was this past weekend in Mesquite, and we went on location to find out how it went. Scott Freeman and Culley Franks explain why this year was the best yet for the show. Apply for our hauntathon (http://hauntathon.info/)...
The Texas Haunters Convention was this past weekend in Mesquite, and we went on location to find out how it went. Scott Freeman and Culley Franks explain why this year was the best yet for the show. Apply for our Hauntathon (http://hauntathon.info/) and Subscribe to all our offerings: https://linktr.ee/hauntedattractionnetwork
Culley: Record breaking. It was amazing, absolutely amazing through and through. Culley Franks, I'm the events coordinator.
Scott: I'm Scott Freeman, I'm the volunteer coordinator for the convention, and I also handle a lot of the marketing.
Culley: We have a record number of vendors this year, over 130 vendors. We have more attendees than we've ever had. Pre-sales were almost as high as what we've had in the past the whole time, and people still came. I mean, our numbers are growing. That's a testament to what we do. We bring in all the local, Texas flare, and that's what makes people come to Texas Haunters.
Philip: The haunt tour sold out this year, tell me about that.
Culley: When we started the haunt tour, we had one bus. Last year we had one bus, last year was our first year of doing the haunt tour. One bus, and it sold out in about three weeks. This year we announced it, and within a day or two we sold out. We had to turn around and get a second bus, and then it sold out within a couple of weeks, within two weeks it was already sold out as well. So, I mean, people are very excited.
They had both Dark Hour haunted house, which is one of our sponsors. They put on a great back lot tour with both Jake and Allen showing off their show. And then we went to a place called Hatch & Kraven's Slaughterhouse. And, Hatch & Kraven's, they put on a hell of a show, scared people out of their wits. They really, really brought it.
Philip: And talk to me about the costume ball.
Scott: Well, the costume ball was phenomenal. Culley put that together. We brought in the Rocky Horror Picture Show group Los Bastardos. They did the Rocky Horror Play, and it was great, everybody participated. The costume ball room stayed full until really after closing last night, as well as the pool area and everything else surrounding the costume ball.
Culley: We had to shoo everybody out.
Philip: And you expanded your education program this year, tell me about that.
Culley: We don't do the celebrities very often, we have some, but it's all about teaching people, teaching vendors, teaching home haunters, teaching Halloween enthusiasts, how to make their craft better, how to grow. So, we spend a lot of time and a lot of effort to promote the growth, to give them opportunities from industry leaders from across the haunt industry, the haunted house industry, movie, theater, special effects industry, the cosplay industry. We have all these experts coming in and showing people all these new skills, all these new crafts, in order to better everyone's game. So, you come here, you're going to get better, and that is how we grow the industry.
Scott: And we also include escape game stuff in that as well. We do education around the escape games, building props, putting games together, linear versus line linear. So, we include all that in our education as well.
Philip: And what are your goals for next year?
Scott: Make it bigger. That's our goal, is to make it bigger, reach more people, reach more haunters in the Texas area, surrounding states. It's pretty much a cash and carry type show. But all the vendors come in, the vendors do very, very well, they're all making money, making profit, people like the products we're bringing in. We also try to market a lot to the home haunters in the area, because Texas is very big for the home haunter area
Culley: So, one of the things that makes us unique, that people really gravitate to us is, we're very friendly to first time vendors. Out of our 130 plus, 138, it's over 130 vendors we had, about a fifth of the vendors are first time vendors, and this is every year. What happens is, they come in and they get a taste of the haunt industry, they see what it's all about, they get excited when they come here, and then the next year they have to get a bigger booth, and then next year they have to get a bigger booth. Then what we're doing is we are building the industry here. We have a very hungry, a very thirsty industry here in Texas. So, having this convention here allows us to supply those people with attendees and bring everybody to together, and each year the reason we get more and more, the reason we get bigger and bigger, it's because we treat our vendors very well and we're very welcoming to those new people.
Scott: But one requirement for the vendors is they have to have some type of Halloween theme. For example, we did have a chocolate vendor this year that they did very, very well. She's going from a table to a booth next year they did so well, but all their chocolate was Halloween themed, they had tarot cards, skulls, pumpkins. So, we try to stay within the Halloween theme.
Philip: What are your dates for next year? And is it going to be back here at the same place?
Scott: July 15th and 16th.
Culley: At the Mesquite Convention Center. We have all these people saying, "this is our very first year, we didn't even know about you guys." We had a very aggressive advertising campaign this year, so we brought in a lot of new people and they're coming back next year and they're going to bring their friends.
Philip: Okay. That's it for today. We'll catch you back here tomorrow for a little haunted Christmas in July.
And don't forget if you would like to apply for this year's Honda Thun. Go to hotter. dot info to find the application.