The 2nd annual Idaho Halloween & Horror Convention was last weekend In Boise, Idaho, and we went to learn more.
The 2nd annual Idaho Halloween & Horror Convention was last weekend In Boise, Idaho, and we went to learn more. In addition to fan events and a costume ball, the convention featured classes from the Fear Factory Haunted Attraction in Salt Lake City and a presentation from the Haunted Attraction Association Board of Directors. Today, we’ll hear how the convention went from the co-founders (Mike Murray and Ethan Morris).
Mike: Hi, I'm Michael Murray, I am one of the co-founders of Idaho Halloween and Horror Convention, which is now HHC Events, co, which is a registered nonprofit. This was our second year, this year, and we thankfully doubled our numbers from last year. We doubled our space in a hotel. Vendors remained around the same, but a lot of our events were packed, especially The Horror Ball. We even had the Horror Drag show this year. Like we had a lot of interesting, and not necessarily your typical horror convention events this year. We embraced them and added to, and well, we doubled our numbers, so obviously people liked it.
Ethan: My name is Ethan. I am the co-founder of the Idaho Halloween Horror Convention. When I was 16, almost 17, I came up with an idea after working for my local haunted attraction, and I decided there needed to be more fun here in Idaho. So, basically found Mike, and then I did it as a senior project, and now we're here.
Mike: We wanted to include everything for no matter what level of haunter or enthusiast you were. We had everything from just fan panels, like for Brett Wagner, who was a "Lost Leatherface", we had an entire section just for costuming called Costume Hollow, we had the drag show, we had our standard Horror Ball which is a giant Halloween party.
The Horror Ball was our most attended event. We actually, a lot of people who weren't necessarily attending the daytime events who just came for the party, because they love Halloween and that's what they know. This year we had over 50 people enter our costume contest. So judging was very, very stringent this year. We had our three finalists, and they were absolutely amazing, amazing costumes.
Through our grant program this year we were actually able to issue a grant to Taylin Poppin, who was the youngest person to ever have a booth at Transworld this year. She's only 16 years old and she's doing amazing work of props. I even heard that she got some of her props into theme parks this year, and we were able to help her along with that. We've helped her since other shows, we've known her for a couple years now, we've watched her grow. So, we were actually really excited that she was the first one to receive our grant.
Philip: I thought the decision to keep this conference in such a small town was interesting, so I asked them about it.
Ethan: We didn't have anything like this around here. I just felt like everyone that was in this type of community was kind of left out. It was a great opportunity for everyone.
Mike: Local based, community, grassroot style conventions like this to me are probably the most important, because you're going to connect your local haunters, you're going to be able to see that, "Hey, I'm not alone. I'm not just that weird person on the corner who puts out Halloween decorations in July." You're going to be able to connect with your local people and actually help each other out, build a community, build a network. Then, even amongst the haunted houses, make friends who work at other haunts, not just your own haunt, and even amongst the owners there is a good collaboration going on that I feel is especially brought together at local events like this.
Philip: And finally, let's talk a little bit about the future.
Ethan: Make it bigger, more attendees, we could take it nationwide, which we've already have started that.
Mike: A few months ago, we actually became a registered nonprofit. We're still in the process of becoming a 501c3, and our main goal is to help haunters, as well as those in the entertainment industry, with scholarships and grants to help them work on their projects. That is our main goal. Actually, last night with our charity auction, we raised a little over $500, but that goes to our local charities here.
Our future expansion, coming up in May, we have the Utah Halloween Horror Convention, which is going to be held in Salt Lake City, that's May 19th and 20th of 2023. We have, coming up, a Colorado one, which is scheduled tentatively July of next year, just depending on dates, and we are trying to expand to other markets as well. There are some markets that they don't have a Halloween or horror convention in, and we're going to try to hit those smaller markets because we feel the smaller kind of grassroot conventions are really great for the local communities.