By Noah Wullkotte
(Please Note: This article will be altered as things change.)
Transworld’s Halloween & Attractions Show in St. Louis, MO is the world’s largest Haunt and Halloween Trade show of its kind. It was sadly postponed and then eventually cancelled this year. There were a variety of reasons why this decision was made. Many vendors were backing out because of their fear of the Coronavirus. Transworld Exhibits was thankfully able to have the city cancel the event so they wouldn’t have to refund nearly 2 million dollars worth of hotel reservations.
Postponing Transworld had to be done for the well being of everyone attending. Yes, if you are a young and healthy person then you’re going to be fine when it comes to the Coronavirus. But there are chances that you might get infected and not show symptoms for up to 2 weeks. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems are at risk. Imagine if you got the Coronavirus at Transworld, went home, infected one of your elderly family members and they ended up passing away. You would be devastated.
Now, if a few people were infected at Transworld then it would absolutely tarnish the image of the haunt industry. Let’s be honest here. Even though haunts are popular, many people have a bad image of the industry. It’s sad, but it’s true and I don’t see that changing any time soon. If there was a small outbreak of Coronavirus at the trade show then Transworld would be up to their ass in lawsuits and it would be all over the news.
The haunt industry would forever be known as not caring about the well being of others in order to make a buck. This would also affect the Christmas industry as well since Transworld’s Christmas Show takes place at the same time using the same trade show floor. It wouldn’t hurt the Christmas industry as much since Christmas is a much more profitable holiday than Halloween.
Now, the cancellation of Transworld is devastating to small vendors. The show wouldn’t have been the same if they had it, but it would have had the same spirit. It was rumored that the new dates would be sometime in May, but it has officially been cancelled for 2020. The new dates are March 4th-7th 2021. I’m sure it will be one of the most attended Halloween & Attractions Shows ever and one of the best as well.
My suggestion is that if you’re interested in a prop, costume, Christmas decoration or whatever then please visit their website and make a purchase. Some companies are even showcasing their products on their Youtube channel. Unit 70 Studios does a great job at that. There’s also a virtual trade show that will be put on Transworld’s website. No, you won’t be able to see the products in person but remember that these vendors are in a bind right now. Some might not make it because of how much business they’re losing.
The Coronavirus is going to change the way we live, the way we think and the way we act towards strangers and even loved ones. Hopefully this is temporary and everyone is able to return to a normal life. Sporting events like the Indy 500 have been cancelled, the NBA season has been cancelled, parades won’t happen and many people are in a state of panic. People don’t need to freak out, but you should stay informed on the Coronavirus. All events at the Ohio State Reformatory have been cancelled. This includes the Ohio Halloween & Haunters Convention. It would have been their second year. Thankfully the reformatory has reopened, but the convention won’t happen.
The Midwest Haunters Convention originally took place in June and was going to be rescheduled to July 24th-26th. It’s been moved to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and unfortunately MHC 2020 was cancelled. Its new date is June 3-6, 2021. You might have to change your habits and skip the things you do for fun if they involve large crowds. Wearing a mask when you’re out has become common place. We’ll get through this one day at a time and it will eventually be a distant memory. Haunters and Christmas enthusiasts are a resilient bunch and I’m sure Transworld will have many more shows in the years to come. It’s the event of the year. It’s the Superbowl of Haunting.
There are haunts big and small that won’t open this season because of the Coronavirus. This includes big ones like Universal Halloween Horror Nights. Will the haunt industry survive the Coronavirus? Yes, without a doubt it will. The world is at a stand still it seems and I’m thankful this didn’t happen during the fall season. The haunt industry as we know it would have been altered forever. If this doesn’t get under control then some haunts might not be able to survive. No one knows the future. Will there be a big wave of Coronavirus when it gets cold again? I don’t know.
I’m not scared of actors jumping out at me or that chainsaw maniac around the corner. I’m scared of what the Coronavirus is going to do to the industry that I love. I’m just a simple haunt reviewer without any skin in the game. But my haunt owner friends are hurting. They’re nervous and rightfully so. Does anyone remember what it was like after 9/11? People were afraid to visit haunts and the industry felt it. Even if this gets under control, some people will still fear going to haunts which is very sad. People have lost their jobs and they might not have extra spending money.
Bars, movie theaters, gyms, casinos, barber shops, restaurants and so much more was closed for a period of time. Things are rapidly changing and we never know what to expect. Please be reassured that bright days are around the corner and we’ll always remember the virus that changed haunting.