Midwest Haunters Convention 2013: Frightfully Unconventional
By Noah Wullkotte
The Midwest Haunters Convention is known as the most enjoyable gathering in the haunt industry today. Thousands of haunt owners, actors and enthusiasts join together as one to celebrate all that is haunting in the midwest. 2013 marks the 10th year MHC has been the must see haunted tradeshow and to say that this convention has grown over the years is an understatement.
The Midwest Haunters Convention started in 2004 with a handful of vendors, seminars. contests and events at Cooper Stadium, the former home of Terror Park. Boy how MHC has evolved in a decade. Today, this small convention is second only to Transworld in its number of vendors and has the wildest costume ball and the most diverse lineup of haunt tours the industry has ever seen. The Midwest Haunters Convention has aged well and the sky is the limit for this once unknown convention.
Wednesday and Thursday, haunters got to enjoy tours of 8 haunts in Indiana, Michigan & Ohio which totalled over 20 haunted attractions. Friday, attendees got the chance to experience Dead Acres in Pataskala, Ohio and get a once in a lifetime opprotunity to tour the factory of Unit 70 Studios, one of the most trusted prop makers in the business. If you weren’t in the mood for haunted attractions, then you had the choice of taking a Paranormal tour of the Ohio State Reformatory and the Haunted Bissman Building during the day on Friday.
Hell, even the Hyatt Regency’s 13th floor was turned into a mini haunted house with 10 of the best actors in the country. MHC had everything you could want in a convention. The day would end with a Scary-Oke contest where everyone was invited to test out their singing skills. For 2013, the producers of MHC had a few things up their sleeves to help commemorate one of the best conventions the haunt industry has to offer. But, we’ll talk about that later in the article.
Last year I volunteered as a greeter in the registration room and the pre-registration booth. I had a blast. But for the 10th anniversary, I just wanted to relax and experience all the sights and sounds without feeling the pressure of working. The tradeshow floor was larger with well over 100 vendors. Everything from fog machines to heart stopping animatronics were on display.
Sadly, Brian Wolfe of the world renowned Wolfe Brothers couldn’t make it to MHC. He was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer shortly after last year’s convention. His spirit was surely felt throughout the tradeshow floor. Brian has lots of support throughout the haunt community and his strength to fight cancer cannot be denied. Hopefully he wins this battle because he’s a great man and an artist with a talent that’s beyond words.
Last year he did the makeup for my masquerade ball costume. I was a hooded lizard with cracked skin, slimy scales and a demonic smile. This year Brian’s brother Nick would be doing my makeup. While both brothers have a distinctively different style, they’re both impressive in their own right. Once again, I was made into a hooded lizard. The entire makeup process took close to 20 minutes and the finished product was nothing short of amazing.
“One of the many ghouls that could be seen roaming the halls of the costume ball”
Midwest Haunters Convention was a great time. There’s so much to see that it’s hard to take it all in at once. A couple trips around the tradeshow floor were in order. Costumed creatures, crazy clowns and unspeakable monstrosities roamed the convention center. Even a lonely mental patient paced back and fourth as the attendees stared in wonder.
It was a couple minutes before the Monster Makeup Wars and we thankfully were able to find a seat. Makeup artists from around the country are handed a bag full of supplies and given the challenge of creating the most disgusting and off the wall character in 30 minutes.
It was a heated battle, but in the end Team Rigormortious of Greenbay Wisconsin was victorious and walked away with cash and prizes. Kentucky favorite Team Dark came in second place. A special auction took place from 4:30-5:30 and all profits made from various haunt props and services benefited Brian Wolfe and his fight for life. Nearly $2,000 was raised and Derek Vitas of Spooky Ranch and Hauntville walked away with a private workshop with world famous makeup artist Bobbie Weiner (aka Bloody Mary). Brian was not forgotten that weekend with many people raising money in his honor. This even included a zombie kissing booth with all proceeds going towards Brian Wolfe.
We saw a lot of great vendors that Saturday afternoon like Nevermore Productions, Skeletons and More, Darklight, Creepy Collection and others. Many companies offered cash and carry products which is great for haunts that need their products right away. The Midwest Haunters Convention was dying down for the day and everyone would soon be getting ready for the famous Masquerade Ball.
After getting a bite to eat and freaking out patrons at the local Wendy’s with my elaborate costume, I was off to the Hyatt Regency Ballroom for the party of the year. The foyer was full of costumed characters and quite a few scantily clad women and monsters of unspeakable horrors.
My costume was pretty impressive, but it was nothing compared to some of the spectacular characters I would encounter that night. There were aliens, grim reapers, the ice cream man, Uncle Fester, zombies and even Flo from the Progressive commercials.
It was pure mayhem at the Hyatt Regency and a spectacle that had to been seen to be believed. The foyer entertainment included “The Apocalyptic Side Show ” who performed dangerous stunts and tricks that would make you scratch your head in disbelief. From 8-8:30 judges would be looking for contestants to compete in the Scariest Character Contest. A hand full of contestants would be handed invitations to battle it out later that night.
“Detailed artwork was on display during the Body Art Fashion Show.”
After 30 minutes, the ghouls were let loose into the ball room to fend for themselves and to find a perfect spot to watch the night’s festivities. The music was pumping and everyone was having a good time. There’s nothing quite like witnessing 1,500 costumed freaks dancing the night away and enjoying the comradery of fellow haunters and haunt enthusiasts.
The night’s activities included the Miss Scary Midwest Pageant, Scariest Character Contest and the Body Art Fashion Show. A slide show played throughout the night with pictures of the Wolfe Brothers and photos of MHC throughout the years. It was great seeing the Midwest Haunters Convention play tribute to Brian Wolfe and celebrate the evolution of this beloved convention.
My personal favorite is of course the Body Art Fashion Show. It’s amazing how incredible some of the artwork is that covers the bodies of these women and it’s impressive how confident they are wearing nothing but paint. The Miss Scary Midwest Pageant is also a great treat and this year the producers invited all previous winners to compete in a contest for the ages. Six of the scariest bitches you’ve ever seen would battle it out for the title of “Miss Scary Midwest”. Regina and Brooke Englehart of team Canabel would ultimately win. Steven Kristof from Realm of Terror played Dr. Dad and would be crowned the scariest character of MHC 2013.
The Masquerade Ball was the place to be. There was finger food, entertainment and music. There were monsters dancing in the balcony above and creatures of the night having the time of their life on the dance floor. Unfortunately there were some unforeseen problems at the party with the microphones and sound system. Throughout the night the microphones would cut in and out or completely shut off and there was little music until hours later.
Luckily, Trio of Fire came to the rescue and set up their sound equipment. Haunters rejoiced and all was well again at the Masquerade Ball. It was a perfect place to reunite with people you haven’t seen since last MHC and to just have a haunting good time looking back at the last 10 years. As it got later in the night, memories of MHC’s past popped up in my head.
What will the next 10 years of MHC be like? Will the landscape of the haunt industry be drastically different from how it is now and how will the industry grow for the better? City Blood will be back for the next Midwest Haunters Convention and we hope to see you there and for many years to come. Whether you’re involved in the haunt industry or not, Midwest Haunters Convention is frightfully unconventional.
City Blood would like to thank the producers, organizers and volunteers of MHC for all their hard work and dedication in puting together a great convention and events for the attendees of the Midwest Haunters Convention. For more information on MHC, please visit www.midwesthauntersconvention.com.