Midwest Haunters Convention 2014
By Noah Wullkotte
Last year, Midwest Haunters Convention was purchased by the organizers behind Transworld’s Halloween & Attractions Show. There were many people that were worried that prices would go up, events would be cut and it would ultimately be a different type of show. There have been some slight changes, but overall it’s the same Midwest Haunters Convention we’ve all come to love.
This will be City Blood’s 9th year in a row attending Midwest Haunters Convention. We can remember when it took place in a small hotel with just a hand full of vendors and events. It’s slowly, but surely grown into the second largest haunt convention in the United States and we’re happy to say that we’ve seen it evolve over time. The major difference between Transworld and MHC are their philosophies. Transworld is a business trade show where haunts order products like animatronics, wall panels, concession items and more. It does feature seminars and events, but that’s not its primary focus. MHC is a cash and carry show that appeals to home haunters, small haunts and everything in between. It’s the haunt convention that’s known for its Masquerade Ball, incredible line up of workshops, seminars and some really fun haunt tours and events.
Columbus, Ohio is only a short drive from Cincinnati. We were able to make it to the Greater Columbus Convention Center in under 2 hours. This isn’t a small convention center by any means. Several events were taking place that day and it’s very easy to get lost if you aren’t paying attention to your surroundings. After walking around for a few minutes, we finally found the entrance to this year’s MHC. I picked up my press pass and there was no turning back. This year the workers use cell phones to scan tickets. It was nice to see that the new organizers were at the registration booth making sure everything ran smoothly.
We noticed right away that the lighting was dimmer than usual. This was great for vendors who offered products that looked best in a dark environment. Something about the layout was different though. There seemed to be too much empty space on the trade show floor. This could easily be fixed by having the booths spread out more. There were nearly 120 vendors, but the convention seemed smaller because of the way it was organized. This could have just been my imagination though.
Every type of product was on display at Midwest Haunters Convention. There were horrifying masks, makeup, oddities, lighting, decomposing corpses and much more. There were even a few companies that never showcased their products at MHC. This included Distortions Unlimited. Pale Night Productions was also a vendor which is a surprise because they don’t have a booth every year. Distortions mostly sold their cheaper cash and carry items and Pale Night Productions offered their Perma Blood and more.
The annual Bloody Mary Monster Makeup Wars started at 4:30 PM. The crowd was small, but they were very excited to experience this year’s contest. Four teams of haunt professionals are given a handful of items to create the most grotesque creature possible in 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, a winner was crowned. Team Mystery Manor from Omaha, Nebraska was victorious and walked away with $100 and various prizes.
This year we didn’t attend the Masquerade Ball. Every year Midwest Haunters Convention throws the most over the top party that the haunt industry has ever seen. Get your camera ready because there are freaks around every corner waiting to get their picture taken. Haunters go all out with custom costumes, grotesque makeup and unique characters. You can dance the night away and even enjoy some incredible contests like the Miss Scary Midwest Pageant which crowns the scariest chick in all of the Midwest. This year’s winner was Mystery Manor’s Rukkus. This is the second win for Myster Manor when you include the Monster Makeup Wars. Other contests held that night included the Scariest Character contest and the Body Art Fashion Show.
We didn’t attend the Masquerade Ball, but we sure had some fun at the local casino. That fortune cookie at the Chinese Buffet was right in predicting that I would win because I sure was lucky that night. Overall this year’s Midwest Haunters Convention wasn’t drastically different from 2013. There were new contests like The Mystery Box Challenege, the prop display contest and even a costume competition. Instead of there being a 2 day pre convention bus tour, there was only one. It featured The Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory, Bloodview Haunted House and Factory of Terror. Friday’s tours included The ScareATorium, a tour of Scare Factory and a great party for haunters to enjoy. During the day, you could enjoy a paranormal tour of the Ohio State Reformatory and the Bissam Building in Mansfield, Ohio.
We were skeptical when we first heard that Transworld Exhibits purchased Midwest Haunters Convention. But thankfully, we can tell you that the convention is pretty much the same with a few new events and features thrown into the mix. Next year’s Midwest Haunters Convention will take place at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on May 29th-31st. It will be interesting to see how the convention improves and where the haunt industry is headed. I would sincerely like to thank all the organizers and volunteers of this year’s MHC. Without you guys, this great event would not be possible.