Transworld 2015: Meet Me In St Louie
By Noah Wullkotte
2015 celebrates Transworld’s 20th year of being the nation’s top haunted trade show. Our first experience at the Halloween & Attractions Show was in 2007. This was the final year it was in Rosemont, Illinois and the last time it featured a section just for the Halloween and Costume vendors. Back then the show was at least twice as large as it is today with 2 floors of Halloween and Haunt vendors. In 2008 it moved to Las Vegas.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to make it that year because of how far it was from Cincinnati, Ohio. Many people felt that the show wasn’t a success. Most of the attendees ignored the various events because of all the entertainment options available. People would rather hit the casinos or see a show then go to a seminar or workshop. 2009, Transworld separated itself from the Costume and Party Show and focused solely on the haunt industry. It officially moved to downtown St. Louis, Mo and has been there ever since. I honestly thought that having a trade show specifically for haunts and leaving out the Halloween section would be the nail in the coffin for Transworld. But I’m not ashamed to admit that I was wrong.
The Haunt Show has grown leaps and bounds. There are more vendors, parties, seminars, haunt tours and everything in between. St. Louis is also a much better setting than Rosemont, Illinois. The weather is better, the city is safer and it’s more centrally located. Now, I was a little worried about where to stay this year. There has been so much unrest in Ferguson, Missouri which isn’t far from Downtown St. Louis. There were also a few hotels that were having major renovations.
There were many events taking place the same weekend. This included a Lego Convention, Wrestling Championship and of course Transworld. It was entertaining seeing little kids from the Lego Show walking past adults dressed as creatures of the night. For the most part, Transworld was a success. The trade show was bigger and there were more events than ever. It was the final year for the Price is Fright which is the haunt industry’s take on the Price is Right.
There were brand new haunt tours including Talon Falls Screampark and Phobius Haunted House. But I don’t want to bore you with all the little details. The HAA Oscares went off without a hitch and even USS Nightmare in Newport, KY and haunt actor Scott Tater Lynd (aka Granny) walked away with awards.
This year’s Transworld wasn’t drastically different from last. There were new products, but there wasn’t anything truly ground breaking. The Dark Zone seemed smaller than usual and Scare Factory didn’t have too much that made my jaw drop. One of my favorite new products was their animated Bear Bust which has to be seen to be believed. Other products that had me impressed were from DC Props. Their line of haunted farm themed animatronics is pretty cool and reasonable as well. My favorite was the skeleton that pops up from underneath a bale of hay and proceeds to spray water from its mouth.
The interactive haunted house has been eliminated, but thankfully Halloween Productions created a unique walk through haunted house on the trade show floor. It showcased products from Unit 70 Studios, Halloween Productions and more. Halloween Productions has some of the best CGI effects in the business. A company that keeps getting better every year is of course Poison Props. They were hands down the star of The Dark Zone. Their animated witch with a snapping neck was impressive and they always have the best audio of any animatronic company around.
Overall Transworld was a blast. There were only a few products I saw that were must haves, but it really depends on what a haunt is looking for. Pale Night Productions’ new Ghost Chamber is pretty impressive, but I don’t see how it would be effective inside a haunt. Gore Galore’s actor controlled animatronics on the other hand make a big impact on customers since they’re interactive and are quite physical. Their Wild Gore animatronic is sure to be a huge hit.
Transworld is our favorite show of the year. MHC is the cash and carry show, while Transworld is the business show where the biggest and best vendors show up. We luckily didn’t have to deal with how crowded downtown can get since we were staying in Earth City, MO which is a 20 minute drive from America’s Center. We got to check out St. Charles, Mo which is like stepping back in time. It truly is Missouri’s own version of Mayberry. Next time you’re in St. Louis, you have to explore St. Charles.
As I finish writing this article, I think of all the great memories I had at Transworld. Do I wish the show would move out of St. Louis? A part of me says yes because a change in scenery is never a bad thing because it brings something fresh and new. But I can’t forget how Transworld has been a huge success in St. Louis. I don’t seen it moving anytime soon and I’m okay with that. 2016 will be City Blood’s 8th year experiencing Transworld and we hope to see you there.
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