The Midwest Haunters Convention in Columbus Ohio is considered by many in the haunted attraction industry of being among one of the most popular trade shows, second to TransWorld itself. And with the recent purchase of MHC by the organizers of TransWorld, it’s also been highly anticipated by attendees to see what changes might happen with the show and it’s new owners.
Now for all those that were worrying that the show you knew it is dead and gone forever…. Relax. It’s still very much alive and well. In fact, I have to say from my perspective, there really wasn’t that much of a difference from years past with the exception of an upgrade for the trade show. Allow me to explain.
MHC 2014 – HauntersDigest.com / Big Scary Show Booth
As with shows past, MHC offered a Pre-Con bus tour that included a “Paranormal” day tour and traveling visit to a selection of Haunted House Attractions from the surrounding area. This included visits to the “Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory”, “The Factory of Terror” and “Bloodview Haunted House”. And when everyone was back to the hotel from visiting the attractions, Friday evening included the first party of the show to help everyone relax and get ready for the weekend.
Saturday morning kicked off with the trade show floor opening and the start of the educational side of the show. A variety of seminars provided by veteran haunters covering a skew of topics from prop creation, to actor eduction and more.
While I personally didn’t get a chance to attend the seminars, I did get to talk with several seminar attendees during the show. They all felt the seminars themselves were a great purchase and provided a great lineup of topics to choose from. A few had some issues with ticket purchasing, but to be fair, this is the first year with the new owners and there are always bound to be few hiccups. I’m sure now that the show is over, the organizers will be able to do a post-mortem on how everything ran and those issues will be fixed for next year.
MHC 2014 – Tradeshow Floor
The Trade Show Floor
Now the trade show floor was where one could see a difference. In the past, MHC was considered by many to be the show for the smaller item purchases compared to TransWorld. If you planning to purchase large animatronics, bulk supplies for your haunt and any other large purchases, TransWorld was your show. If you were looking for smaller end products targeted more for the actor, home haunter or a cash and carry, MHC was your considered more your show. But now, I would say that while TransWorld’s St. Louis show is still the mega show for the industry, MHC definitely gives you a second chance to catch a few of the vendors from St. Louis in Columbus while still retaining the charm of past shows.
There are still plenty of vendors for actors to shop. Costume and make-up vendors were in attendance during the show. An actor with just an idea of character could easily walk onto the show floor and be able to purchase a costume, makeup and props with ease. Home haunters and attraction owners were also able to find vendors like Froggys Fog, Screamline Studios, Beyond the Grave and others for their prop needs.
But there were also a few vendors you normally didn’t see at MHC like Distortions Unlimited. It was great to be able to walk thru the show floor and see Ed and Marsha there with their awesome products. Incase you didn’t get a chance to purchase some needed animatronics, now you have a second chance with Distortions or even from AllScare! It’s a sight I hope to see many times in the future!
MHC 2014 – Distortions Unlimited
But you got an overall feeling on the show floor that it was bigger. There was a variety more vendors there that you haven’t seen in shows past. This to me was good thing because it gives opportunities to those that may not be able to make it out to St. Louis a chance to possibly purchase what they need for their haunt.
Here was a view of the show floor from the HauntersDigest.com booth. We were at the center of the show floor and there were still a variety of vendors behind us also for attendees to shop from!
MHC 2014 – HauntersDigest.com Booth
The Masquerade Party
If you were to ask everyone who is planning to attend MHC the one event they look forward to the most, they would tell you it’s the Saturday night Masquerade Party! For those haunters that don’t make it to St Louis, this is the single event that they wait all year for and it’s always a blast!
It’s funny to be walking in to the hotel lobby from dinner and seeing the look on non-industry hotel guest that have no idea what’s going on, when a variety of what can only be described as the starring cast of a person’s nightmare walking around the hotel bar heading up the escalators all in character.
Earlier in the evening, while I was at dinner across from the convention center, I overheard a group talking about the convention and how they had stumbled across it while coming from the street party a block away. They were completely fascinated with the show and some of the costumed actors already walking around. I suggested to them, if they really wanted to see some great costumes, be at the hotel bar in a few hours. Sure enough, later in the evening while walking thru the bar, I saw those same people sitting off to the side having a great time watching and interacting with some of the actors in full character.
The party was still a great event like previous years. There were monsters all around, dancing and enjoying the night away. The food was good, the lobby was full of party guest talking and the room had a great vibe. Everyone seemed to enjoy the party and the usual events like the “Mr / Ms Scariest Character” and the body painting competitions.
Even the after parties were a blast as people migrated around the hotel from party to party. Normally, I try to be in bed by 1:30 so I can get up the next morning. After all, HauntersDigest.com does have a booth on the show floor and we have interviews to record. But this year, I didn’t make it to sleep till around almost 5 am (Thank you Zombie Army). As you will see in the MHC recap video, my voice is gone. So, I would say that it was a good night hanging out with friends and making new friends till early in the morning.
Looking Towards 2015
Next year’s MHC is already scheduled for May 29-31, 2015 as usual in Columbus. There was some kind of crazy rumor going around that it was moving, but that’s all it was. A rumor. For right now, MHC is staying in Columbus, Ohio and I would recommend that you clear those dates in your schedule. MHC’s new owners are continuing the great traditions set by the former owners Nenna, Kelly, Barry & Kathy of being a great show to attend.
Also Check Out
We are still in the process of editing all the hours of video footage we took during the show, but when it’s available online, we will post it here. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel (Click Here) to know when it’s online!
If you were at MHC 2014, be sure to post your experiences and comments below in the comments area! Let us know what you thought of the show and you will be attending next year.