Midwest Haunters Convention Moves to Chicago for 2019

After a swirl of rumors at this year's Midwest Haunters Convention, the official announcement came out today. After 11 years of taking place in Columbus, Ohio, the Midwest Haunters Convention would be moving to Chicago, Illinois for the 2019 season...

From the MHC Official press release:

TransWorld Turns Chicagoland into Hauntedland (June 7-9)

Largest U.S. Halloween and Haunted Attraction Convention Moves to Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center and 100+ Haunted Houses

WINNETKA, ILLINOIS, August 13, 2018 – After 11 years in Columbus, Ohio the Midwest Haunters Convention (MHC) – the ultimate trade event for haunted house operators, retailers, entertainment venues, seasonal performers, and enthusiasts – will move to Chicago. The producer, TransWorld Trade Shows, LLC is also expanding the show – from June 7th to 9th, 2019 -- to more than 60,000 square feet of exhibit space. In addition there will be haunted house tours throughout the region, so attendees can scare-up creative new ideas for building profitable business during the Halloween season.

Kelly Collins, former owner of Midwest Haunters Convention and industry expert recently joined the event team. “This category is growing exponentially,” he says. And now that I’ve teamed up with TransWorld the possibilities are scary-wonderful!”

An annual tradition, the Saturday Night Masquerade Party, remains the show highlight.

The show is not contained to the Convention Center, however. Attendees will see haunted houses in action, over a 120-mile radius via chartered buses. Tours will be announced by the end of 2018.

Exhibitors have shown support for the move to Chicago by committing early to the show. These exhibitors include Froggy's Fog, FrightProps, Distortions Unlimited - Official, Ghost Ride Productions, INC., Zombie Skin, Paschae Airbrush, Zagone Studios, LLC, Sinister Visions, Creative Visions, Legendary Escape, Donat Insurance, Zombie Army Productions and many others.

Companies have also rushed to secure the premier sponsorships. They are: Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group, Haunted House Chicago, Basement of the Dead Haunted House, Dr. Scary’s, Evil Intentions Haunted House, HellsGate Haunted House, Midnight Terror Haunted House, The Realm of Terror Haunted House, Statesville Haunted Prison, Massacre Haunted House, and Wisconsin Fear Grounds. Other sponsorships are still available.

Other MHC attractions include:

• A Zombie Walk

• Body Art Fashion Show

• Bloody Mary Monster Makeup Wars competition
• Cash & Carry including makeup, props and one-of-a-kind items and art

• Sinister Visions Costume Contest
• Eye-popping trade show floor entertainment

• Opportunities to attract, recruit, and train seasonal talent

• Kids area

• Educational workshops and networking activities

Says one former attendee, “MHC combines profitable business and decadent pleasure – everything from makeup, costumes, and prosthetics to décor and animatronics.”

Jennifer Braverman, TransWorld CEO also notes, “Haunters are some of the friendliest people I’ve met in my trade show career. They love to share ideas and outdo each other in friendly competition. We may be creating the largest-ever environment for them to do that! We not only attract haunted house operators, we host hundreds of actors and aspiring ghouls.”

The show was moved due to the huge business population in Chicago, the Convention Center’s convenient location (8 miles to airport), and the venue’s free parking and union-free cost environment, which can save exhibitors thousands of dollars.

So where to begin?

As an Ohioan, I am bummed about the move. The just-under two hour drive was really convenient and the fact that it has always been in Columbus was a source of state pride, as it was "our" convention. I had attended this event for the past 8 or 9 years and it had become an annual Halloween right of passage each June.

But as a haunter, I get it, too. I would be lying if I told you that the convention hadn't become a bit long in the tooth, culminating in a rather tepid and uninspired event in 2018. Having the convention scheduled over Memorial Day weekend, regardless of availability and scheduling, was a bad move and it showed with a half-full trade show floor. Vendor attendance was its lowest since I had been coming to the show. 

And quite honestly, I wouldn't doubt that this was the plan all along. Everyone signaled the death knell once word spread that the convention had been taken over by TransWorld two years ago.

But I get this, too. They are a business and their goal is to make money. So why not bring it to the largest possible audience?

And Chicago is an obvious choice. A huge city with an absolutely incredible haunt scene.

So yes, I am bummed, but at the same time, optimistic. Honestly MHC was due for a reboot as it were and I think (hope) that this is the kick it needs. The drive will increase by 4 hours, but I'm going to give it a chance.

Chicago is an amazing city and I'm really excited to go tour some of their legendary haunts. And regardless of where it's located, a gathering of haunters is always going to be a huge party.

So what says you, Chicago? Can you take what we Ohioans have lovingly crafted and take it to the next level? I'm going to give you the chance in 2019.  On June 7th, lets tear the city apart!



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