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Well, another Transworld Show has come and gone. Halloween enthusiasts traveled from all over the country see the best products this industry has to offer. Due to the state of the economy, impending war and other factors, some naysayers were predicting a drastic reduction in vendor attendance this year. Being an individual with a positive outlook on the Haunt Industry, I am happy to report that didn’t happen. I spoke with a representative of Transworld Exhibits Inc., and he assured me that both buyer and vendor attendance was
“…about the same as last year”. Not only that, but he also reported that there was more business conducted on the convention floor than there had been in previous years.

Even though this year’s vendor attendance was similar to last year, was there a notable change in haunt-related vendor attendance? No one could tell me that, so I decided to do some research of my own, to find out whether or not the Haunt Industry had lost any ground at the convention this year. The following information was obtained from both the 2002 and 2003 “Directory of Exhibitors”, which are detailed directories of vendors that attended the Transworld Show. For
the purpose of my “unofficial study” I decided to focus on vendor attendance, in categories that were most closely related to the Haunt Industry.

# of 2002 Vendors
# of 2003 Vendors
% Change in Vendors
35% increase
Halloween Masks
3% increase
Halloween Merch.
1% decrease
24% increase
Haunted House Props
5% increase
Lighting & FX
5% decrease
100% increase
5% increase


By comparing the number of vendors attending the show, in Halloween related categories, you can see that there was an attendance increase in some areas and a decrease in others. Overall, though, it seemed that the haunt-related vendor attendance actually increased, compared to last year. While there were a number of vendors who couldn’t make it to the show this year (Distortions, Abracadaver Productions and Hedstorm Productions are a few examples), there were a large number of other haunt-related companies that took their place. This year there were quite a few new companies in attendance. Eccentric Gryphons, ScAir Structures, Unit 70 and other industry newcomers displayed a wide variety of new products. Keep in mind that there were also more than 15 other haunt-related vendors displaying this year, that didn’t exhibit in 2002. While companies like Halloween Productions reduced their booth space this year (compared to 2002), several companies (such as Nightview Productions, Midnight Syndicate and Haunted Enterprises) actually reserved more floor space than they had in previous years. Even with restrictive factors like the state of the economy, vendors were still able to travel to Rosemont and dazzle us with their wares.

While there was a wide variety of great new products, some “buyers” didn’t seem to notice. I heard a number of people express their disappointment that vendors didn’t offer anything new this year. The fact is, there were A LOT of new products introduced at the show. Why did so many new props go unnoticed? Well, it seemed that only a handful of vendors were promoting their new products effectively. After all, you can’t expect everyone to memorize every vendor’s product line from year to year. It’s up to the vendors to let us know what’s new. A lot of vendors should follow the example set by Little Spider. Not only did they have a lot of new props this season, each new item they displayed at the show was marked with a “NEW” tag. Other vendors didn’t mark their new items as “NEW” and most vendors didn’t even list them in their catalogs as new offerings. Some vendors didn’t even include their new products in their literature at all. In fact, I would not have realized that several of the products mentioned in this article were new, had I not asked each individual vendor “What do you have new for this year?”. Well, enough of my rambling on, let’s get to the important stuff, the new props of 2003! The following is an overview of 12 companies that presented some new and innovative products at the Transworld Show this year.

Creature Crates
Creature Crates brought three new lines of masks to the Transworld Show: the Inferno Line, Wrath of Anubis Line and the Medieval Line. Various chest plates, matching hands and stilts can be used, along with their new masks, to create a wide variety of stilt characters. The main excitement at the Creature Crates booth was generated by the display and demonstration of "Char the Dragon", one of their great new stilt creatures, complete
with mask, chest plate, wings (with a 16' span) and matching stilts (see below photo). Creature
Crates also introduced a video entitled "Dynamic Haunted House Acting", which is an instructional piece covering the basics of effective haunted house acting, as well as tips regarding actor safety, costume and mask maintenance, how to handle hostile guests and more. You can see their complete line of products by visiting their website


Eccentric Gryphons
Not only was this their first year at the Transworld Show, Eccentric Gryphons is also new to the industry. They exhibited an interesting line of gothic mirror frames and custom-carvable foam wall plaques. Each can be carved and customized using a regular Exacto knife (see below photos). Eccentric Gryphons also introduced a complete line of "Tombliques", which are accents you can attach to a tombstone to give it a customized look. Because they are cast in resin, they are durable enough to be used outdoors. Along with their other new items, they also featured a new Halloween music & sound effects CD entitled "The Haunted Manor". This CD is done in the retro style of the Disney Haunted Mansion and runs about 64 minutes. You can learn more about this new company by visiting their website


Effectech brought a very unique product to the show. It is called “The Coffin of Terror” and it can be used as an attraction’s wait entertainment, or as a separate side-attraction. This "self-contained haunted house" (as it is referred to in their flyer) is yet another way for you to terrorize your patrons. Customers lay inside the coffin (right) and once the lid is closed, they are in complete darkness. The tipping/vibrating base inside the coffin and
custom stereo soundtrack, simulate a carriage ride and being buried alive. This is one thing you don't want to try if you are claustrophobic! You can visit Effectech's website at:

Ex Mortis
Probably the most distinctive costumes out there are Ex Mortis' Stalkaround characters, which are larger than life "puppets" towerering at heights upwards of 8 feet tall (depending on the height of the person wearing the costume) and having an arm span of 8 feet! What makes these costumes even more creepy is the ability of the wearer / operator to move the character's head in all directions (to make it appear to "stare" at people) and utilize
realistic arm movement to grasp at their victims. This year they expanded their line with three new Stalkaround characters: "The Monster", "Count Orlock" and "Werewolf". They are excellent for use as wait entertainment, as well as characters inside a haunt. I have also seen them used very effectively used in haunted hayrides. Along with their new Stalkarounds, Ex Mortis also demonstrated their "Freaky Flyers" (not pictured). Freaky Flyers are lightweight characters that act as a creepy arm extension. You can see these props and more at their website

Ghost Ride Productions
This year Ghost Ride Productions had a variety of new items at the show. They exhibited their brand new line of latex heads (see picture below). Want to spice up your plain-Jane skeleton? Ghost Ride provides a solution with their new "Bucky Skins" and "Bucky Lids" . Bucky Skins are flexible latex skins that can be stretched over your skeleton, to create a great looking custom corpse (pictured bottom right). Bucky Lids are detailed latex pieces that can be used to customize your favorite skull (also pictured bottom right). Ghost Ride Productions also introduced some electronic prop control units, as well at their new line of "Haunt Awards". The Haunt Awards are 8-9" tall ghoulish statues, available in various styles & finishes, mounted on 3" marble bases. Awarding these statues would be a great way to show your appreciation to those who helped make your event a success. For more details and to see their complete product line, visit their website

Gore Galore
With “Getcha some gore”as their slogan, Gore Galore is your "one stop shop for gore". The big attraction at their booth this year was their "Draken Dragon" Costume (left). Wearing this costume, a 6' tall man would appear to be over 7'6" tall! "Icky Nikki", a latex and polyfoam half-corpse, was featured at the show attached to Gore Galore's "Body Banger" mechanism (right). The
body banger mechanism, when triggered, causes the attached half body to swing down and startle your customers. It definitely surprised me when I saw it activate at their booth. Gore Galore also featured their new meat head mobile, a spinning platform with five severed heads skewered on rusty meat hooks, as well as several other great new items. To see more great products, visit their website at:


Little Spider
Little Spider outdid themselves this year. Boasting 100 NEW products, they seemed to have the most new items of anyone at the show. Their new products ranged from static props and wall hangings to animatronic pieces. Some of my personal favorites were "Jack the Scarecrow", a scarecrow character with a pumpkin head, affixed to the top of a wooden post (see picture below) and the "Haunted Tree", an evil-looking tree with red eyes, sharp bark
"teeth" & branch "arms", poised for attack. You can see their great products on their website at

Morbid Industries
Morbid Industries presented a brand new line of VERY affordable props, with most items being priced at or under $30. At the show they presented doorknob adornments, in the shape of eyeballs, pumpkins and skulls. There were also an array of static props, masks and a complete line of foam tombstones. Also featured was their sound effects CD entitled "Dead Air: Dark Ambience for your Haunted House". You can see more
of their products at their website

Prop Masters, Inc.
Once again Prop Masters has come up with some very creepy and evil-looking static props. They prove that evil comes in all sizes with their "Killer Kids", a very disturbing line of creepy, pint-sized characters that are bound to give you nightmares! Added to their line-up of Killer Kids this year are "Ghost Girl" (white w/ CD and Glow w/ CD), "Chip the Dummy", "Stabbo the Clown" and "Stubs the Zombie". Also at the show where their "Flying Terrors", evil-looking half-bodies with tattered clothing. The tattered clothing under their torsos, when exposed to
the breeze from a fan, gives them the appearance that they are "flying" in mid-air. New to the Flying Terrors line this year are the "Green Ghost" (Glow), "Blue Ghost" and the "Pirate". For more details about these props and more, visit their website at

ScAir Structures
"Instant Haunted House, just add air!". Sounds simple, doesn't it?... Maybe too good to be true. Before I saw it in person, I was quite skeptical; however, viewing it at the show changed my mind. This is a very innovative product. Walking through it at the show, I found the inflatable house to be very durable (much more than I anticipated) and I'm sure it could take quite a beating. Suitable for use as a side-attraction or an addition to your existing
attraction, each base unit takes up approximately 1000 square feet. ScAir Structures' units have a modular design to allow you to change the interior layout quickly and easily. 1000 square feet not enough? Additional rooms can be added to any of the doorways. There are built-in cradles for running extension cords & speaker wires, as well as provisions for mounting props, lighting & sound equipment. And here's the best part. When the season is over, all sections of the unit can be rolled up, bagged and stored in an area only 5'w x 5'd x 6'h. Want to know more? Visit their website at:

ScareFactory, Inc.
If you attended the Transworld Convention, you couldn’t miss the huge Scarefactory display, engulfing over half of the floor space of the Dark Zone. They brought to the show a wide variety of new props and high-end animatronics. While many of their props could be used at any attraction, some were gigantic and required a large amount of floor space or higher than average ceilings. Their most impressive (and tallest) animation was "The Impaler" (bottom right). It is a towering 13 feet tall and has a total of seven different articulating movements, with an optional digital soundtrack available. One of my other favorites in their new line was the "Impaled Vampire". Available in either static or animated versions, the Impaled Vampire depicts a vampire corpse impaled on a spear (bottom left). Scarefactory introduced a wide variety of new props this year. You can see the rest of their new offerings for 2003 and their complete product line at


Unit 70 Studios
Unit 70 Studios was yet another new company that exhibited its products at the Transworld show. The most impressive product on display was their "Yoggoth" creature. Towering over you at 11 feet tall, this animated creature has several movements, with coordinated sound effects (left). It is available in both animated and still pose versions. Another one of their new animations is called
"Caged Fury". This animation features a corpse violently shaking back and forth, inside a hanging cage (right). Also featured were manually-operated characters of various styles that lunge out of a closed cabinet ("Return to Cinder"), as well as "Destination Unknown", skeleton character with a realistic "walking" motion. You can find out more about their company and products at:

There you have it, an overview of 12 companies that brought some new, innovative products to the convention. The Transworld Show is a great opportunity to see the latest props & services that are available to the Haunt Industry. Everyone in the haunted house business should attend. I look forward to seeing what these and other great companies have to offer in 2004. Until then, Happy Haunting!

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