TransWorld has always been the biggest stage for showcasing new Halloween and haunt
products. Every year, there seems to be a "hot product" that everyone keeps talking about after
the event. This year was no different. One of the most talked about items at this year's show
was the inflatable haunt by "ScAir
Structures". Immediately following the show, the haunt
community was "buzzing" with questions, safety concerns and an overall general curiosity. To get the straight
facts on "ScAir Structures", I have gone right to the source, Lee Seymour.
Founded in 2000 by Lee, "ScAir Structures" began developing their protoype: an inflatable haunted
attraction. Over the next 3 years, they invested their time and effort into market testing and
refining their product. The concept for this design, however, has been in Lee's mind for much longer.
"About 6 years ago I began working on various designs for a portable haunted house that I could
use to promote my own seasonal haunt and that would solve a lot of the problems haunters deal
with. After designing the unit using inflatable technology, I realized I had a product that would
be valuable to a lot of others like me. We then fine tuned the design to sell it to others and
to keep the price affordable."
Finally, 2003 had arrived and it was time to unveil their creation to the
entire haunting world. Premiering at TransWorld in Chicago, they had everyone talking about "the
inflatable haunted house". They had definitely picked the right time to make their debut.
The structure is 950 square feet of inflatable mayhem, with four exits, one on each side, just to
the left of the center. "This was done to maximize the efficiency of the interior layout. We are
considering taking special order on special placement of the exits. However, special orders like
that change our production and can increase the price." explains Lee. In terms of exerior size,
the unit is approximately 33' x 29'. On the inside,
"panels" measure 3' x 8'. "They have three velcro flaps at the top that secure to a nylon strap
sewn into the horizontal tubes in between the columns. They also have two loops at the bottom of
the walls that "bungee" to the floor if needed. Lighting, props and speakers can be secured to
these nylon straps as well or to the 300+ "D" rings that will be attached to the unit."
If you leave the bottom of a wall unattached, an actor can work both sides of a path. An actor
can even work up to four "zones" at one time. As Lee said, "The actor will have a harder time
switching masks that switching locations." As for
the "rooms" inside, "The area inside of four columns
is 5' by 5' by 10' high. Large enough for many
animatronic props and display. However, you do not have the luxury of "wide open spaces" explains
Lee. When I asked if you were wanting to make a room larger than the "standard" size", would the
columns be factor, he reponded, "the columns cannot be removed. They can only be pushed aside
slightly." The complete
unit sells for $16,500. Two or more ScAir Structures can also be placed next to each other and connected using the
inflatable hallways offered. These additions measure 13' x 13' and can be used as an extra room
or hallway if you prefer or can simply be used to connect two structures together. The hallways
retail for $1,600 each. Included in the price of this structure is: the floor, the roof, the main
grid (the actual 'bare' structure), the blowers and all the interiror walls you will need.
"ScAIR Structures" offer portability and easy setup, compared to setting up in a temporary
location, having to build the walls, then having to tear everything down and store it for the
season. "ScAir" takes up little space when deflated, can be assembled in a matter of hours,
not days or weeks and deflates in minutes. When it comes to location, the structure can easily
be set up in any parking lot. If you're concerned about fire safety issues, the material used meets
national fire requirements and they (ScAir) have cert and msds packages that they are mailing out
the show to anyone who is interested. Another question has been brought up about fan failure. If
a fan fails, will the patrons inside have enough time to safely exit the haunt? In the event that
one of your fans was to fail, it would take approximately four minutes for the haunt to deflate,
which is ample time for any guests inside to reach one of the four emergency exits. "One year we
had a circuit breaker fail. I was conducting a tour inside at the time. I led the tour out the
nearest exit, went to the electrical panel to flip the breaker and returned. Nobody realized that
the blower was off, they only new that some lights went out. I now suggest the your keep the blowers
on 2 seperate 20 amp circuit breakers to avoid this problem." Rain has been another factor that potential
concerned with. "What happens if it rains? Will the material leak? Possibly ruining any props I
have inside?" The material covering the structure will not leak. In fact, even the four ventilation
hatches are sealed when closed to prevent leaking, while the roof itself is designed to let rain
roll off. "If it does puddle..", explains Lee, "..you can push on the ceiling
from the inside and
it will then roll off." Security is always a paramount issue with any haunter. While these
structures will velcro down at the bottom, there is no way to lock it up for the night. "All of the
exits have Velcro tabs on the bottom of the exterior doors. This allows the unit to appear clowed
and inaccesible, but will not prevent access like a locked door would. One year we set the ScAir
Structure up in an area where this was a concern. We simply defalted the unit each night and
re-inflated it before opening the next day." As far as durability is concerned, the material the
structure is made out of is 18 oz flame-retardant vinyl, which is "very strong and will hold up
for years" according to ScAir Structures.
In addition, ScAir Structures also offers digitally printed inside walls and exterior covers. The
inside walls are digitally printed and cost $300. Thee measure 3' x 8', while the external covers
measure 10' x 30' and are also digitally printed. The external covers retail at $1,600. The image(s)
can be printed from set designs, or can also be custom created at no extra charge. Both of these
options are sure to give any ScAir Structure extra life and make it more appealing.
In addition to their first inflatable product, there are plans for ScAir Structures to release
many new products which will enhane the whole concept of an inflatable haunt. Most of these are
ready for production already. ScAir is planning on promoting them this upcoming Halloween season.
If you wish to have more information on ScAir Structures, be sure to visit their website at www.scairstructures.com or contact Lee Seymour at (805) 584-8369 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether this avenue
of inflated mayhem is right for you, is entirely up to you. I hope these facts have provided you
with a little bit more of a perspective on this new and unique twist on haunted attractions.