Haunters Across the Country Bond over Haunted Nostalgia on the Haunted Attraction History Facebook Group

Haunted House History

Haunted House History

As the entire entertainment industry wrestles with the challenges and fallout of COVID-19, the Halloween and Haunted Attraction industry has come together online to meet the challenge, commiserate and share their combined years of passion for this unique form of theatrical entertainment. When the TransWorld Halloween & Attractions Show, the largest and most highly attended trade show in the country catering exclusively to the Halloween industry, was forced to cancel its’ annual show in St. Louis in late March due to concerns related to the coronavirus, vendors and haunt owners bemoaned their best opportunity to get together and do business prior to the 2020 Halloween season.

One the best silver linings of a difficult situation so far has been the creation of the Haunted Attraction History private group on Facebook. Prior to this group, very little information on the early days of the haunt industry was readily accessible. One of the best researched articles the on the history of haunted houses was published by our friends at City Blood in Ohio. Since the Facebook group was started on March 5, a literal cornucopia of haunted attraction history has been shared among an elite group of longtime haunters and pumpkin kings of the industry. Vintage video, advertising and historical props dating back to the early 1970’s have literally come out of the woodwork resulting in a sort of shared mini history of the haunted attraction industry. At the time of this article, the group is closing in on 500 members from across the country.

I reached out to one of the group moderators, Ben Armstrong, owner of Netherworld Haunted House in Atlanta, Georgia for the story behind the group. “Wow,” admits Armstrong, “A lot of good stuff has been posted so fast it has made my head spin!”

“It started with an idea by MikeTattoo Krausert (Senior Project Manager for the Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group),” says Armstrong. “He had been talking about it for awhile. A few days ago he was like, ‘Hey let’s do this, and I said sure!’ I asked one of our staff and haunt fan Alex Burgraff if she could make a header, Mike put up the site and I added a bunch of posts. Then we invited a ton of folks and that was just a few days ago.”

Haunted House History

“Lots of people in the haunt industry have talked about ways to share our history, most notably Rich Hanf,” relates Armstrong, “and clearly there was a pent up interest in the idea, especially in the current situation these days.”

Haunt vendors and owners from across the industry have joined together sharing stories, memories and tips in the wake of this crisis. Froggy’s Fog, perhaps the industry’s most renowned maker of fog machines and fog juice, has refocused its’ manufacturing capabilities to create Froggy’s Simply Sanitizer in an effort to help with the shortage of hand sanitizer. Others, like Larry Kirchner, owner of The Darkness Haunted House in St. Louis has begun hosting a series of live Facebook chats where he offers tips and advice from his decades of successful haunting experience.

The Haunted Attraction History Facebook group is moderated by a veritable Who’s Who of the haunt industry. Alongside Armstrong and Mike Krausert, the moderators include Chris Stafford (Thirteenth Floor Entertainment and Don’t Be A Monster), Warren Conard (Thirteenth Floor Entertainment), Allen Hopps (Show Director at Dark Hour Haunted House) and John LaFlamboy (Zombie Army Productions). This “Legion of Doom” of the haunt industry shares a passion for the history of Halloween and theatrical haunting that is manifesting itself in a quickly growing museum-level quality collection of vintage materials that simply begs to be shared with horror fans and the public at large.

At this time, Haunted Attraction History remains a private Facebook group, but if enough interest is generated in this very unique and American piece of Halloween history, perhaps members of this secret society will remain joined in the spirit of haunt family and share some of these treasures with the world beyond the October Country. Halloween, in its’ very essence, is an ancient monster built of nostalgia. If this is something that interests you, please let them know in the comments!

The Phantom of The Ville

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