Transworld Halloween & Attractions Show 2016 Overview

The newest trends & innovations, the coolest props & animatronics and the scariest highlights of the biggest Halloween trade show in the world!

Greetings, Halloween fanatics! It’s The Phantom of the Ville, reporting back from the Transworld Halloween & Attractions Show in St. Louis. The entire Louisville Halloween crew spent the weekend in the Arch City doing a little research and shopping for this year’s upcoming Halloween Parade and Festival (Oct. 8, 2016) and for another little secret project we can’t spill the beans about just yet, but hope to thrill you with this haunting season.

We also met with and conducted interviews with the haunt owners of some of the biggest and scariest haunted attractions in the region in accordance with our plans to expand our seasonal haunt coverage beyond the River City and into some of our neighbor’s biggest cities. Stay tuned for interviews with The Dent Schoolhouse’s Bud Stross, Nashville Nightmare’s Brad Webb, Fright Nights Campout’s Greg Walker and more in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, enjoy a photo journey through the massive show floor as we bring to your attention some of the latest props, masks, costumes, animatronics and special effects. The staggering amount of eye candy on display is quite honestly overwhelming, and the best I can do to service Louisville Halloween readers is just to shine a light on the things that made my eyes open wide and a grin creep across my spectral face.

So what are the latest trends in the haunt biz?

KRAMPUS: Perhaps the biggest explosion of props, animatronics and displays to show up in 2016 that weren’t already apparent in 2015 was the mass scale introduction of creepy Christmas themes. Michael Dougherty’s smash winter box-office hit, “Krampus,” certainly helped drive home a theme that was already cropping up in haunted attractions over the last half decade, introducing North American audiences to the ancient Scandinavian legend of the devilish anti-Claus.

The centerpiece of the entire show floor was Larry Kirchner’s (owner of The Darkness haunted attraction in St. Louis) Krampus house which included a gigantic Krampus torturing a screaming toddler surrounded by evil elves, winter warlocks, killer snowmen and a demented Santa Claus.

There was also a gigantic, snow covered Yeti house by Little Spider Creations that featured a Kong-sized Yeti towering over a walk through Christmas attraction. Even Gothic music composers, Midnight Syndicate, got into the dark holiday spirit with a release of their new CD, “Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering.”

ESCAPE ROOMS: For the first time in Transworld’s 20 year history, it opened an entire section of the floor to Escape Room City where attraction owners could sample mini escape rooms and Escape Room owners could meet with prop makers and purchase props and mechanisms made specifically for use in the booming Escape Room industry.

VIRTUAL REALITY: For me, this inauspicious and outwardly unremarkable little booth by Vector Space (www.vectorspacevr.com) out of Portland, Oregon was the stealth bomb wake-up to the future of the entire show. I’ve seen VR before, and honestly up to this point, I’ve never really been that impressed by it. All that changed when I put on their light weight googles that interacted with multiple cameras in a 10 x 10 foot space and was transported into a dungeon scene where skulls poured out of a sewer drain so realistically that I tried to catch them. Bats flew all around me and a Slenderman styled character jumped out of a hellish pit to attack me. I could easily see this application of virtual reality becoming the next big side attraction to replace the coffin ride at bigger haunts everywhere.

SCENTS and SOUNDS: The best walk through attraction on the show floor was hats down Oak Island’s Scare Products full size haunted attraction. Oak Island Creative, who recently moved their headquarters to Louisville, built an entire haunted attraction to display their latest haunt props. You enter through a giant clown’s mouth into a claustrophobia tunnel and emerge into Scare Product’s nightmare world that includes distinctive (and often disgusting) scents for each room including a beehive, a maggot room with a clever mechanism that drops maggots (rice?) on guest’s heads and a crazy cat lady’s house that reeks of cat piss!

Morbid Entertainment presented a sensory 4D sound experience that involved being chained to wheelchairs in a completely dark room that relies on the imagination to generate fear, and Gantom Lighting & Controls built a huge interactive Gothic structure to demonstrate their Gantom Torch flashlights. You enter into the darkness with a flashlight, but the trick is that THEY control the flashlight which they can shut off, turn on and vibrate whenever they want.

VINTAGE HALLOWEEN MADE NEW AGAIN: I love a little nostalgia for the Halloweens of long past, and Creature Revenge Studios hit my soft spot with their Bobbles the Clown latex mask and costume (especially the orange-and-black Halloween version) and their vintage Sabbath Cat mask. They also brought along their retro Mr. Frosty ice cream man, Shanty Claus and Krampus designs as well.

The Phantom of The Ville

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