As the haunted attractions industry gathers momentum in Europe, the second ScareCON trade show took place recently in the UK.
Combining an exhibition, conference, walk-through attraction and awards ceremony, ScareCON ’09 was staged inside the Atrium Suites of the Birmingham NEC for one day only – Thursday, May 7. The organiser was Scare Attractions UK, part of the hauntedattractions.co.uk network.
Exhibitors offered everything from theatrical make up to props and effects. While the show floor itself was small, there was nevertheless a wait of up to two hours to sample The Cloakroom, the on-site attraction created by Sweet Dreams Interactive.
Also popular were the day’s six seminars, where speakers including Paul Howse of AtmosFEAR! Scare Attractions, Jenni Taffs of Crealy Adventure Parks, Stuart Beare from Tulleys Farm and Tash Banks of Apocalypse UK shared their Halloween know-how. Delegates could even witness a zombie makeover!
An after show party and the first Screamie Awards ceremony rounded off the day.
“We were extremely pleased with how well the day went,” Wayne Davis of Scare Attractions UK told Park World after the event. “Delegate numbers were up on 2008, feedback was all positive, sales were made and we are already planning ScareCON 2010!”
The date and venue for next year’s get-together have yet to be confirmed. Given the show’s size and the NEC’s rental costs, it might make sense to hold the event somewhere a little more modest, but the venue remains central to the rest of the UK, and walking distance from Birmingham International Airport.
ScareCON’s organisers have also established a co-operative agreement with Attractions Expo, which will take place as part of Leisure Industry Week (LIW) at the NEC in September. The two events complement each other well but it is unlikely they will ever take place at the same time: After all, September is too close to Halloween!