Friday was time for classes. We attended 2, 3 hour workshops in lieu of the hour long classes that were being held at the same time. First up was Detailing and distressing your haunt sets with Mike "Tatoo" Krausert . Lot of good detail that helped to improve on techniques we already knew about. The best might've been mention of a dremel tool we hadn't been using for foam carving that could save us hours! Plus a new technique on doing lettering with stencils on foam that was a no brainer. Tatoo and his crew did a great job with the class.
Next up we took Allen Hopps course on making silicone prosethitic applications. This was very similar to part of the 8 hour class with Allen I took last year, but since Anna didn't go to that one and the other 1 hour courses at that time didn't interest me I stayed. Allen didn't seem as prepared as previous courses; there was a lot of down time waiting for silicone to set, cleaning molds etc that could've been sped up if he did Tatoo's approach of "cooking show" learning where things were pre-prepped and pulled out once we hit the "now wait 30 mins for this to set up" phase.
Friday night bus tour first hit up the Scare Factory to tour their warehouse. We stuck with the plan of early is better and caught one of the first buses there. Scarefactory makes some awesome looking animatronics and giant props. Though way out of our budget (and from all reviews I've heard very tempremental in keeping them running). Check out our FaceBook page for some pics. We made this a quick stop and on to the Scare-a-torium on the first bus available. Scare-a-torium was disappoiting but I can't put my finger on why. Their hearts were in it, but overall not successful compared to other places we went. It could've been the location, the not as detailed sets, actors available off season..I don't know. Don't like to talk bad about any haunt given I don't know their situation on budget, time, etc. Some aspects of their black light 3D area were done very well. This would be a haunt for younger kids, but not for seasoned, cynical haunt owners that were on this tour.
Lucky we got there when we did, since on the way out the line was now around the building and had to have been hours of waiting time to go through the haunt. Would've definitely been more pissed if I waited there that long.
Next was the after party at Vue. Bus drops us off and the venue tells us we're early by nearly an hour and they can't let us in. Once in we get 3 drink tickets and then have the option of a cash bar (which carried a different, lower quality of choices than the free bar). This party may have been the low point of trip for me and ties back to one of the topics mention in Part 1 on if MHC would change after the Transworld purchase - it really seemed liked there were no home haunters there; everyone was involved with a vendor company or pro set up and weren't interested in talking to you once they found this out. Felt very cliquish. If you weren't in the know with certain groups you got pushed out of the conversation. BS! Food took a long time to be brought out and by the time it did we ate, used some extra drink tickets we found and bailed on the rest of the party and instead headed back to the hotel bar.
This is where we should've been the whole time. Talked to a nice group from O'Connells Haunted Barn from Illinois for a couple hours.
I don't want to leave this one on a negative note so will say while this year felt more exlusionary to home haunters we still met a lot of great people - from established vets passing on wisdom at the bar to meeting newcomers looking to venture into the business, to vendors who were more happy to sit around and talk Dresden Files and Dr Who vs "sell sell sell" there were a lot of great connections. Especially anyone involved with the Garage of Evil. From their classes to the Saturday night pre-party they threw in one of their suites, the BEERS text system for games and freebies to the smiles and "hi-yas" on the tradeshow floors its obvious they still support the home haunter and want to see them at these shows.
Part 3 will wrap up the Saturday classes, Tradeshow, Costume ball, and Sunday closeout.