2019 Midwest Haunters Convention
Over the years, there have been many changes with the Midwest Haunters Convention, most notably the change in ownership. In November of 2013, Transworld Trade Shows, LLC announced their acquisition of the show ( source ). Since then, MHC has transformed into a different & larger show. Up until this year, the convention had remained in its original host city of Columbus, Ohio. In order to give it room to expand further, in 2019 Transworld decided to move it to a new venue in Schaumburg, Illinois, near Chicago. This announcement was met with mixed reviews.
MHC was not without its challenges during its first year in the Chicagoland area. Since the show was now located in an area that wasn't familiar to many attendees, there were some complaints related to the location. Fans of the food court in Columbus weren't happy to find limited dining options within close proximity of the Schaumburg Convention Center. This was especially true for vendors on the show floor, who couldn't take the time to leave and travel by car to find food. While the hotel did offer a free shuttle service, the extended wait times (up to 90+ minutes) made the service unusable.
Cost was also an issue. MHC fans have always liked the affordable nature of the show. In its many years of operation, the show admission remained at or below $15. This year, admission increased to $35 per person, which is a 133% percent increase, compared to 2018 admission. While that isn't an outrageous price for a weekend convention, there was still quite a bit of social media buzz, with people expressing concern over the possibility of similar increases in future years.
There was also the matter of hotel reservations. Everyone who made reservations with the host hotel (Renaissance Schaumburg) were greeted with the following notice in their reservation confirmation:
"Guests may cancel reservations without penalty by Apr-14-2019. All existing reservations will be charged in full on Apr-15-2019 and will be non-refundable."
So, in other words, if you canceled your reservation within 7.5 weeks of the convention, you would be charged for your entire scheduled stay. That is outrageous! It's just a guess, but perhaps this was risk mitigation on the part of the hotel. Either way, there were a lot of people unhappy with this policy. It should be noted that this was not under Transworld's control; however, it is a valid complaint, nonetheless.
Although there were a few snafus, I didn't let that detract from my overall enjoyment of the convention.
I was happy to see the continuation of Scary-Oke, which has been a fan favorite at MHC for years. Another fun event on Friday evening was the haunt tour of Zombie Army Productions' HellsGate Haunted House , where I was fortunate enough to get backstage access.
During the weekend, there were some great activities held on the show floor main stage. Some of our favorite attractions were the Monster Makeup Wars, the Dating Game of the Dead, the Creature Screecher Contest and Allen Hopps' Trash Monster Demonstration. We were able to capture some great pictures and video from these activities, to share with you later in this review.
In the Haunted House Chicago booth, our good friend Kris Zahrobsky conducted interviews with local haunted house actors / actresses from the Chicagoland area. The interviews were not only in-depth, but also fun and entertaining.
As can be seen by the pictures posted on this page, the Hardcore Hearse Club had a sizable display on the show floor, featuring many customized hearses.