It’s Now Haunt Season and the Spooky Halloween Industry Goes Big Time
Haunted Attraction Association (HAA) was formed to align Halloween haunts and serve as the voice of the haunted attraction industry. HAA is the only official association in the haunt industry.
How did HAA come about? With the growing popularity in visiting haunted attractions in the past 25 years, the haunt industry is now approximately $300 million in size with an estimated 2,500 haunted attractions worldwide that entertain millions and employ tens of thousands.
The mission of HAA is to promote a network of haunted attractions including haunted houses, haunted hayrides, scream parks, mega-haunts, Halloween festivals, haunted outdoor trails, corn mazes and amusement park Halloween events.
HAA is based in Winnetka, Illinois and was formed in 2010 between a merger of the International Association of Haunted Attractions that was founded in 1998 and the Haunted House Association, founded in 2009.
Spokesperson: President Patrick Konopelski was quoted, “This industry is one of the most exciting places to be,” says Konopelski. “While it’s rise may have started with the increasing popularity of Halloween 20 to 25 years ago, there is now an entire extended Haunt Season, which starts in September and runs through November, that appeals to Baby Boomers and all ages.”
HAA offers numerous programs that allows its worldwide network of members to freely exchange ideas, information, experiences and concerns via educational seminars, conferences, exclusive networking events, message boards, tradeshows, newsletters, magazines and more.
In addition, the association advises the haunt industry on haunt safety standards to protect customers. HAA offers Certified Haunted Attraction Operator Seminar (C.H.A.O.S.) safety classes that provide a certification to establish haunts as a safe attraction.
Long gone are the simplistic days of just black walls, Halloween spook masks and cheesy plastic knives. Each year haunted attraction owners and operators spend millions of dollars on state-of-the-art special effects and audio animatronic creatures, Hollywood-quality makeup and masks, costumes, lighting gear, sound equipment and more.
Today, owners and operators are also influenced by video games and invest year-round in research, consulting experts and psychologists on how to create the best immersive, interactive experience.