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24
Sep

oni-haunts-travel-log-2-weekends-down-6-to-go
 Oni Haunts Travel Log: 2 Weekends down, 6 to go!

Haunt season is here and I am already freaking exhausted. Coffee helps!

oni-haunts

Hi.

This season for me is that time when I get no sleep and make sure that I have bottles of water and energy bars in my car in case I have to skip dinner in order to get to a haunt. If I am lucky and I plan right I can get 2 in in one night. My record is 3 Halloween festivals in one night.

Let me tell you, buddy. After you do 3 Halloween festivals in one night your spine feels like a pack of Cheetos that someone pulled out of a yak’s anus.

Sometimes I ask myself why I put myself through this. The answer is that I simply love this industry so much and it’s not like I can wait until November to go to the haunted houses. I want to see people do well. I want more people to go to haunted attractions because that will mean that there are more haunted attractions for me, too.

So far I’ve been put into a coffin and slid into an oven in a secret room, I’ve eaten a meal in a haunted house, I’ve driven 7.5 hours to experienced a Cursed Europe, I got brutalized on a farm

…and then there was this guy:

Video of Zeke from Hotel of Horror in Saylorsburg, PA made by Daimon Price.

Then Pennhurst happened which I am writing about very soon.

Not a day goes by that I don’t contemplate how lucky that I am to be able to do this. I am incredibly grateful for it and even more grateful for your readership so that I can continue to elevate the storytelling, craftsmanship, and unsung heroes of this industry and beyond. Please keep sharing my blog and reviews. We are doing amazing but everything helps this get bigger and better!

If you have something I should review or have a story that should be told email me via the link on the top bar – or pitch a guest post!


23
Sep

my-haunted-attraction-calendar-wins
 My Haunted Attraction calendar wins.

Proof that I have a “Haunts” calendar right next to my “Uterus” calendar:

haunte uterus


22
Sep

my-haunted-house-review-post-queue-for-you-impatient-guys
 My Haunted House review post queue for you impatient guys

I am finished with Dorney Park Haunt Pt 1 to be live tomorrow. Working on Pt 2. also possibly to be live tomorrow.

NEXT in this order are reviews of:

Field of Screams

Hotel of Horror

Pennhurst Asylum Pt. 1: Pennhurst Museum and History

Pennhurst Asylum Pt. 2: Haunted House Review

I HOPE to get these all done before Friday when I get to review 2 more haunts (still undecided) before I go down to crack Halloween Horror Nights – Universal Orlando’s nuts and then Busch Gardens Tampa HowlOScream.

Then it will be Legends Dark Amusements Haunted House and Ghost Tour in Kissimmee, Florida.

Then I hope I can fit The Haunted Angelus House near Tampa, Florida in before coming back up north to kick Western PA and Ohio and NJ and MD/VA in the nuts.

I am already exhausted. I am not joking. But it’s not like I can wait to do this in a month.

In the meantime read this blog and tell other people to read it so that I can continue to bring you this awesome. Sharing is so important for those of us who do this.

The direct link to review landing archive is here but many of the recent ones aren’t linked there yet so also read back into this blog below.

Remember to follow me on Twitter and Instagram for live tweets and photos as it happens. For example this was a thing that happened to my husband at Pennhurst:

You can suggest anything for me to review and I’ll try. I’m paying out of pocket to get to all of these places so keep in mind I live in Central NJ. I do think a 2-5 hour drive is reasonable, though. I do have a tip jar located on the upper right of this blog. (See that in pink? Yes.) If you’d like to help us pay for gas or train tickets. Here is a direct link.

Now BRB I have a mountain of writing to do before sleeping and waking up early for my day job tomorrow! Catch up on my reviews while you are waiting. Happy Halloween!


16
Sep

journalists-need-halloween-and-haunted-attraction-experts-im-willing-to-help
 Journalists need Halloween and Haunted Attraction experts; I’m willing to help

Fall is here so it’s time for me to shake my head at another mainstream media article about haunted attractions. Every year Forbes, Buzzfeed, CNN, The Today Show, Good Morning America or whatever come out with a Top 10 Haunted Attractions article – and almost every time I disagree with it.

It’s not their writer’s fault. Imagine if you had minimal knowledge about haunted attractions and were told to quickly write something about the best ones. How would you do it? You’d probably start googling terms like “best haunted attraction” or “scariest haunted attraction”.

Since almost every haunted attraction claims that they are the “best” or “scariest” this is basically going to get you the people with the best SEO and not necessarily the best haunted attractions.

Another option is for them to google other haunted attraction articles from other mainstream magazines – who have probably researched their haunted attractions in he same way described above because it’s not like we have time machines and teleportation.

It’s overwhelming to really dig into this industry and almost impossible for someone to research it quickly.

Fun story: My Haunted Attraction article got rejected from Cracked only because I needed another reference to back up what I was reporting on. There are none.

Why is that? Because I’m the only website that talks about art, tech, and innovation within this industry and goes through this many haunted attractions with a specific art-centric perspective talking about what’s going on. There are many review websites, but most of them aren’t looking for exactly what I’m pulling out. That might sound like a good thing* but it basically means that I can’t ever write about haunts for Cracked based on their guidelines that insist you must have a secondary reference that isn’t you for each thing that you claim.

I have no way to back up the fact that I physically saw an amazing room with a rocking floor inside Akron Ohio’s Haunted Schoolhouse and Lab. There is no book written about it and I could not find anyone else talking about it.

It took me a couple of years of hard touring to get my head around all of the trends and concepts – and it’s basically all I did for 2 months for each those years. It’s not a normal amount of time or money that I spent on it. You have to be a special kind of batshit loco to do this.

But I digress.

Something that I dislike about everything in life is that those who get the most coverage aren’t necessarily the best – they are just the people with the most marketing dollars. Many smaller haunted attractions are pretty poor at marketing their haunts or simply have no budget for it because they spent it all on making a phenomenal piece of interactive theater. It’s no one’s fault – this is just life.

I have always been the person to stand up for the little guy. In fact my haunted attraction tour this year will avoid some of the larger haunts that don’t change from year to year in favor of the smaller haunts and the innovative larger ones.

I’d love to be able to help journalists meet their Halloween deadlines easier in some way with content that no one else will have.

Any journalist or writer who needs help in their haunted attraction research – feel free to contact me via the “Contact” button on the top bar of this website. I am professional, camera-friendly and can easily help you with a detailed analysis of Halloween and Haunted Attraction trends. If I don’t know the answer you need, I probably know someone who does.

* Anyone who knows business knows that more people talking about an industry is better than less because it creates a better ecosystem for the message. We need more people, doing deep analysis of haunted attractions!


08
Sep

big-news-oni-hartstein-expands-blog-coverage-to-uncover-the-intersection-of-art-and-tech-in-haunted-attractions-dark-rides-and-immersive-theater-all-year-round
 BIG NEWS: Oni Hartstein expands blog coverage to uncover the intersection of art and tech in haunted attractions, dark rides, and immersive theater all year ’round

GUYS.

My blog is going from awesome to mega holy shit awesome. I normally do just haunted attraction reviews during the Fall season and random adventures outside of the season. Thanks to your feedback, starting immediately I will be working year round to uncover the intersection of Art and Tech in haunted attractions, dark rides, and immersive theater. This means interviews with the craftspeople and a peek into what it takes to make magic happen.

This ties right in with my already huge focus on emerging art and tech with my 3 day event, Intervention: The Premier Showcase of Online Creativity.

Oh yeah and Intervention 6 itself is being completely biggie mushroomed and re planned to serve the attendees and artists even better than before. Because I am nuts and have to always innovate.

There’s other things I am not telling you yet. In the words of my German relatives, “You will like it.”

Anyway tell everyone about this blog, bookmark it, and subscribe to it via RSS. Also please submit tips of people and projects whom I should be interviewing. This is the time to truly elevate this industry and give those who work hard to make magic their recognition.

Note that interview content likely can’t start till November which is good because we are all hella busy till then. My already packed haunted attraction reviewing schedule might explain that.

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