Fear Expo Live brings ghosts to town | News


On Friday, a massive Pennywise the Clown soared 9.5 feet above the ground at the Owensboro Convention Center, threatening haunted house operators attending the first Fear Expo Live.

If anyone wanted to add Pennywise to their haunted attraction, they could take it home for just $25,000.

A 7.5-foot one-eyed ogre stood nearby.

It was for sale between $10,000 and $15,000.

Doug Shelden of Grand Rapids, Michigan created Fear Expo Live and brought it to Owensboro.

He said on Friday he would definitely come back next year and be even bigger.

An ice storm in the Carolinas kept several people away on Friday, but Shelden said more people will arrive Saturday for the trade show that will continue through Sunday.

“We have people here from as far away as California,” he said. “We even have some from Canada and the UK.”

At Brian Blair’s Pumpkin Pulp stand, his brother David ran the shop.

The Muncie, Indiana-based company has been in business since 2006 and now sells its custom masks worldwide, David Blair said.

“Our busiest time of year is March and April,” he said. “People then start placing orders. Most people think it’s October, but it’s the end of the season for us.

Bryan Marriott of Haunt Design in Grand Rapids also manned the Distortions Unlimited booth in Greeley, Colorado.

“I started building animatronics about six to eight months ago,” he said. “It’s robotics and engineering, which I studied for. I’ve built things all my life.

Lullaby, a skeletal nanny, was cradling a skeletal baby next to him.

A 7-foot mean wolf, which retails for $6,540, kept watch over his shoulder.

A few aisles away, Tom Mayberry of TFFX Masks & Props in O’Fallon, Illinois, was waiting for customers at his booth.

He has been sculpting and making creepy masks for 13 years.

“It took me nine tries to land my first one,” Mayberry said.

His most popular mask is an Orc, a goblin-like humanoid monster, from “The Lord of the Rings”.

But when Mayberry wants to feel like an old man, he puts on the Boomer mask.

Fear Expo Live continues through Sunday.

Fear still sells these days.

HauntWorld.com says, “Owners of haunted attractions spend more than $250 million each year from specific haunted house vendors for supplies such as fog machines, spooky animatronic monsters, lighting equipment or masks and costumes to help them scare America.”

He adds: “The biggest growth for sellers in the haunted industry is now overseas, where haunted houses are opening at a record pace. We estimate that there are over 1,200 haunted attractions charging admission fees to their events” in the United States.


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