Trade Shows / 10.30.23 / By Chase Howells

Haunts of the Trade Show Industry

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Even as an adult I recognize scary things do happen in the fall, and they don’t have anything to do with Halloween. As the month of October brings a time of frightful decor, haunted houses and all things creepy, we in the trade show industry are dealing with the sleepless nights of the fall trade show season. As we plow through the fall shows in September the pumpkin-headed monster of October looms ahead of us. So what is it that makes our fall season so scary?


This is quite a fright because it encompasses so many elements that are largely outside of our control. The further the scale tips toward no-control-over-it, the more sleepless and scary the nights become.

Freight and shipping are the largest piece of this. Within that you have things like rush shipments, international freight, hotel shipments and show-to-show tight window shipments. This is on top of the gamble that standard ground shipping has become these days too. When you’ve had full exhibits get stuck in customs, put onto a slow train accidentally, or just outright lost then your mind begins to race.

Since we have a storage and asset management component to our business, packing up displays can also aid in turning us into zombies. While this is certainly within our control and we have processes, there’s always that shadow of a doubt that creeps in at midnight to ask if you remembered to pack that hardware bag or monitor mount.

Items also have an opportunity to get broken in all of this as well. TVs being the top offender here, which at least is very replaceable. But sometimes it can be that delicate custom item that is a feature in the show. There are times we want to escort these pieces like secret service to the show floor destination.


The trade show world is a world of details. Paperwork, manuals and forms for every show, many of which are different for each event. Then when it is showtime, new wrinkles to the details popup like fees for this or forms for that. All the ducks must be in a row. Most of these details are being ordered and monitored as someone’s tertiary job role, but have major ramifications.

Haunted Hall

These haunted trade show halls will have a surprise around every corner for you. In fact, I’m sure many would rather see Michael Myers himself in their space than to arrive to no electrical laid down in their space yet. And the “Mystery of the Missing Crate” is a book we’re all tired of reading. Freddie Kruger, or a 16′ tower that won’t stand up? Oh the haunts are plentiful.

Trick or Treat Graphics

As has been discussed in numerous posts to this blog over the years, proper artwork for wide-format graphics is difficult. The logos and photos used for every other thing a company produces work just fine, but when blown up to 10′ wide there is no shot. In the fall rush, artwork comes fast and typically has to be flipped even faster, but we know that opening it will be a trick or treat of sorts. A trick can set back a whole project or change an entire design

If you’ve made it this far you’ve almost survived another season. Let me know what has scared you the most this fall.