Paul Lanner founded the organization Haunters Against Hate to help combat homophobia and all other kinds of prejudice within the Halloween haunts. Founded in 2016, it’s now an organization that celebrates the haunts and horror world. We caught up with Paul to find out how things are going?
Q40: How have things changed with Haunters Against Hate since you started?
Paul Lanner: When HAH first started, it was just a small group of about 20 haunts that came together after some very hateful speech about the Orlando Pulse killings by a haunt review team. And that was all it was going to be. But I said let’s take it further and take something so negative and turn it into something good. Now, by creating & selling t-shirts and having art raffles at conventions, we’ve been able to give donations to various LGBTQ organizations across the entire U.S.
Anything exciting this year to tell folks?
I am very excited about the creation of the Haunters Against Hate artist series of tee shirts. I reached out to some local artists to come up with a design for the organization to put on shirts and they jumped on board immediately. So please, by all means, go check them out on the web store and make sure to buy one! They’re all awesome. I’ve already started reaching out to a new batch of artists for wave two!
Another exciting development is there are an additional two Haunters Against Hate nights this year, one at Wicked World Scaregrounds in Lexington/Nicholasville on 10/18 which will have a live Facebook feed, and the other at The Haunted Hotel on 10/21 in Louisville, KY.
What’s surprised you about the growth of the movement?
The support from the haunt community. I had so many haunts message me after I created the website that they wanted to be a part of Haunters Against Hate. I’ve added 44 additional haunts to the group already. And I am always getting requests from various haunts for pins and bumper stickers for their cast and crew. When I attend Transworld Haunt Convention (the largest in the U.S.), I always have haunt owners stopping by to compliment me and say how wonderful it is that something like this exists in the haunt community, which I have discovered working in it for over 5-6 years now, is truly like an extended family. It warms my heart so much when I see people walking around these conventions now wearing their Haunters Against Hate shirts.
What are your hopes for the future of HAH?
I want to be able to have haunts that I can’t easily get to, like on the West and East Coast, have HAH nights to make more and more people aware of us so we can continue to grow, like “Don’t Be a Monster,” another great organization that is about anti-bullying. And I want to go to more horror conventions, like Days of the Dead and HorrorHound.
Days of the Dead in Indianapolis was a big success for HAH, where I was able to raise over $1,200 in t-shirt sales. I was worried because I was unsure about horror fans embracing us (as opposed to haunt owners/cast members) but everyone was fantastic and so great (even Cassandra Petersen and Ross Marquand of “The Walking Dead” commented on the shirts, so of course I had to make them honorary Haunters Against Hate).
I just want to be able to give back to more LGBTQ organizations, especially those focused on youth. So I have been working on all the legal, tax stuff now to get that done, which is more painful than having root canal without novocaine… and about as expensive.
Paul’s Favorite Haunts
Paul picked ten of his favorite haunts that are LGBT friendly. A full list of haunts and other horror organizations can be found at www.hauntersagainsthate.com
Nightmare on Edgewood (Indianapolis, IN) – www.nightmareonedgewood.com
Fear Fair (Seymour, IN) – fearfair.com
The Haunted Hotel (Louisville, KY) – www.hauntedhotelky.com
All Saints Lunatic Asylum (Apple Valley, CA) – www.allsaintsasylum.com
Davis Graveyard (Milwaukie, OR) – davisgraveyard.com
The Devil’s Attic (Louisville, KY) – thedevilsattic.com/darknessfalls
Wicked World Scaregrounds (Lexington, KY) – www.wickedworldscaregrounds.com
Scarevania (Muncie, IN) – www.scarevania.com
Downs Haunted House (Downs, IL) – www.downshauntedhouse.org
Scarowinds Amusement Park (Charlotte, NC) – www.carowinds.com/play/scarowinds