HAA Scholarship Program

Scholarship Rules / Selection Criteria

The Haunted Attraction Association (HAA), the only official association of the haunt industry, is proud to offer three annual scholarships; The James K. Smith memorial scholarship, the Joe Thaler scholarship, and the Bloody Mary Makeup Scholarship.

These scholarships are available to any actor, makeup artist, or other cast or crew member of any HAA member above the Associate member level. The recipient must be accepted and/or enrolled in accredited college or university and working toward a 2 or 4 year bachelor, associate, or other degrees. The HAA will be awarding the scholarships annually and winners can only be awarded once.

James K. Smith Memorial Scholarship

The James K. Smith memorial scholarship honors Jim Smith. Jim began with Niles Haunted House in 1988 and later served on the board of directors of Niles Haunted House and was a founding member of the International Association of Haunted Attractions, the predecessor of HAA and served on the board of that organization for over 20 years.

During his 20 plus years on the IAHA Board of Directors, he was a driving force behind the industry’s first safety program, Certified Haunted Attraction Operator Safety Program (C.H.A.O.S.), and the National Public Relations Campaign that benefited Haunted Houses around the country.

Sponsored by Froggy’s Fog

Joe Thaler Scholarship

The Joe Thaler scholarship honors Joe Thaler who has produced trade shows for over 45 years. Throughout his career, Joe has been responsible for over 450 shows in 20 different industries and on 3 separate continents.

Thirty-five years ago, Joe founded the “Halloween, Costume, and Party Show”, from which the current “Halloween and Attractions” show emerged.

Sponsored by FearWorm Hauntvertising

Bloody Mary Makeup Scholarship

The Bloody Mary Makeup Scholarship (Sponsored by Bobbie Weiner Enterprises) Honors Bobbie Weiner who is an internationally known makeup artist and master of transformation. Bobbie is the owner of Bobbie Weiner Enterprises LLC, a product development company she started 22 years ago in a garage in San Diego, CA. after finishing the Special Effects makeup for the dead, frozen, floating actors in James Cameron’s hit film, “Titanic”. Her company now supplies the TV and Film Industry, Halloween and Haunted Houses, Sports Teams, and the #1 supplier of Camo Face Paint to all branches of the U.S. Military.

She has developed “The Tales of Bloody Mary” comic book series and has licensed her brand to select Haunted Houses including Universal Studios “Halloween Horror Nights” and Six Flags. Bobbie gives back to society by giving makeup demos and keynote speaking engagements. She has been featured in many magazines, TV shows and Media venues through recognition of her success with many awards.

The Bloody Mary Makeup HAA Scholarship is another way of giving back to the Haunted Attraction Industry and the HAA is proud to be a partner with her by coordinating the program.

The Bloody Mary Makeup Scholarship is offered to an aspiring makeup artist.

Sponsored by Bloody Mary Makeup

The scholarships will award $1000 each to the successful candidates. Applications may be submitted via an electronic form by clicking the button below.

Applications must be received by 11:59pm est, January 1, 2023 and accompanied by a personalized letter of recommendation from the owner or director of a HAA member above the Associate member level. Applicants are also required to submit at least a 300 word essay describing how their involvement with the haunted attraction industry has enhanced their life.

The Scholarship Selection Committee will announce the winners during the OSCARES Awards banquet at TransWorld’s Halloween & Attractions Show (Feb 2023), and the funds will be awarded for the Fall 2023 semester.

Past Scholarship Recipients

2022 Scholarship Recipients:

◘  James K Smith Scholarship:
Russell Numberg of The Fourth Scythes Haunted Attraction (Cumming, GA)

◘  Joe Thaler Scholarship:
Aftyn Bugos of The ExFEARience (Niles, OH)

◘  Blood Mary Makeup Scholarship:
Summer Tapp of The Requiem Haunted House (Caldwell, ID)


2021 Scholarship Recipients:

◘  James K Smith Scholarship:
Emily Molitor of Haunted Hotel-13th Floor (Huntington, IN)

◘  Joe Thaler Scholarship:
Cody Newman of Hysterium Haunted Asylum (Fort Wayne, IN)

◘  Bloody Mary Makeup Scholarship:
Courtlyn Hall (Orlando, FL)

2019 Scholarship Recipients:

◘  James K Smith Scholarship:
Ben Myers of Hartford, MI (Niles Haunted House)

◘  Joe Thaler Scholarship:
Jackie Palombo – of Shelton, CT (Legends of Fear)


2018 Scholarship Recipients:

◘  James K Smith Scholarship:
Bailey Hutzler of Baton Rouge, LA (Rise Haunted House)

◘  Joe Thaler Scholarship:
Ryan Konopelski of Reading, PA (Shocktoberfest)