In the children's lullaby, "The Itsy Bitsy Spider", what happens to the spider when the rain
comes down? It gets washed away with the down pour. Most spiders can be easily gotten rid of,
however, there is one spider in particular that refuses to be "washed away". This 'spider' lurks
in the corner of the haunted attraction industry, without drawing alot of attention to itself,
but yet it manages to survive in a business that is populated with high priced props. What I am
talking about, is "Little Spider Productions". You may not have heard of
the name, but chances
are, you've seen their props in Halloween stores and haunted attractions across the country.
In this "Industry Spotlight", you are going to become more familiar with perhaps one of the
largest "small companies" in the industry today.
Props have become a mainstay in the haunted attraction industry today. You see hundreds of them
at the trade shows, but the prices seem to be enough to make the "Average Joe" scream in horror.
Yes, they're nice to look at, but what types of consumers can actually afford them? This is where
"Little Spider Productions" comes into the picture. For the past 11 years, they have been creating
and offering props and animations geared towards the average consumer. Little Spider is owned and
operated by Marc Brawner and his wife Laurie. To this day, Marc still loves being able to bring his ideas to life.
Perhaps one of the most interesting facts about this company, is how they came up with their name.
While sitting at the computer, trying to come up with names and logos, a little spider dropped
down from the ceiling and landed on the monitor screen, thus the name "Little Spider", or as
Marc would put it, "The name was kind of given to us". In this business, many times,
companies come and companies go, with only a handful being able to make it past the first few years.
One of the reasons Little Spider has been able to stay in this industry as long as they have, is
because rather than producing the pieces themselves, they hire sub-contractors to produce the
pieces for them, resulting in cheaper prices for high quality work.
Because Marc prides himself
on offering quality work at a decent price, all of the pieces are made of foam-filled latex and
are created under his own strict guidelines. With the ever growing demand for their products,
the need for overseas production has become a factor. Marc sculpts the piece, creates the mold,
then it is shipped overseas and created using the same guidelines that he would use if he was
producing the piece himself. As was stated earlier, Little Spider produces high quality pieces
at some of the cheapest prices available. On average, a basic static prop from LS would cost
between $50 - $100, with animations starting at around $295, which is unheard of in this industry.
Their 2002 lineup included over 100 items, in which many were basic static props, but Little
Spider isn't worried about making props for "scare factor". Their props are mainly for either
decoration, or for distraction from an actor hiding. For 2003, Little Spider plans on
with about 90% of their current inventory and offering about 100 more brand new pieces, which
will debut at TransWorld in March. Some of the new products will include "haunted trees", numerous
set design pieces, a vampiress coming out of a gothic style window and, of course, the new
animations which will be reduced in their price to around $295. Ironically enough, TransWorld is
where Little Spider accounts for most all of their sales, with no advertising, just word of mouth.
2001, Little Spider opened their own haunted attraction, right on their
"Scream Park". Housed inside of a former horse boarding ranch, which is
basically an indoor riding
arena, it featured 30,000 sq. ft. with 75% of the attraction indoors
and took about 45 minutes to
make it through the attraction. Since the attraction was put on by
Little Spider, as Marc put it, "I was able to pull off a $100,000
budget for only $10,000". The house is run by volunteers with proceeds
benefitting the Special Olympics
as well as various other charities. Admission to the haunted house was
$12.00. Also featured on their property, since their haunted house
wasn't recommended for small children, they offered a full size
carnival outside for the younger guests. The carnival boasted games of
chance, concessions, an "Alien" miniature golf course, an inflatable
slide out front which resembled the Titanic and the most popular part
of the carnival, the "Trick Or Treat Trail", which was housed under a
tent, where kids would go inside of a 3D maze, with glasses on and
would be paintings of cartoon-ish monsters. The kids would then reach
inside the monster's mouth and receive candy, or in some cases, an
"unexpected suprise". This addition to the carnival provided a safe and
fun alternative to kids who were too scared to go into the haunted
Overall, Little Spider is a company for haunters, by haunters, with the average consumer as their
main focus. If you are interested in checking out even more of their props and animations, be sure
to check out their site, at http://littlespider.net. If you're going to be at TransWorld in March,
be sure to check out their booths, #3230-3234. If you can't make it to TransWorld, but are dying to see
their new lineup, don't worry, right after the show, the new lineup will be posted on their website.
Either way, if you're interested in any of their products, be sure to order early to ensure that
you get your products. Between the months of March and April is when Little Spider takes most of
their orders. After that, it may be difficult to get your order filled. With low prices on quality
products, it's a no brainer
why we picked Little Spider to be in this issue's Industry Spotlight.
You may not have heard of them before reading this, but chances are, you've seen their props in
haunted attractions and Halloween stores across the country. For this fact alone, they truly are
"the largest small company in this industry".