Halloween contest organisers withdraw $10,000 prize money after too few people signed up

Submitted by Stomper Anna

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She thought it was something fun she could do with her son.

The contest involves designing a room on the fourth floor of Peace Centre to create a "horror experience" for a Halloween event. A $10,000 prize was offered for the winning team.

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Stomper Anna's team was just herself and her 20-year-old son. "I thought it would be fun because Peace Centre was where I met his dad," she said, adding that the building was to be demolished for redevelopment.

But what was meant to be fun soon turned into a real-life horror experience for her.

"The organisers posted saying winners could win $10,000, but it wasn't true," said the Stomper.

"After we were accepted, they said that since not many people had signed up, each team would get an X amount to be fair because they had to call in the professionals. They also said it was free and easy, and we could decorate it as we liked as the building was going to be destroyed anyway.

"We started buying materials and decorating the room, but I wanted to know the X amount to better budget. But every time we asked, they said that they were still discussing.

"I messaged them to get a black and white answer, which was when the lady in charge said it would be $300 to $500 depending on the group and size of the room.

"Instead of the free and easy decorating, she said we had to follow the creative director. I feel that what they did was wrong.

"In the end, from a fun thing, it became more like free and cheap labour for them because once I started asking about the money, they got upset and kept asking me when I could commit for the next week.

"It was never meant to be something where we had to clock in and out. I told her I would come, but I couldn't give the exact time until next week.

"She asked me to go.

"This came after two weeks of running here and there to collect items. I spent my nights making the 'dead bodies' and it just sucks. I had already spent $100 plus on the Halloween stuff. They could have just said earlier. They purposely waited till the last minute to kick us out so that we would get nothing and there is no one to complain to."

The Stomper shared photos of the "dead bodies" she made, which were supposed to be a mother and a baby, and the room she decorated.

In response to a Stomp query, a spokesperson for the event organisers said: "The event was first designed for student teams to showcase their talents.

"Unfortunately, this particular case involved a mother-and-child team which did not meet the qualifications outlined for student participation.

"Additionally, we received limited registrations due to challenges such as timelines and school schedules.

"To ensure the event could still thrive as a community-led initiative, we decided to extend participation to community teams, some of whom are seasoned professionals with extensive expertise in the horror event industry.

"To maintain a fair rewards structure and express our gratitude for all teams, we introduced a token system to highlight our commitment to acknowledge the contributions of every participant. We have also been supportive of every team’s creativity and individuality from day one, providing guidance and fostering an environment for ideas and inspiration.

"We fully respected the team’s decision to withdraw from the event. We understand participating in such an event requires a fair bit of dedication, and we have been working closely with the remaining teams to create an enjoyable experience for everyone involved."

In response to the spokesperson's reply, the Stomper said: "We did not withdraw from the event.

"Why would we withdraw when we had only two days to go and I had purchased more than $100 bucks worth of Halloween stuff?"

Meanwhile, the Rest.In.Peace Centre Horror Experience started on Oct 13. Tickets are available for every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Oct 29.