Previously, ExpoDesign offered a rental service catered to event settings. The Indianapolis Zoo had utilized this service in the past for their springtime Zoobilation event. The zoo then discovered that ExpoDesign was capable of much more and began to commission theming and custom décor work in 2014.

The Challenge

The Indianapolis Zoo hosts their annual Zoo Boo event during the month of October to celebrate autumn and Halloween. In years past, the zoo had a minimal budget and relied on donations of cheap Halloween decorations and supplementary labor hours from employees to set up the displays. However, because the event had become so lucrative, the zoo wanted to step up their game with customized vignettes and unique and durable props geared toward children. They had some ideas for a spooky pumpkin patch, an “eyeball garden,” a fantasy cemetery, a larger-than-life logo sign and more. The zoo hoped to begin with a few of these vignettes and continue adding displays over the years. ExpoDesign was hired to collaborate on this project—to design, fabricate and install these new vignettes, ramping up the spooky atmosphere for the Zoo Boo event.

The Solution

ExpoDesign proposed to start with a small handful of vignettes in 2014. We built 30-foot webs for spiders ranging from 3-feet-tall to 8-feet-tall. We also created an exterior-grade hardcoated ZooBoo entrance logo, a scary pumpkin patch, an eyeball garden, a graveyard filled with fantastic characters, pumpkin totem poles and a scarecrow—all complete with working fog machines. In 2015, we added to the existing vignettes: we built an Emerald City for Oz, a ghost pirate ship for the skeleton crew, a princess castle and life-size superhero shadows. In 2017, the zoo decided to expand and add “Pumpkintown” to their new pavilion area. Of course, ExpoDesign then needed to create the Mayor of Pumpkintown; a smoking cauldron; a fog-emitting, black-lit DJ table and a 12-foot-tall witch’s hat to complete the display.

The Indianapolis Zoo continues to be pleased with ExpoDesign’s ongoing work. We add new vignettes and décor every year, and the Zoo Boo event has grown into a truly unique Halloween celebration.

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