Event Review – Halloween Horror Nights 31 is One of the Best Years Ever for the Event

For almost 15 years I have attended Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal Orlando Resort (I have been lucky enough to experience it at Islands of Adventure) and have to say this year is one of the best. If you don’t know what HHN is, it is the premiere Halloween event in the US with 10 haunted houses, five scare zones, and two shows plus hundreds of scare actors. This is the Mecca for anyone who starts the countdown to Halloween on November 1.

From a house full of bugs to a street full of kids on too much “sugar,” this year has it all. In all my years visiting, this year is one of the most solid. As we found out from Lora Sauls, senior manager of Creative Development and Show Direction for Universal Orlando Entertainment Art and Design, this year is all about the holiday that started it all, Halloween. Instead of having a lot of discounted houses and scare zones as they have in the past the overarching theme is October 31st, the best night of the year. That is done by celebrating everything that comes to mind when you think about all hallows eve including Universal Monsters and spooky stories that make you check in your closet before you go to bed.

I could break down every house and scare zone, but we will be doing that in a few videos on our YouTube Channel, instead I want to give you my two MUST DO for the event.

Dead Man’s Pier: Winter’s Wake

This house could be one of my all-time favorites, even though I kept calling it “Dead Man’s Wharf.” With amazing visuals and a haunting score, I would visit this set even without the scares. In 2016 the Dead Man’s Wharf (see? it was stuck in my head) scare zone gave guests the first taste of the watery horrors that await them in a small fishing town but this house really does an amazing job of transporting guests from the heat of an Orlando night to a spooky pier where you won't find the Gorton’s Fisherman. As I said, the visuals and score are enough to get lost in this massive story but if you want to get the true backstory, I suggest checking out the Discover Universal Podcast that gives the context to what will undoubtedly go down as the best house of the year.

Ghoulish! A Halloween Tale

Now, as anyone that has ever heard my opinion on World of Color at Disney California Adventure knows, I am not a big fan of fountain shows, but “Ghoulish!: A Halloween Tale” is most definitely a MUST DO at HHN this year. This show is pure fun, from the preshow announcements that don’t take themselves seriously to the visuals that really get you in the spooky season feel. Going back to the celebrating Halloween troughline, this lagoon show really captures the camp of the night. With skeletons and jack-o-lanterns flashing over mist screens and the buildings surrounding the lagoon, everyone really gets into the fun. My favorite part has to be the way they really bring it all the way around, going from the campy Halloween music at the start to the more contemporary music from The Weeknd, who also has a house this year!

I will say, being a local to Universal Orlando has spoiled me on Halloween Horror Nights with my Frequent Fear Pass but after experiencing the R.I.P. Tour, where a tour guide walks you through each house and gives you backstories of everything, if you are traveling to visit, I would recommend that option above all else. For dates, prices, and everything you need to know make sure you visit the event’s official website and we will see you in the fog!

Halloween 2022 coverage is presented by shopDisney