What’s New for Halloween Horror Nights in 2022

As sure as the scent of pumpkin spice is in the air, we’re once again approaching the start of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. The after-hours Fright Festival with additional Universal Studios theme park tickets begins Friday and runs select nights through October 31.

On Tuesday, Universal Orlando said the event was sold out for opening night as well as this Sunday.

This will be the 31st HHN, and it will all run through October 31, said Lora Sauls, senior manager of creative development and show direction for Universal Orlando Entertainment, Art and Design, during a park podcast.

“We’re leaning into this celebration of Halloween by leaning into these Halloween tropes and things, like pumpkins, pumpkins, skeletons, witches, black cats, scarecrows…all of these very traditional Halloween tropes “, she said.

“But we’re shooting it in our very HHN way.”

The organizers and creators, as usual, kept many details of the event double-cloaked. But Universal shared the themes of HHN’s 10 Haunted Houses and Five Scary Zones. There’s an air of freshness there, despite the pumpkin spice, and it seems to have seeped through the entire range. Here’s what we know is new.

Not among the lineup of haunted mazes this year are no sequels, like another year of “Stranger Things” or “The Walking Dead.” While you might consider the Universal monsters to be close to basic HHN status, and a house based on the 1978 “Halloween” movie has already been made, six of the 10 houses are Universal originals.

Perhaps the most off the beaten path of HHN is The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare, based on the music of the guy who brought us singles such as “Save Your Tears”, “Blinding Lights”, “I Feel It Coming” , “Starboy” and “I can’t feel my face”.

Universal uses words like macabre, grotesque, surreal, slasher, and “extreme plastic surgery” to describe this maze.

Maybe after wandering around The Weeknd house, people will crave a Weeknd drink dubbed Save Your Tears at the After Hours Nightmare Bar near Central Park. Its ingredients include bourbon, peach brandy, lemon juice, agave nectar, bitters and “peach burst boba,” according to a posted menu.

Food and drink offerings seem more house-bound than usual, and bars and food stalls have received eye-catching visual upgrades.

On Tuesday, Universal teased other upcoming HHN foods, including pepperoni pizza skulls, “killer” stovetop popcorn cream and, less threateningly, a candy-shaped ice cream sandwich. corn from the mind of Major Sweets, a character who is part of the Sweet Revenge fear zone.

The resort, via its website, also nonchalantly stated that Universal CityWalk’s closed Red Coconut Club will be renamed Dead Coconut on event nights.

Two frightening shows are on the agenda. “Halloween Nightmare Fuel Wildfire” was billed as both a sequel to last year’s show and a brand new production. Look for memorable fireworks and aerial performers. (In 2021, these things happened at the same time.)

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The new lagoon show is titled “Ghoulish! A Halloween Tale” and is set to “eerily remixed music by some of today’s most iconic artists,” Universal says.

For the first time, Horror Nights operations will continue until 2 a.m. on all event nights. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m. nightly.)

On the one hand, it seems to be designed for night owls and other partiers. On the other hand, it should disperse the crowds, and perhaps people with multi-night passes won’t feel the need to head there as soon as it opens. On the other hand (go ahead, it’s HHN) it will be interesting to see what the queues look like for houses, say, after midnight on a Wednesday.

What was old was new became old again. Universal confirms that the clear plastic dividers that separated the spooky actors from the HHN guests in key areas of the house are gone. They had been installed in haunted houses as a precaution against the pandemic with mixed theatrical results. Face coverings have not been needed for months.

Still, it will be scary if someone sneezes behind you in a conga maze line.

For tickets or more information, go to HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Orlando.

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