What Was the Best Halloween Moment in 2022?

October 30, 2022, 6:27 PM · It's Halloween eve (that's redundant, I know), and while some casual Halloween fans might just now be getting into the mood, spooky season has been going strong for a couple of months now for many, more devoted Halloween fans.

So as we get ready to wrap Halloween 2022, what was the highlight of the season for you? Here are the reviews for the Halloween events we covered in person here at Theme Park Insider in 2022:

My two favorite houses this year were Dead Man's Pier Winter's Wake at Universal Studios Florida's Halloween Horror Nights,

and The Grimoire at Knott's Scary Farm.

Both employed outstanding production design to tell compelling original stories that made me - and countless other Halloween fans - want to circle back around and go through them again and again.

But what were your favorite individual Halloween attractions and events this year? I would love to hear about them in the comments. (And they don't have to be from U.S. theme parks.)

I also want to remind you that Best Halloween Event will return as a category in the upcoming Theme Park Insider Awards, which will be celebrating their 21st anniversary this year. Our annual year-end surveys will determine the finalists is the awards, so please sign up for our weekly email - if you have not already - since the weekly email is where we will be conducting the surveys. I want to make sure that our awards accurately represent the favorites among the Theme Park Insider community, so I hope that all readers will participate.

The surveys will open in mid-November.

But for tonight and tomorrow... Happy Halloween.

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Replies (10)

October 30, 2022 at 7:40 PM

Going to have to agree here with Dead man's pier. It was so atmospheric and just truly awesome to witness. It has to come back some time later. I'll also add Bugs Eaten Alive at USF. I enjoyed it with the 1950's aesthetic and story to it. Shout out to my niece's school festival "hallway of horrors" too.

October 30, 2022 at 10:33 PM

I’m going to wait until tomorrow night. Going to Scary Farm tomorrow and will be taking that 3 hour tour. Should be fun.

October 31, 2022 at 6:50 AM

Ghoulish at Universal Orlando, until Ian took it out.

October 31, 2022 at 9:12 AM

Tulley's Shocktoberfest is the UK's best Halloween park and this year surpassed the previous. 9 houses, the legendary Horrorwood Haunted Ride, Circus of Horrors show, scareactors aplenty and multiple live music stages and performers. The highlight for 2022 was a new house called Doom Town which incorporates several buildings placed as a town. There are tongue in cheek references to the buildings. The cinema is The Odious, the pub is The Cockwell Inn, the Chinese restaurant is Sum Ting Wong, the beauty salon is Snip n Tuck and the newsagents is Myers Newsagents. For anybody visiting England in the future in October and love Halloween please go to Shocktoberfest. It may not be Universal Horror Nights for IPs and budget but is certainly at least equal to pre-Covid Howl-o-Scream, if not better. The VIP passes mean you do everything in three hours maximum with no queues.

October 31, 2022 at 9:35 AM

I'm with Robert and Manny with the choice of Dead Man's Pier. This maze was just so different from the norm in terms of design, and pulled out a lot of tricks that you don't see very often in mazes (slightly elevated wood floors, wind and mist, Pepper's Ghost, black lighting, and open ceilings). Also, the diver characters were the best designed costumes I've seen in quite some time.

I also really liked the Weeknd maze as it was again a big departure from traditional HHN mazes. There were some gross elements that I felt were unnecessary, but I really liked the changing levels of the scare actors within this maze that was really effective. Hats off to the wallpaper designers and actors who pulled off the biggest "wow" moment of HHN for me.

An honorable mention goes to Bugs Eaten Alive for the cool retro styling and well-done makeup effects. As with some other HHN mazes, this one makes more sense if you're able to do it as part of a tour (we did RIP) where the plot of the maze is fully described by your guide. I do wish UC would put more thorough descriptions of the mazes on the map or website, because there are some important aspects that cannot be captured in the 1-2 sentence synopses typically published. The RIP tour guides do such a great job going through the stories and designs (shout out to our excellent RIP guide Zach) that I think Universal could at least give regular guests a written (or maybe even a video) prep for each maze so they have a better understanding of the maze. For instance, Descendants of Destruction is designed in 3-acts as humans slowly devolve into prehistoric cannibals', which is not easily gleaned from the map description or entirely clear when walking through the maze. Even these more generic-looking mazes have detailed stories that aren't readily apparent without some more additional backstory, and I think these mazes would be more popular and appreciated if guests knew more about the stories and settings that make them unique.

Of the local parks (we went to SFA, KD, and BGW this year), I liked the changes KD made to Condemned, and 21 had potential, but ultimately was too short to fully live up to the potential established in its opening scenes. BGW's Death Water Bayou was an improvement over the stale Circo Cinestro, but maintaining the inside/outside/inside/outside motif through multiple small tents creates issues when pulsing guests through the maze, particularly early in the evening when it's still light outside. Inferno was pretty underwhelming and lacked a clear link previous mazes staged in the Pompeii location had to the Italian setting. Early reviews of BGW's HoS noted a lack of scare actors in the mazes, but I actually felt the opposite when we visited last weekend. All but one of the finale scenes were overloaded with actors to the point where characters were literally stepping on each other's dialogue and scares. I can see putting 2 or 3 actors into a finale room, but 4-6 actors is overkill even when you're pulsing guests through the maze. Moving 1 or 2 of those actors to other parts of the maze would have significantly improved the experience - quantity is not always the answer.

October 31, 2022 at 10:07 AM

I was a huge fan of both the La Llorona and Scarecrow mazes at Halloween Horror Nights, while the repeat maze The Depths at Scary Farm remained my favorite for a second year running. All of them had similar qualities: Great set pieces, repeatable scares and environments I wanted to get back in line for. We did all of these mazes multiple times when visiting the respective events, including The Depths without the benefit of a front of line pass.

October 31, 2022 at 4:04 PM

Dead Man's and Scarecrow were the standouts of HHN this year and I got a lot of good scares in them, but I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed BGT's Howl O Scream. This was my first year going and I was expecting it to be crappy (like SWO's event) but two of their houses blew me away.

One house in particular, The Residence, was a Christmas-themed house and the level of detail and creativity was on par with HHN. Plus, riding Gwazi when it's absolutely hauling butt at 12am in the back and then the front really made my night.

October 31, 2022 at 5:57 PM

I can only comment on the top three in the list, and I think it's also worth mentioning the continued expansion of the Howl O Scream brand.

HHN Orlando is all about the sets, and Dead Man's Pier ruled Halloween on that front (was able to do a lights on tour to appreciate further). Orlando is great, but it's bursting at the seams with crowds. I doubt it, but I wish Epic Universe was partly purpose built to host HHN.

HHN Hollywood was excellent this year, especially the Halloween and Scarecrow mazes for me. What it lack in sets compared to Orlando, it makes up for in scare actor intensity. The terror tram expansion was very good. RIP was good and interestingly became a higher tier level of express too (separate queue that was much faster than regular express).

Knott's Scary Farm was the usual, which I love. Grimoire lost me at first, but after repeated runs I grew to really like it. Bloodline would have been better not being a shooter in my opinion, but was still lots of fun. I was lucky enough to get Boysenberry Mousse Cake at the Boofet when I went, that was amazing. The lights on tours were a worthy new addition this year and highly recommended.

October 31, 2022 at 9:23 PM

Dead Man's Pier was a great walkthough experience, but as a haunt, it left a little scares to be desired. For my money, Fiesta de Chupacabras was the winner of HHN.

Blood Beckoning was also a great house at Howl-o-Scream Orlando, even if the ops were a mess.

November 1, 2022 at 8:24 AM

@James - I always take the "scares" in an HHN maze with a grain of salt given the way they are operated with many of the actors queued by automatic timers (some are free to be manually triggered) that don't always match up with your walk through the maze in the conga line. There were 2 scares in particular in Dead Man's Pier that were like this (the Pepper's Ghost and a the actor as you go "outside" and first see the violinist in the distance) - we missed the full effect of both of these scares both times we walked through, but the second time through I knew they were there and looked back to see them trigger scaring guests behind us exceptionally well.

Getting scared in an HHN maze can be as much about luck and timing as it is about the design of the maze, which is why I typically look to the detail, pacing, and atmosphere when evaluating the quality of mazes.

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