it’s the most wonderful time of the year, halloween horror nights season! the event opened officially on friday and i also had to opportunity to go to team member preview last wednesday, so i’ve been able to go through all of the houses and try a bunch of the foods! beware, there are spoilers ahead! i’ll take you through the houses and zones and share my highs and lows!!

the theme for this year’s event is halloween itself as it’s the 31st year! get it? halloween is on the 31st of october?? eh??? 🎃 i really love it because the streets are full of classic halloween costumes! ghosts, witches, pumpkin-head monsters, you name it. as you walk into the event you’re even greeted by the pumpkin lord, a fan favorite character from last year’s “wicked growth” house!

if you continue under the halloween horror nights sign you’ll enter a scare zone, but if you turn left, the first house you encounter is hellblock horror. it’s a monster prison, and they’re on the loose! we waited 25 minutes for this one, and i don’t think i would wait much more for it. catch you next time, criminals!

past the pumpkin lord’s scare zone is the “spirits of the coven” house, which was the one i was most hyped to see! unfortunately, there was a lot of empty space when we went through, so i think we caught it at a bad time. i love the concept, flapper witches! and every actor in this house was giving it their all and looking beautiful. but there wasn’t enough of them!! because of the lack of scare actors and empty space this house was a miss for me, but i’m still a fan of the witches.

located under the jimmy fallon ride is the entrance to “halloween,” based on the original 1970s film. you walk through iconic scenes, and michael myers lurks around every corner! this is definitely one you want to watch the movie beforehand to “get” everything but even without context i think it’s a total banger!! the music and energy in the house is just top notch.

further down in new york are two original concept houses, “fiesta de chupacabra” and “dead man’s pier: winter’s wake.” these are probably two of my favorite houses this year!

fiesta de chupacabra takes you through a latin american village where they’re celebrating the chupacabras, which are PUPPETS!!!! y’all know i work at a puppet show full time so i am a huge fan of puppets!!! i just wanna pet those good boys!!

dead man’s pier is definitely my favorite house for set design alone. it takes you through a rickety sea village full of beautiful touches of water, barnacles, and a big ol’ lighthouse that immediately made me think of my favorite tv show, our flag means death (cut to me tearing up in the middle of a haunted house). this one is a cannot miss this year and i’m so excited to run it over and over!

the scare zone you walk into in new york is sweet revenge, which is themed to a classic halloween festival stocked full of candy! but the candy is poisoned, and the kids are now killers, so it’s mayhem! there are show moments in this zone, as well as a bunch of huge mardi gras-style floats, so there is tons to see!

this is a great zone to hang out in, meet up with friends, and find some spooky snacks. this is where i found lil boo’s spicy pumpkin bun and the bog slime! the same kiosk has pepperoni pizza skulls and an african lentil and potato sambusa coffin, both of which were tried by my friends with excellent reviews!

spicy pumpkin bun
bog slime
pepperoni skull
potato & lentil coffin

in front of the transformers bar is a twisted tater stand, and i got to have my first of the season. i got what i thought was seasoned salt but was actually salt and vinegar. delicious either way!!!

in front of fast and furious is the entrance to the blumhouse maze, which is themed to two movies, “the black phone” and “freaky.” the house is actually two mini-houses, and i think i enjoyed the black phone more! i liked both movies, but the black phone was way scarier to me, and so the scares got me more. overall though, the break between houses really tampers down the excitement, and i don’t need to go in it again asap.

the san francisco scare zone is called “conjure the dark,” and it’s full of sorceresses and the demons they’ve summoned. this scare zone is super sexy and has so many set pieces crammed into such a small space that you’re really immersed in the show moments and the scares! i almost forgot i could visit the vin diesel in the gift shop next door!

around the corner is “halloween nightmare fuel: wildfire,” located in the old fear factor stadium. it’s a super sexy dance show with pyro and fire, and lots of music to jam out to! if you liked last year’s show, this year’s basically took the best parts of last year’s and put a cherry on top. kilt guy, call me!!

nightmare fuel stage

next to nightmare fuel we have the “bugs: eaten alive” house. before the event, i was warned that if you don’t like bugs, you would have a lot of difficulty going through this one. but as a certified Bug Hater, it was really not that bad!!! there are roaches and spiders and nests, but there are also giant, people-sized bugs that i just want to give a big hug. it’s set in the 1950s, so i love the sets and the costumes, and the end of this house is really so beautiful, i almost forgot what i was supposed to be looking at. it glows!!!

past men in black in the original house “descendants of destruction.” this house is an underground subway full of mutant people and monsters! i went in having no expectations for this one and ended up really enjoying it! the monsters were really cool and the strobes disoriented me enough that i got scared quite a bit.

down through simpsons is all chainsaws, but on the simpsons bridge is the giant pumpkin food stand, which is home to the maggot-covered cheese dog 😈 a corn dog surrounded by cheese, rolled in puffed rice and covered in a gochujang sauce, this was the food item i was most excited to try. but we went to the booth after nightmare fuel, and the traffic through the bridge was shoulder to shoulder, and the line wrapped and weaved around the walkway. when we finally got our dogs, they weren’t really hot anymore so we didn’t get that melty cheese experience i was looking for! it was still a tasty bite, but i don’t think i would get it again.

maggot dogs

kid zone is full of food tents. this is one of the places you can find twisted taters and pizza fries, two classic horror nights foods! i got beer, of course. back by et are the entrances to two houses right next to each other, “the weeknd: after hours nightmare” and “universal monsters: legends collide.” i’m not overly familiar with the weeknd other than his major hits, but the whole house was fun and scary and bloody!! a total blast.

the universal monsters house this year is called “legends collide,” and features a battle between the mummy, dracula, and the wolf man. the facade as you enter the house is humongous and gorgeous, and the ending changes every day so there is a different winner! when we went through, the mummy was holding the wolf man’s head at the end, and we were whooping and cheering for him at top volume. the one thing i didn’t get enough of on my first run was dracula, so i’m going to keep an eye out for him specifically on my next visit.

the central park zone this year is “scarecrow: cursed soil.” if you went through the “scarecrow: the reaping” house a few years ago (or this year, if you’re in hollywood!!!), these friends will be familiar!! spooky scarecrows and one guy that is just a LARGE corn??? sign me up!!

as you pass mel’s die-in, beware of the chainsaw horde!! they’re all in these very cute orange and black plaid outfits, and i’m wondering if they’ll sew me one if i ask real nice.

and the last big scare zone is in hollywood, called “graveyard: deadly unrest.” the whole street is a cemetery, filled with ghosts. the way they did the costuming in this zone is so beautiful, just such gorgeous stark white everywhere. also home of my favorite scareactor i’ve seen so far, skeleton head.

skeleton head

overall, i am fully in love with this year’s event. #hhn31 is a love letter to halloween, and i’m going to take every chance i can to experience it. what do you think?? are you ready to brave the fog??