Haunt Season 2011 ends-Looking towards 2012, predictions rumors and more!


I know I’m about a week late with this, but haunt season this year has just been that busy for us. So many great reports and pictures from all over, as well as an unprecedented number of trips to our haunts here locally, made this year one for the history books. Which was your favorite haunt? Did you go all in for Lady Luck? Perhaps you walked on the Dark Side of the Gardens? Maybe you did some others? The fog is fading fast, but before it recedes into the night for another year, let’s look at what we really liked, and talk about what we might see next year.

Halloween Horror Nights 21

Of the major events we attended this year, this was the favorite. All of the houses worked great, looked great and had a great amount of scares. Even the houses that were at the bottom of the list, were still pretty damn good.

The scare zones were super small this year, but packed a punch. When they worked, they really worked. When they didn’t, well….it was kind of flat. It seemed like it was all about flow of traffic, and you had one side of the park that was packed, and another side that was dead. The shows, too, were hit and miss. Bill and Ted was Bill and Ted, and it was pretty damn good. The changing aspect of the event was pretty innovative, and very welcomed. It’s something that hasn’t been beaten into the ground yet, but give it time. Crowd levels were insane, it’s been an ongoing problem for many years now. But how do you limit the crowds? One alternative is to limit the alcohol, that will drive the party crowds away. Another is to enforce an age restriction…no one under 13…at all. Even another is to limit the amount of people in the events…None of which will ever happen. It’s just the price you pay for a successful event.


Halloween Horror Nights is going on year 22 in 2012. Ever since the event went to two parks in 2004, audiences have been clamoring for it to happen again. Even more, audiences want the event back at Islands of Adventure. But let’s me completely honest. It most likely will never happen again. Two big reasons- Seuss Landing and Harry Potter. It’s fairly common knowledge that the widow of Dr. Seuss has a clause that states there can be no scary events in that area. There is most likely a similar clause with J.K. Rowling. It would be counter productive to have two areas of a park that you have to keep closed in order to have a big time event. Keep hoping, it may happen…but it’s not really likely.

What could happen:

  • 2 Icons-Twin Icons for 22. Two sides of the event…a good side and a bad side.
  • Changing houses and scare zones-The event started with scare zones, but 22 could see “two sides of fear” and have the house change throughout the night.
  • 2 events-If you can’t have one scary event have two separate events at each park. Have one “Not so Scary” type event for kids at Islands of Adventure, and have the regular scary event at Studios.
  • Midnight Syndicate-I’m still hoping for this one guys.
Howl O Scream-Tampa
Tons of people liked this event this year. I wasn’t a fan. The new houses were great, the actors did their best, it just felt all too familiar and fell flat for me. It must have been when we went, but we missed all the “roaming hordes” and therefore the streets felt empty. Granted, we could get all the houses done in less than two hours…as well as eat and watch a show. The lines during the week, from what I’ve been told, were non existent, and the only night where lines seemed to be a huge problem were Saturday nights. The shows seem to be stepping up a bit, and I’d like to see them continue that trend. Of the two big shows this year, The Midnight Hour won me over more than Bill and Ted because it took some bolder chances. Fiends should be the show that parodies pop culture…but it’s Fiends. It just kind of wouldn’t be Howl O Scream without pink haired big boobed nurses and horny ass Igor.  Still, I’d like to see Howl O Scream take more chances and get the budget they need. I can’t tell you how many people I talk to say “Well…if HOS had the budget HHN did….”. I’m tired of that statement, it feels like a cop out. So let’s open that budget and let the creative minds have at it.
This is the third year in a row that I’ve heard “Howl O Scream isn’t coming back”. I’m calling BS on it right now. Howl O Scream will come back. You do have to wonder how much of a dent on the event (and the park) Legoland Florida will have on it though. Less than an hour away from Orlando, it may draw families next year with “Brick or Treat”, which could put a dent in it with families opting to stay closer than coming to Tampa.
What could happen
  • Add/Remove houses-I think HOS got a bit of backlash from guests with only 6 houses this year. Sure you can say they had 7, but I don’t really count Alone since you have to pay for it. You will most likely see Nightshade Toys, Deconstruction, Death Row Vengeance be replaced. Vampire Casino, Nevermore, Zombie Mortuary will stay.
  • Weekends Only-While locals do go to Howl O Scream on Thursday nights, I think it’s not enough to justify three nights. You may just simply have Friday and Saturday nights, and perhaps a few Sundays thrown in.
  • Family Friendly-Another thing I’ve been hearing a lot. It could scale back the scares, particularly in the scare zones and make it more friendly for the little people by having Sesame Street Safari of Fun open.
  • Included with admission-It’s a business strategy that has worked for BGW’s HOS, get Howl O Scream free with your paid daily admission. It could mean more merchandise sales, Quick Queues and of course food sales.
  • Alone will return-Last year Alone sold out most every night. This year, not as much. But there is life left in it, and people who haven’t seen the house yet…so it will come back for one more year before it’s changed, or scrapped.
  • Tigers-Tigers will be released at the end of the night, and you have to make it to the parking lot before they get to you.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
This park really stepped it up this year. They increased the scares, the chainsaws and sliders and brought sexy back. They’ve also been introduced to the nurses of Fiends, and Jello Shots….they will never be the same again.
  • Upcharge-The event is so popular, it gets the park at capacity really quick. To keep this from happening, you may see them make the event a separate ticket. This means that you pay a day ticket price, then they close the park, and you pay a night ticket price. It works for HHN, HOS in Tampa, and other parks. So why not here? It will cut the crowds back a bit, and will give them budget for more scares.
  • Less family friendly-It goes with the upcharge. They will make kids pay to get in, so mom and dad will be more likely to leave the park with the little ones. This leaves the park free to amp up the gore, and scare.
  • Upcharge house-Just like Tampa, there will be a house that you get a completely different experience in. It could be an Alone type house like they have in Tampa.
  • More shows-Monster Stomp is a fan favorite. But it may change. Fiends will remain, and you may just see another show coming into play somewhere else in the park. Shows are people eaters, it gets them out of your lines for about an hour and gives the actors time to breathe, and cuts the number of complaints.
That wraps up our coverage of haunt season 2011. Keep in mind that everything listed in the “Predictions/Rumors” sections are just that…predictions and rumors with no basis to go on other than hearsay, speculation, and rumors. Until the park says otherwise, it’s just a fantasy hatched in my head to entertain you.
Check out our pictures from our last visit to HHN:
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