Common’s Halloween Horror Nights are celebrating some darkish milestones this yr.
On the occasion’s thirtieth anniversary, “We now have extra masks than we’ve ever had earlier than,” mentioned Charles Grey, the senior present director for Leisure Inventive Improvement at Common Orlando Resort.
Working from a backstage constructing, Common’s sculpting workforce created 95 new masks from scratch — about 35% extra from 2019. (Common additionally recreated one other 46 masks from outdated molds from previous years.)
They turned the clay into one thing terrifying, like a creature with a number of units of eyes and a set of jaws that might make an alligator jealous. The fearsome look is a full-body one, too. Common’s sculptors devised a bodysuit with creepy claws and a torso with much more eyes and enamel.
“The know-how and printing has upped the sport in the previous few years,” Grey mentioned. “We will print issues on bodysuits that we weren’t in a position to do earlier than.”
What’s additionally spectacular is a few scareactors put on COVID-19 security facial coverings beneath their masks.
“We’re in Florida so we’re lined in sweat after we get completed,” Grey mentioned. However, “Security first.”
Like virtually every part at theme parks final yr, COVID-19 ruined Common’s plans. As a substitute of the full-fledged, big-scale Halloween manufacturing that Common was recognized for, the park reduce and ran solely two haunted homes in 2020.
Grey mentioned that instantly gave them time to mirror.
Planning any HHN is a large endeavor. The haunted homes are elaborate sufficient to make you are feeling like you’re in the midst of a scary film. The occasion often takes 15 months to plan, so when one HHN is underway, the workforce is already waiting for the subsequent yr.
In 2020, “It gave us the chance to sort of deep dive and truly assume additional into the longer term,” Grey mentioned.
For this yr’s thirtieth anniversary, HHN options 10 haunted homes, 5 scare zones and two reveals.
For HHN fan Barry Brief, he appreciates Common’s throwback to outdated characters and previous homes returning for the thirtieth.
“Anniversary years have at all times been particular for HHN. I believe this one, they actually pulled out all of the stops. So most of the unique homes actually delve into HHN lore,” mentioned Brief, an editor at thrillgeek.com and co-host of ThrillGeek’s theme park podcast. “HHN is the premier Halloween occasion. Some would say on this planet. Some would say in the USA.”
Common isn’t commenting on the attendance figures however Grey mentioned individuals have been ready exterior the gates on opening night time. Common’s proprietor, Comcast, is scheduled to launch the newest quarterly earnings later this month the place executives will probably focus on the theme parks’ funds and large income turbines.
HHN has been busy, mentioned Brief, who has attended about 10 nights to date this yr.
“Contemplating there’s no worldwide visitors, that’s very spectacular. I believe that reveals the pent-up demand after no (full-scale) occasion final yr. Everybody was so excited for this yr,” Brief mentioned.
Brief has felt secure going throughout the pandemic, he mentioned. He wears a masks contained in the haunted homes which in most locations have plexiglass limitations put in to separate guests from the scareactors. The scare zones are outdoor which additionally makes Brief really feel extra comfy, he mentioned.
Thirty years in, Common is a professional in the case of HHN. That doesn’t imply Common is continually altering up the haunted homes and scare zones to determine the right way to get it good although the countdown to Halloween has already begun.
Are there sufficient strobe lights? Is a scareactor scarier exterior or contained in the haunted home? (For one adjustment, Common caught a personality exterior earlier than the solar went down after which moved him the “Welcome to Scarey” haunted home at night time.)
“We’re at all times simply tweaking right here and there … So the opening night time is completely different than the ultimate night time,” Grey mentioned, joking, “I’m certain the manufacturing groups are like, ‘Cease spending our cash!’”
“These are little issues that we do all through the occasion. To those that come night time after night time, they’ll see these little variations as they undergo.”
HHN runs via Oct. 31.