It’s never too early to start preparing for Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights! In fact, the first permits for haunted houses were filed with the city of Orlando just a few days after the start of the new year.
Universal has announced one haunted house for 2023 so far, which will be based on CHUCKY, inspired by the USA/SYFY television series. Event details like dates and ticket information have not yet been released, but it does look like the first steps are being made for preparing for the event within Universal Studios Florida. Plus, rumors and speculation are already in full swing for what this year may bring.
Permits filed last month with the city of Orlando show alterations and prep work related to several locations commonly used for Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses. These first permits of the season are for both of the sprung tents, as well as building 79, also known as the large parade building.
As usual, the permits lists “alteration” as the description for work to be done. There may be more permits related to these house locations as well, but below are the first three that have been posted for this year’s event.
Now, the entrances to some of these houses may have to be rethought this year, as demolition of the KidZone area of the park is going on now. This area is being removed and rethemed to something new, and is expected to be behind work walls during the Halloween Horror Nights season.
The construction zone within the KidZone area may mean a more crowded Men in Black area with all of the entrances for these houses being placed there, or it could mean some very long walks to houses if queues are rerouted elsewhere. Either way, the situation is not ideal, but at least it will only be temporary as the KidZone replacement is expected to be completed before 2024’s event.
Several Notices of Commencement have also been filed with the Orange County Comptroller’s office for work in these locations. The contractor listed on these notices is Bumpass Construction Services, Inc. in Orlando.
Other new documents filed with the Comptroller’s office show Mecca Productions, Inc. as the contractor but do not have a related permit number attached. They have worked on Halloween Horror Nights theming in past years so this could be related to this year’s event as well.
Universal officially announced last November that CHUCKY would be returning to 2023’s Halloween Horror Nights event. This house, which will be based on the USA/SYFY CHUCKY series, will be present at both the Orlando and Hollywood version of the event.
Despite this being the only official announcement for 2023’s event, that hasn’t stopped fans from speculating on what other properties we could possibly see this year. Although, for one of these guesses, we do have a bit more than speculation to go on.
As part of a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) that was done to publicize the release of the film, M3GAN mentioned that she was looking forward to HHN this year. The M3GAN film, produced by Blumhouse, was distributed by Universal Pictures. It was also a fairly successful film, so was already on many speculation lists, even before this official comment from the PR department promoting the film.
It is not uncommon for the Halloween Horror Nights event to feature a Blumhouse-branded haunted house, and has actually been fairly consistant for years now. Last year’s event in Orlando featured a double-feature house with both “The Black Phone” and “Freaky” combined into one house.
Of course, it is worth mentioning that the two properties we have on the shortlist so far for this years event, (one confirmed and one extremely rumored,) are both based on dolls. It may just be coincidence, but perhaps it is one worth thinking about.
After the success of last year’s Stranger Things season four, many have that property once again at the top of their speculation lists. While we do not have any evidence that any Netflix properties will be returning for this year’s event, there are I’m sure many out there who would love to see Vecna recreated in the flesh for a house at this year’s event.
Other guesses for this year include The Last of Us, which was rumored for last year’s event as well, and the return of Evil Dead Rise, which was originally planned for last year’s event, but canceled at the last minute.
Evil Dead Rise’s film release was pushed back for theatrical release, otherwise the house would’ve went on as planned last year. Instead, Hellblock Horror took its spot. With the film now set to come out this spring, it’s possible it returns to HHN for 2023, but perhaps this time, it actually sticks.
One safe bet would be for yet another house based on the Universal Monsters. After seeing one at the event every year for several years now, this seems to have become a tradition. Rumors are for either the Phantom of the Opera or the Hunchback, (or perhaps even a mash-up of both).
Horror Night Nightmares has a great article all about the possibly rumored houses for this year, so far, on their website now. Keep in mind though, that it is still very early in the speculation season, and a lot can change between now and the Fall! We are, after all, just starting to prepare for this year’s event.
Stay tuned for more Halloween Horror Nights details for Universal Orlando as they are released, including official event information, rumors, and construction.
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