Being the overly excited Halloween enthusiast that I am, I wasn’t even halfway into September before marking up my calendar with different spooky events close to my home here in Jacksonville, Florida.
I made note of the scary, spooky, and fall festivities around my area that would give me that terror-inducing fix I was after. Because let’s face it – a lot of us love scary.
Every year in Jacksonville they have a variety of different haunted events.
Unfortunately, these events are majorly overshadowed by the nearby city of Orlando; the self-proclaimed Halloween capital of the world.
The massive Halloween Horror Nights event at Universal Studios in Orlando is a staple among horror fans in the south.
With ten haunted houses and several designated scare zones, you’re fully immersed in the Halloween experience.
But even with the awesome elements of HHN, I can’t help but leave the event every year thinking about it negatively overall.
The lines for each haunted house are 2 + hours long, tickets are so expensive, it’s hot as balls outside, and you’re packed into houses so tightly that you can see the people in front of you getting scared (which inherently ruins the scare for you).
I haven’t returned in a few years now.
And you know why?
Because there are good alternatives right here at home in Jacksonville.
Haunt Nights returns this year to scare the hell out of you at Adventure Landing’s Jacksonville Beach location.
And I get the feeling that people hear it’s at a kid’s arcade and instantly think – Nah, not scary.
But I’m here to tell you to think twice. Because it’s scary.
I’m a huge advocate for Haunt Nights as I’ve been going for years now.
I’ve been just as many times as I’ve been to Halloween Horror Nights, and I can leave each time feeling good.
Not good that I just screamed and ran like a baby in front of a bunch of teenagers, but good that the value of entry well exceeded my expectations.
And I’m here to convince everyone in Jacksonville to get spooked here in the 904 instead of journeying down to Orlando.
So here's why you should choose Jacksonville's Haunt Nights over HHN.
1. It's scary.
If you look past your judgment on its location, you’ll find out that the haunted houses at Haunt Nights are scary.
They have the exact same elements of any haunted house you’d find at Halloween Horror Nights, plus some extras.
Along with the basics, you’ll also find some pitch-black areas, “blow up” elements that you must experience to understand, a trippy bridge that will leave you walking sideways, a 3-D house, and some really solid scares around every corner.
2. The lines to get in are short.
The worst part of Halloween Horror Nights is that you spend anywhere from one to three hours waiting in line just for a minute and a half of scares.
But not at Haunt Nights! We went on a Friday night and waited between five and fifteen minutes for each house.
You can even purchase “fast passes” for $10 more and basically walk right in. It’s so much more enjoyable.
3. You go into each haunted house alone.
That’s right! You enter each haunted house with only your group, which will frighten the absolute crap out of you.
Unlike HHN where you see everyone in front of you getting scared by performers, at Jacksonville’s Haunt Nights you have no idea what lies ahead because you are the only ones inside.
The performers are hiding just to scare you and you alone. You move slower through the houses because you don’t know what lies ahead, which enhances the entire experience.
4. In the end, you do the same number of haunted houses as you would in Orlando.
Though Halloween Horror Night has ten different houses, the last few years I went I was only able to complete three or four because the wait times were so long.
You just couldn’t possibly fit any more houses into your night.
You can do all four houses at Jacksonville’s Haunt Nights in about an hour or so; compared to maybe accomplishing four in a six-hour time span at HHN.
5. You're not dying in the heat.
God love Orlando, but it’s incredibly hot and humid in October.
Standing in lines all night with thousands of other people is the perfect recipe for sweating like a pig for six hours straight. It’s a bit miserable.
Standing outside for thirty minutes in Jacksonville wasn’t bad at all, as it is finally starting to cool down a bit.
Plus, one of the houses is indoors so you’ve got plenty of air-conditioning.
6. It's way less expensive.
A solid night of four haunted houses at Haunt Nights is $26.99 while tickets to Orlando can cost up to $90 for one night.
Not to mention money for gas, parking, hotel, food/drink inside, or other added expenses.
Haunt Nights is extremely affordable in comparison.
You can even find a great coupon in Jacksonville’s Mint Magazine for BOGO entry into all of the houses.
7. You don't have to drive all the way to Orlando.
Don’t worry about picking a driver, battling traffic, any car issues, or added expenses.
Save yourself the time and trouble of trekking down to O-Town and just get scared at home here in Jacksonville. It’s much more convenient!
So if you’re a Jacksonville thrill seeker like myself and want to get in the Halloween spirit, I highly recommend getting yourself over to Haunt Nights.
It’s a solid night of scares that’s worth the price.
You can even use the money you save forgoing HHN on more haunted houses all around Jacksonville.
And if you need someone to go with, this horror lover right here is more than happy to hold your hand round every corner.