Howl’o’ween remains completely free and included in your ticket price with lots of cool and exciting activities included in your ticket, such as Trick or Treat Live, Banyan The Circle of 8 fire show and Ville Villagers - a spooky scare zone located in Wild Woods. Of course, this is only a small selection of what you can do for free, the only paid up-charge at Howl’o’ween is Creepy Caves and after-dark experiences. Howl’o’ween remains the best value-for-money event at a Merlin theme park in the UK. Did we mention that during the Trick or Treat Live show residents from Candy Land give away full-size bars of chocolate?
The Witches of Adventure Point for another year of conjuring up spells and tyring to ruin Halloween at Chessington. However this year a new brave group of Witches are on hand to save the day and reverse the spell and make the witches and their group of evil minions fall into a deep spell and when they wake become afraid at the sight of children and skeletons.
This year's opening and closing shows were really well put together and it makes for a great start to the event! The costumes, songs and dances were so sharp and fun to watch. Management at Chessington really knows how to put on a show. The only issue we had when watching the opening show was there were a lot of people standing where the show was going to take place and it wasn't until the show had started that actors started to move in and move guests so they could sing and dance.
Strengthening their spells The Good Witches of Adventure Point perform a show during the day singing and crafting up new and exciting potions to protect Chessington World of Adventures.
Back for another year of fire and storytelling this year the story of Banyan is explained even deeper. Last year was the first time the park had ever done a fire and dance show and this year this show is our favourite part of Howl’o’ween! Last year's Banyan fire show was really good but this year the park has absolutely nailed this show, there are so many special effects used in the show we've watched it over and over again. Best viewed at dusk or during the night the show runs almost every hour from midday, featuring lots of fire, smoke, sparklers and coloured smoke this is a show not to be missed. We of course have to talk about the sharp well-choreographed dancing, we've never seen a flashmob or show like this at Chessington! Banyan is in danger but the circle of 8 has him protected.
Trick or Treat Live is a brand new show for 2022, hosted on a temporary stage this show is hosted by Emily and Evie as they go on an adventure to help find sweets and chocolates as a grumpy old witch has hidden them all behind a spooky door in hopes of ruining Howl’o’ween for everyone!
Never fear Emily and Evie are strong and brave children who will stop at nothing! Adventuring into Carnivals, into "The Big Top", into a spooky graveyard and into a shop full of creepy dolls, these aren't your average kids. This year's Howl’o’ween show is fantastic and one of our favourite Howl’o’ween special shows we've ever seen.
After adventure through different coloured doors, the girls then turn to the audience and ask for their help to pick a coloured door, picking between the green or blue door it's up to one special guest to help save Howl’o’ween and any candy that might be hiding behind the doors.
Thankfully the right door is then picked and the door to Candyland is opened! Full of lots of sweet treats and cheerful characters the finale of the show begins. In the middle of a song big bags of candy suddenly appear with some of the dancers and characters walking into the audience giving out chocolate to everyone within reach. Get ready to catch as chocolate flies above your head!
We absolutely loved this year's Howl’o’ween show, we got worried when the stage had to be removed due to unknown reasons a few weeks ago. But this new temporary stage has worked really well! Featuring special effects, cool lighting, beautiful costumes and sharp dancing and singing this is a show not to be missed. There are no tricks only treats at Trick or Treat Live!
Shipwrecked Coast has received a small Halloween overlay with pumpkins added around the area and some of the actors roaming around the harbour and area might not be as helpful as they were before! Complete the treasure chest like normal and help find the Codnapper to receive a brand new sticker exclusive for Howl’o’ween 2022!
It was great to see this area come alive during the evenings, we managed to see actors hiding in bushes around the area. What they did in Shipwrecked Coast was almost like a mini version of the other areas around the park a few years ago for Howl’o’ween.
Vile Villagers makes a fang-tassic return for Howl’o’ween 2022! This scare zone is one of two attractions to feature live actors and this year the park has decided to run 3 versions of this fantastic scare zone. Two versions of it run during the day aimed at guests aged 8+ between the hours of 12 pm and 3 pm and from 3 pm until the park closes the advised age limit for the attraction increases to 10+. The other version is called after dark which we talk about later in this review.
This scare zone is highly themed and is a great scare zone full of vampires and villagers trying to protect themselves. Watch out for Vampires, Graveyards and don’t eat anything! You never know what's been used to create the meat pies sold within the village... We absolutely loved Vile Villagers, this scare zone could be an up-charge attraction and we would do it every time! We do wonder how this scare zone will evolve next year with the World Of Jumanji opening in 2023?
Returning for its final year, Creepy Caves Elimination is about to get blow up! The Angel Fire Plant has mutated and is engulfing Creepy Caves and there's only one way to get rid of it... explosives!
The storyline for the attraction remains similar to previous years with the layout returned to the original entrance and exit of when the maze first opened. Entering via the spiral staircase you are plunged into darkness ready for decontamination. DR Burk is no more, his son/daughter now brief you about the angel fire plant saying that people knew it could turn you into "flesh-eating monsters". Dr Burk was betrayed, he and his colleagues were left as lab rats! The plant thrives off of fire, there's only one way to destroy it, watch your back. It's time to finish it off one final time.
Creepy Caves Elimination has been a really clever scare maze and concept over the past few years. There's been a few versions of the story as time has progressed but we are ready to say goodbye and see what the park can dream up next! For a scare zone at Chessington, Creepy Caves has always had amazing jump scares and interactions. Plunged into darkness for most of the attraction and it's unlike anything we've ever seen at a family theme park before! Creepy Caves... you will be missed! If you are not ready to say goodbye yet, we would advise you to book on to one of the VIP After Dark Experiences.
For the bravest of guests, Chessington is offering more intense and immersive experiences of two Howl’o’ween mazes and scare zones. These are not for the faint-hearted and both come with a disclaimer and waiver to sign before entering. In these after-dark experiences, the actors WILL touch you and you might be made to crawl at any part of the attraction.
"During the experience, those you find within the experience will touch you. This can involve grabbing, poking and putting hoods/bags over your head. At no point will they harm you. You are NOT permitted to touch them under any circumstances."
We managed to book on to both after-dark experiences on the first night of Howl’o’ween. We advise not reading into these too much if you plan on experiencing an after-dark experience at Chessington this year. Of course, each experience differs depending on the group size and actors throughout the night. We watched a few groups enter Vile Villagers and the start of the maze was different every time!
As darkness falls over Vile Villagers the maze gets even scarier but nowhere near as scary and fun as after-dark can be! The night started as the last few day guests exited the attraction where the actors took a quick break before having some fun and running the after-dark event.
After signing the disclaimer we were walked to the entrance of the maze where we were told again the rules of not touching the actors but they will touch you. The beginning of the maze was different for every group we watched going in before us, all of the villagers of the maze were almost possessed by the moon or something more sinister.
We entered the maze as a two (the size of our group) and said to each other see you at the exit as this wasn't the first time we'd done something like this. Grabbed by some of the actors we were both taken to different sections of the first little bit of the scare zone, I was forced to smell the "meat pies" and told I was going to be turned into a pie if I didn't do what they said! The other person in our group was put in the stocks and told she was a witch. Along the scare zone, we both got shouted out, grabbed, told to crawl and got told to lay on the side of the maze in a fake muddy gravestone. I (James) even had my shoes removed and then had a sock removed so you could really feel how wet and damp the floor was after a long day of wet weather.
Overall we both really enjoyed the after-dark experience on Vile Villagers, in total we were in the attraction for around 10 minutes which is crazy thinking you are only normally inside it for around 3-4 minutes. This run-through isn't for those scared easily and we would definitely recommend this to anyone that has done a Brave It Alone at Fright Nights in the past!
2022 isn't the first time that Chessington has done a more extreme version of Creepy Caves, a few years ago before covid the park did a more extreme version of the maze. However, it wasn't very well advertised and only ran for the last week of Howl’o’ween from memory. Creepy Caves: Elimination Afterdark is different to the extreme run-through we've had before but it had elements which we found terrifying before. This after-dark experience was amazing and so much fun! A proper send-off and final goodbye to the maze!
Entering the caves as your group size again you're plunged into darkness, where the decontamination then goes wrong. We were both shouted at to get into the briefing room. Split up from each other again we both had an agent standing right next to us. Whispering into our ears and trying to distract us from anything going on around us. The storyline remains mostly the same but the way the actors act is a lot more extreme and not so predictable. The angel fire plant is alive and they REALLY don't want you to touch it!!
As soon as the pre-show is done the chaos begins! You are instantly split up and cornered by actors being shouted at, pulled and sometimes spat at in the face with water. You were warned that you might get touched and get wet, there's no going back! During our time in the caves, we were plunged into darkness put into actor corridors where it's pitch black and you can't see anything, told to crawl and at one point ridden as if you were a horse. And we've not spoken about the madness in the finale scene yet!
Entering the final scene it was pitch black and we didn't know what was about to happen. In our extreme version a few years ago we heard that some people had been firemen lifted/carried out of the final scene, it had never happened to us... until now! As soon as the big red button was pressed utter chaos started and the whole room came alive. Actors seemed to appear out of nowhere and the atmosphere and energy went through the roof. We went from standing and watching to being on the floor in seconds. After the actors were done running around, screaming and shouting for a few seconds, we had someone grabbing an arm and a foot each and we were being carried out of the maze.
Absolutely crazy but so much fun! A big shout out to both Vile Villages and the Creepy Caves Elimination actors. There were moments we went no it can't get more extreme than that than it did! We've missed out some details so you don't 100% know the full story, but our experiences were so much fun and we couldn't recommend it more. Of course, if you wanted to stop or didn't want to do something you could have said no and they would have stopped.
If that doesn't sound like fun to you, we would advise you do the 8+ version from midday!
Spooky Food Street as we're calling it is a small pop-up food cart street where you can roast marshmallows, get a spooky sausage and indulge in sweet treats before watching Trick or Treat Live. Themed with bunting and floating witches' hats you can't miss it!
Howl’o’ween is a fantastic event and one that we always look forward to at Chessington. There's so much extra entertainment and stuff going on around the park you could spend a whole day watching the shows and seeing all of the Halloween stuff without going on the rides. Of course, we would always suggest night rides on The Vampire or Dragons Fury. Trick or Treat Live and Banyan The Circle of 8 are two stand-out shows for us, if we could go back to Chessington one last time this year and watch one thing we would 100% watch the Banyan fire show. After visiting Halloween Horror Nights in Flordia this year and then coming back and watching that we were wowed at the quality and how many special effects the banyan show had!
We would highly recommend a visit to Chessington for Howl’o’ween 2022!
Book into an After Dark experience if you dare...