No, the word Heroes in Betrayal at House on the Hill only ever refers to players that are not the traitor. The game uses 3 different terms to refer to players:
- Explorers: All players of the game, this covers both before the haunt begins and after it has started.
- Heroes: Those players who are not the traitor. This has no meaning until the haunt starts.
- Traitor: The player who is the traitor of a specific haunt. This has no meaning until the haunt starts.
This is seen in multiple parts of the rules (2nd paragraph emphasis mine):
In Betrayal at House on the Hill, each player chooses an explorer to investigate a creepy old house. As you explore the house, you discover new rooms. Each time you enter a new room, you might find something . . . or something might find you. Explorers change over the course of the game (for better or worse), depending on how they deal with the house’s surprises. The house is different each time you build it.
At some random point during the game, one explorer triggers a scenario called a haunt. When the haunt is revealed, one explorer becomes a traitor bent on defeating his or her former companions. The rest of the explorers become heroes struggling to survive. From then on, the game is a fight between the traitor and the heroes—often to the death.
There are exceptions to this, for example where there is no traitor, or where the traitor may change, but the haunt in question is not one of those exceptions. This means that in a game with 3 explorers when Haunt 17 starts, there will be 1 traitor and 2 heroes, and you would need 2 candle tokens.