Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios

Having survived a night of gleeful terror at Universal Orlando Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights, I can report that #HHN is a blast. Before you die, take just one autumn night to explore these remarkable and heart-stopping haunted houses. Tip toe through scare zones and succumb to screeching entertainment designed to put your nerves on edge.

Step into gaming at "Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate" in one of the scare zones at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. Photo c. Universal Studios
Step into gaming at “Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate” in one of the scare zones at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. Photo c. Universal Studios

Just do it! Work up the courage to book this frightful fest of doom in Orlando, Universal Studios Hollywood or at the Singapore and Osaka theme parks. You may not survive… but we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Looking Ahead to Halloween Horror Nights

The 2023 event takes place over 48 nights (the most ever!) runs Sept. 1 through Nov. 4 at Universal Orlando Resort and Sept. 7 through Oct. 31 at Universal Studios Hollywood.

For my family of fright fans, this is a Halloween event that’s worth repeating annually.

Each year, the Universal creative teams reach out to a fresh crop of master storytellers. Discover original and classic tales, there are always new horrors to survive.

Next Year’s Horror Makes #HHN Worth Returning To!

Join me on my own experience that October 31st oh so long ago…

Unbeknownst to us, zombies, living dead, aliens, horror movie extras are among the thousands of park-goers out for a fright. Call them what you will, these energetic people are expertly made up, costumed and choreographed to come up from behind and breathe down your neck.

“Aaargggh!!!” shrieked my companion, complaining. “They get so close you can even smell what they ate for dinner.”

How Horror-ible is Halloween Horror Nights at Universal?

There are many haunted attractions and spooky weekends you could survive. Halloween Horror Nights is special because it is so well crafted yet touchey-feeley.

Look closely because there’s much more than meets the eye when you arrive at the gate next the spinning Universal globe.

Typically, the “Halloween Marathon of Mayhem” takes over the lagoon where terrifying moments inspired by Halloween classics are projected on giant water screens.

Get splashed by… blood? No, get splashed by more than 100 fountains bathed in special effects, pounding techno music, lasers and massacre-like sounds.

Skillfully Spooky and Admirably Scary Horrors In Orlando

Everyone loves a classic fright from "Chucky" -- in a new haunted house at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. Photo c. Universal Studios
Everyone loves a classic fright from “Chucky” — in a new haunted house at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. Photo c. Universal Studios

Survive, as we did, the machine gun attacks between aliens and law enforcement. Run from a huge variety of almost-dead creatures with bad breath. Our very first haunted house had entrails and organs being consumed by amphibious-looking aliens. We regretted eating so much dinner.

Relax. Just keep going — always maintain your cool on the streets and in haunted houses.

Expect 10 new haunted houses, five sinister scare zones, outrageous live shows and exhilarating attractions this season. This year’s fresh haunted house is based on Season 4 of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” Guests will find themselves on the front line of Vecna’s deadly attacks on the citizens of Hawkins, notes the studio. Travel through the notorious Hawkins Lab, the enigmatic Creel House and Vecna’s chilling mindscape.

“The Exorcist: Believer” is back, as if we needed that. Get stopped in your tracks at “Chucky Ultimate Kill Count.” And the video game “The Last of Us” is sure to be a killer. Our crystal ball says the top scare zone will be the ca. 1950s outdoorsy “Yeti: Campground Kills” attraction.

HHN Brings Horror to Hollywood for 2023

Universal Studios Hollywood showcases another terrifying 2023 line-up. Steel your nerves for a haunted house based on the demonic “Evil Dead Rise.” Frightening original houses are themed to “Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America” and “Holidayz in Hell.” Budding filmmakers will especially appreciate two new scares from the professional filmmakers at Blumhouse. The horror film company has designed them based on “The Purge: Dangerous Waters” and a new one, “Blumhouse: Behind the Screams.” The latter takes victims into the making of these movies to see props, sets, costumes and more, a real eye-opener.

The studio’s notorious Tram — like a moving haunted house! — petrifies guests with “Terror Tram…The Exterminatorz.” There’s lots of themed merch plus some fun, casual food and boozy outlets that are being themed for the 21+ crowd.

“Stranger Things” fans can visit Surfer Boy Pizza, while Hollywood & Dine will transform into a “Chucky”-themed BBQ joint. The Carl Laemmle Patio features Peacock’s Halloween Horror Bar with cocktails from “The Purge”and “Chucky.” Bring autograph books to faint at meet n’ greets with these nasties too. Universal Plaza celebrates Dia de Los Muertos. Over at “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” rides are open to those who want an extra does of late night terror. 

Save On Halloween Horror Nights

Horrible creature from "Stranger Things 4" scares group of fans.
Watch as horrible creatures from “Stranger Things 4” get up close and personal with fans at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. Photo c. Universal Studios

There are ways to save on tickets at both of the American theme parks. Here are some tips.

  1. The base rate is $79.99 but look online for coupons. Groupon and others offer $15 off.
  2. Event rates are lowest in September, and lowest on mid-week evenings.
  3. Prices go up weekend nights and rise again as you approach Halloween night. All the package prices vary upwards according to date and weekday/weekend.
  4. Save by avoiding an Express Pass (cut the line) for an additional $139.99 per night. You only get first in line access once per each attraction. Plus, we think the wait is healthy because you can prolong your life by letting your heartbeat return to normal between haunts.
  5. Get an Ulitmate Frequent Fear Plus Express Pass, giving you every one of the 48 nights of repeat terror. The $399 fee works out to only $8.33 per entry.

It’s an adult affair; Universal Orlando Resort recommends HHN to those over 13. Still, if you have kids of any age in tow, that Express Pass may come in handy, especially after a long day on thrill rides. There’s only so much excitement a body can take, right?

End of the Line Halloween Horror Nights Tips for Halloween-Goers

Character from Dr. Oddfellow's Collection of Horror at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights.
The artistry in makeup, special effects and costumes seen in Dr. Oddfellow’s Collection of Horror at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights beats all the competition. Photo c. Universal Studios

Get tickets including early admission to select haunted houses if you hate waiting. However, we felt that being in line with crowds is part of the fun. Lines averaged 20-30 minutes’ wait at our visit. Not bad, and with several vendors selling Blood Shots, beer, and steaming cocktail confections, the wait was as important a social event as the environment itself.

There are good value hotel packages at Universal Orlando Resort (and several other parks) that provide a special entry gate for #HHN festivities. If this is the vacation you and your family have been waiting for, the four-night stay option saves you 20%. Rates start at $123/night per person on a four-night minimum stay if you book early.

Don’t miss the cleverly decorated rides and coasters that remain open after dark. We certainly got our money’s worth of scare from the amazing scenes. And after we got safely back to our hotel, we laughed about the experience.

Make a note that no costumes or masks are allowed. For more information, visit Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights or Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood.

Buy ahead or be caught dead. These events do sell out quickly.

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