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 one autumn night to explore haunted houses, tip toe through scare zones and succumb to screeching entertainment designed to put your nerves on edge. At least this year the screams will be muted by face coverings.

Clown in terrifying costume from Universal's Halloween Horror Nights event. Photo c. Universal Resorts.
Don’t you find clowns just terrifying? Photo c. Universal Resorts.

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

For my family of fans, wherever you may have been before, it’s an event that’s worth repeating annually.

Each year, the Universal creative teams reach out to a fresh crop of master storytellers, as well as sharing original tales, so there are always new horrors to survive. Because they had to skip a year to celebrate the 30th anniversary, Universal is doing amazing things for 2021.

Climb up to catch “Haunting of Hill House” — a real lure for Netflix fans.

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

If this sounds like your kind of fun, let me hark back to my own experience that October 31st oh so long ago…

Unbeknownst to us, among the thousands of park-goers out for a fright were hundreds of zombies, living dead, aliens, horror movie extras — 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?

Halloween Horror Nights is well crafted yet touchey-feeley.

There’s much more than meets the eye when you arrive at the spinning Universal globe, and I don’t mean because it’s shrouded in a sickly mist.

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, it’s more than 100 fountains bathed in special effects, pounding electro music, lasers and massacre-like sounds.

Skillfully Spooky and Admirably Scary

Guests go through Haunted House at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights event.
Join the victims who slog through the tortuous Haunted Houses at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights event. Photo c. Universal Resorts.

Survive, as we did, the machine gun attacks between aliens and law enforcement, retired Army tanks shooting at a rooftop sniper and a huge variety of almost-dead creatures with bad breath. “Resident Evil” was the theme of the first haunted house we visited and the entrails and organs being consumed by amphibious-looking aliens made us wish we had not eaten so much dinner. Just keep your cool on the streets and in haunted houses.

Expect 10 new Haunted Houses and five Scare Zones with each season. This year’s haunted house themes include classics like “Beetlejuice” and our favorite, celebrating its own 30th anniversary, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” We predict the top scare zone will be “30 Years 30 Fears,” a compendium of past fan favorites.

Make Halloween Horror Nights Your Own

The 2021 event takes place over 30 nights between Sept. 3 and Oct. 31, 2021. Prices vary according to date and weekday/weekend. Single night Rush of Fear tickets begin at $129.99 or $399.99 if you get an Express Pass. Want to spend more? Book an R.I.P. Tour. Summon your strength to join a guided walking tour with more screams and priority entrance to the haunted houses you love. Love them too much? Get an Ultimate Frequent Fear Plus Express Pass, giving you several nights of repeat terror and fast. Really?

We used an Express Pass which enabled us to go to the head of the line at each haunted house, meaning that we had no guilt about leaving them quickly either. Otherwise, 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.

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 comes in handy, especially after a long day on thrill rides. There’s only so much excitement a body can take, right?

Texas Chainsaw Massacre poster for Universal's Halloween Horror Nights event. Photo c. Universal Resorts.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre poster for Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights event. Photo c. Universal Resorts.

Halloween Horror Nights Tips for Halloween-Goers

Rates are lowest in September and rise as you approach Halloween night. Universal Orlando Resort also has good value hotel packages that combine an HHN ticket with park entry. The “Stay Where you Scream” package at Cabana Bay Resort is especially good value, starting at $149/night per person for family of four including 4 nights’ hotel, a 4-day entry to three parks pass, 1 night of HHN and early admission to favorite rides — priceless.

In addition to the street performances, haunted houses and vendors, several popular rides and coasters remain open after dark and some are decorated too. We certainly got our money’s worth of scare and had a lot of laughs after we got safely back to our hotel.

Keep in mind that no costumes or masks are allowed so, other than drinking to steady the nerves, the crowd is pretty tame. For more information, visit Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights or Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood.

If you’re dying for more, download the Terror Trivia app and play till you drop. Buy ahead or be caught dead; these events do sell out quickly.

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