Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios

Having survived a night of gleeful terror at Universal Orlando Resort’s annual Halloween Horror Nights, I can report that #HHN is a blast. Sadly, this frightful fest of doom is not taking place in 2020 in Orlando, Universal Studios Hollywood or at the Singapore and Osaka theme parks. However, Universal is sharing this fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what’s in store for 2021!

Behind the scenes at Halloween Horror Nights 2020 #HHNForever

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.

The entire Universal creative eco-system reaches 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 promising amazing things for 2021.

Halloween Lagoon at Universal
Halloween Marathon of Mayhem takes over the Universal Lagoon in Orlando. (Photo c. Universal Orlando Resort

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.”

Horror-ible.

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 more.

Skillfully Spooky and Admirably Scary

Ghostbusteres sign
“Ghostbusters” comes back to Hollywood for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights (photo c. Universal Studios Hollywood)

On the streets and in haunted houses, visitors will survive, as we did, 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.

Expect 10 new Haunted Houses and five Scare Zones with each season. Most are themed this year to 1980’s classics.

Make Halloween Horror Nights Your Own

We used an Express Pass which was priced from $189-$299 for general park admission after 2pm, plus the fast entry into the horrors; rates depend on dates and access. It enables you to go to the head of the line at each haunted house, meaning that we had no guilt about leaving them quickly either.

Lines averaged 20-30 minutes’ wait at our visit, but 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?

Halloween Horror Nights Tips for Halloween-Goers

Graveyard Games at Universal Orlando
“Graveyard Games” is a new haunted house for 2019. Photo c. Universal Orlando Resort

Next year, there will be a bigger variety of ticket packages available online, including the Frequent Fear Plus Pass, giving you several nights of repeat terror. Really?

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.

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 dead; these events do sell out quickly.

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