Halloween Horror Nights is the most anticipated event at Universal Studios, and for good reason. Leading the industry in movie making magic, Universal goes all out for this cinematic event. That’s why when I heard that our friends were planning a 30th birthday to check it out- I knew we had to go. However, I wasn’t sold initially. Full disclosure here, I hate scary movies, and have never been a fan of gore. I wasn’t sure this was the event for me but decided to go for it- especially because the tickets were only about $70pp and they allowed us access to the whole park from 6pm-2am. (**some of the attractions are unavailable after normal park hours). So Bruce and I took off early from work, drove down at lunch time and made it there right as our ticket started (6pm).
This isn’t like me, but honestly I had no idea what to expect from this event. I did a little research and knew that there were haunted houses, but I wasn’t even really sure what that meant. My experience with haunted houses stopped at our neighborhood Halloween parties so I didn’t understand that when they said haunted- they really meant haunted.
The General Layout of Halloween Horror Nights:
They have about 10 haunted houses set up in different themes. The themes are very obvious so you can choose if you are not into a particular house before you get in line. Themes in 2019 included: Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Yeti Terror of the Yukon, Ghostbusters, Us, Stranger Things, Universal Monsters, etc. There are also themed areas. In 2019, there were 5 themed areas which they call “Scare Zones”. These included: Anarch-cade, Zombieland DoubleTap, Vanity Ball, Vikings Undead, and Hellbilly Deluxe (featuring Rob Zombie). Inside the Magic has a really great explanation of all of these areas if you want to get a feel for them. In these areas, they had different characters roaming, some of which had performance acts (like acrobatics or fire juggling in Rob Zombie) and some of them who would interact with you (like the Zombieland characters jumping out of you as you walked through the area). These all added to creepy, jump scare ambiance of the park and really helped set the mood as you wandered in and out of the haunted houses.
When we went in 2019, the theme was Stranger Things and Universal Studios had 10 themed houses in total. That being said, they only had one Stranger Things haunted house and by the time we got around to it, the line was over 2 hours long so we skipped it (thank goodness because we hadn’t finished the season and there were some serious spoilers!). So that’s one thing to keep in mind, some of these houses get some pretty intense lines going.
Overall, this was the best Halloween event I’ve ever been to. Remember when I said I didn’t like scary movies? Yeah, well I’m doing everything in my power to get back to another Halloween Horror Nights because it was THAT good. The haunted houses are impeccably themed and loaded with unpredictable jump scare moments that get your heart racing but don’t give you nightmares for the next 3 months. I can’t wait to get another group together to experience this incredible event.
Halloween Horror Night Know Before You Go:
-the lines for some of the more popular houses can get intense (like over a 2 hour wait). If you do too many with 2 hour waits, you’ll waste all your time in lines. We were able to do 5 of them without any pre-planning, so you’ll still get quite a few in, even with minimal planning. If you need help figuring out how to get the most of your trip- let me help ya out.
-If you are a true horror fan, I would recommend adding on the MaxPass. It’ll allow you to skip the lines at the haunted houses and some of the other Universal rides still running during the event. It will more than double your ticket cost, but we think it’s worth it if you really want to get all the houses in.
-Food and drinks are served at booths throughout the park as well as some counter service restaurants in the park.
-I would not recommend children under 13 attend this event, it is really geared more towards adults/teens. In fact, Universal does not even recommend kids under 13 attend but there is not required age- you know your kids best!
Have you been to Halloween Horror Nights? What do you think about the age recommendation- too high or too low? Let me know in the comments.