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As of September 1, those who love Halloween suddenly look at the calendar like it's a clock ticking down to October 31. Everything becomes about getting into the spooky spirit of the season. And what better way to do so than Universal Studios' annual takeover of the parks with Halloween Horror Nights?
It all began at Universal Studios Orlando, which celebrates 32-years of scares in 2023. The success of the event inspired expanded Halloween Horror Nights events that now occur at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Singapore.
But after three decades of Halloween madness and mazes, not everyone has had a chance to check out the scares. So here's everything you need to know about the hardcore Halloween event that relishes showcasing everything horror, monsters, movies and terrifying its guests.
What is Halloween Horror Nights?
Halloween Horror Nights is Universal Studios Theme Park's bespoke, annual, nighttime event that is a horror-lover's mecca for scares inspired by some of the most-loved horror film and television franchises ever made. It is a separate ticket from the normal park ticket. HHN is also only operational during the fall, from September leading up through and then ending right after Halloween (exact timing depends on the specific park).
In general, the main theme parks are dressed with eerie set decorations, with special areas that are turned into themed mazes that within, hold a multitude of unexpected terrors and real-time scares. Be warned: HHN is not for the faint of heart! It is not recommended for anyone under the age of 13. The whole purpose is for thrill-seekers to immerse themselves right into the horror movies, television shows and monstrous legends that elicit genuine chills, and then scream it out together with hundreds of like-minded aficionados of fear.
Where is Halloween Horror Nights?
Halloween Horror Nights runs select nights from September 7 through October 31 at Universal Studios Hollywood and September 1 through November 4 at Universal Orlando Resort. For those who plan to visit any of the four participating Halloween Horror Nights events around the globe, be aware that each park offers a variety of Halloween Horror Night ticket options.
For Universal Studios Hollywood visitors, there is single-day General Admission, Universal Express, After 2 P.M. Day/Night, the premium R.I.P. Tour, the new Early Access Ticket — which provides access to select haunted houses prior to the scheduled event opening (starting at 5:30 p.m., subject to change) — and the popular Frequent Fear Pass and Ultimate Fear Pass.
For Universal Studios Orlando visitors, single-day General Admission, Universal Express, the premium R.I.P. Tour, the Early Access Ticket, a Taste of Terror ticket, four separate Multiple Day admission passes, and various bundled Hotel & Ticket packages are available.
How does Halloween Horror Nights work within the normal park?
If you only purchase a General Admission ticket for any of the Universal Studios theme parks, you must exit at closing time on Halloween Horror Nights dates. If you purchase a separate HHN evening ticket or a Day/Night ticket, you can remain in the park from opening to close.
Select rides in the general park will still be operational for HHN visitors with their ticket.
What are the haunted houses included at Halloween Horror Nights in 2023?
At Universal Studios Hollywood, the original haunted house lineup includes: “The Exorcist: Believer," “Universal Monsters: Unmasked," “Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count," “Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America," “The Last of Us," “Stranger Things 4" and “Holidayz in Hell." Hollywood also offers the exclusive “Terror Tram…The Exterminatorz” which incorporates Jordan Peele's Nope Jupiter's Claim set.
At Universal Studios Orlando, the original haunted house lineup includes: “The Exorcist: Believer," “Universal Monsters: Unmasked," “Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count," “The Last of Us," “Stranger Things 4," “Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins,” “Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate,” “YETI: Campground Kills,” “The Darkest Deal,” and “Bleed for the Blood Moon: Blood Offerings.” There is also a live-stage show, “Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream."
What are the Live Entertainment areas?
Exclusively at Universal Studios Hollywood, Blumhouse debuts two separate live entertainment offerings based on their films: “The Purge: Dangerous Waters” & “Blumhouse: Behind the Screams.”
“The Purge: Dangerous Waters” is taking over the Waterworld Stunt Arena and redressing it into an adrenaline-filled action show based on The Purge movies, featuring live stunts, spectacular lighting and laser effects, high fall fire burns and massive explosions, “The Purge: Dangerous Waters” celebrates an evening of anarchy without thought of punishment or fear of retribution.
“Blumhouse: Behind the Screams” is a walkthrough of all things Blumhouse including Five Nights at Freddy’s and The Exorcist: Believer, and hits like M3GAN and The Black Phone. This unique experience breaks the fourth wall and invites guests to explore these films as they step through the silver screen for an up-close look at authentic film props, costume displays and terrifying character encounters.
What are the Scare Zones?
Both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Orlando are hosting Scare Zones which are themed areas where actors will give you the chills, up close and personal. In Orlando, the Scare Zones are "Dr. Oddfellow’s Collection of Horror," "Dark Zodiac," "Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror," "Vamp ’69: Summer of Blood," and "Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged."
While in Hollywood, the Scare Zones are “El Terror de las Momias," a “Toyz” scare zone and “Ghostz” at the entrance featuring a horde of blood-soaked, chainsaw-wielding ghosts.
How scary is Halloween Horror Nights?
If you can watch any horror film and not flinch, congrats! You might be the only kind of visitor impervious to Halloween Horror Nights. But for everyone else, it's legit scary. Inside all of the haunted houses, real people will jump at you, sneak up behind you and shadow you as you try to get from Point A to Point B. There will be scary sounds, special effects, wailing, screaming and general aural discomfort. And if you aren't a fan of blood, just know you will see a lot of (fake) blood everywhere.
Halloween Horror Nights 2023 kicks off at Universal Orlando Resort Friday, Sep. 1 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 4. Universal Studios Hollywood lets in the ghouls Thursday, Sep. 7 through Tuesday, Oct. 31. You can peruse all ticketing packages right here.
Are food and drinks available at Halloween Horror Nights?
Yes! For those who are 21 and older (with valid ID), all of the HHN parks will offer new cocktail creations. At Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando, Peacock’s Halloween Horror Bar will feature themed cocktails from The Purge and Chucky. In Hollywood, Universal Plaza will serve up a celebration in honor of Dia de Los Muertos featuring an array of Latin Folklore-themed cocktails, Lil Cocina Taco Stand and a margarita bar. In Orlando, there will be menu options like Bloody Campground Poutine, El Pastor Torta and Sour Apple Pie Funnel Fries, in addition to returning fan-favorites like Pizza Fries.
If you get hungry in Hollywood, Hollywood & Dine will transform into a Chucky-themed BBQ featuring brisket and Nashville popcorn chicken sandwiches, pulled pork macaroni and cheese, funnel cakes and themed drinks. Stranger Things fans can visit Surfer Boy Pizza for a variety of pizza flavors, Scoops Ahoy for tasty ice cream creations and a new 80’s themed Stellar Bar with mixed cocktails.
In Orlando, the Red Coconut Club will transform to the Dead Coconut Club. Plus, the Taste of Terror will offer guests an exclusive preview of select items that will be featured at Halloween Horror Nights select nights from August 10 through August 26. For more information and to purchase tickets to Taste of Terror, click here.