Halloween brings out all the ghouls, goblins, horrors, and hauntings. None do it quite as well as Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) at Universal Studios Orlando. Considered one of the top Halloween events in the world, this event transforms the park into a seriously scary place with haunted houses, scare zones, and shows. This year being the event’s 25th anniversary, they did it up big which meant a scary good time for everyone attending.
Because we have premier passes to Universal Studios Orlando, one of the great perks is one admission into HHN on select days. We decided to go on a Sunday so that we could arrive to the park early and not have to wait in the long entrance lines when the event opens.
This year’s main attractions: (the one’s in bold we went through and will put our review after the description)
Jack Presents 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem: “Relive the most terrifying moments of the past 25 years as Jack releases our catalogue of creatures in one maze. You’ll be attacked by Universal classic monsters, meat-grinding maniacs, and the fiends of Horror Nights past.”
- Our review – This house was a lot of fun to walk through. It had scenes from past HHN. We got to see all the scary characters like Jack the Clown (who popped out of nowhere several times throughout the house), Goldilocks being eaten by one of the Three Bears, The Caretaker, and more.
An American Werewolf In London: “Step right into John Landis’ landmark 1981 horror classic. From the attack on the English moors to the bone-crunching transformation, it’s one of the most popular houses in Halloween Horror Nights history.”
- Our review – We enjoyed this house. The sets were really neat and the use of animatronics made for an amazing experience.
Freddy vs. Jason: “From the cursed Camp Crystal to the nightmarish 1428 Elm Street, awake or asleep, you’ll find yourself caught in the middle of this epic battle – where the winner’s reward is you.”
(We skipped this one because the line was just so long.)
Body Collectors Recollections: “The Body Collectors have returned, descending upon Shadybrook Asylum to collect the human parts they require. Screams echo the hallways as a blizzard rages outside while sharpened blades swirl inside.”
- Our review – This was the last house we did and it was great. It was a little more gore-y and had a great entrance going into the “asylum.” There was also a room with one of the collectors ripping out someone’s spine.
- Our review – The Insidious house takes you through famous scenes from all 3 movies. It did a great job of recreating the scenes and used a lot of the lines straight from the movie. The only thing we did not like is that it was very dark walking through some of the rooms and hallways that we could literally could not see anything. We think we might have missed a few things because it was so dark.
The Purge: “This year’s Purge is more brutal than ever. From the moment you step inside the house, dozens of vicious vigilantes will descend upon you as they exercise their right to purge.”
- Our review – This house blended the first and second movies. It was basically a lot of masked people chasing and shooting at you. The whole concept of the movie is pretty twisted to begin with so this is a fun one to walk through.
The Walking Dead The Living and the Dead: “From the burnt ashes of Terminus, through the flooded community food bank basement, and into the darkened churchyard, hordes of walkers surround you as you relive gut-wrenching moments of the most recent season.”
(We skipped this one because we did The Walking Dead house last year and also haven’t being keeping up with the new seasons.)
Asylum in Wonderland 3D: “Follow the white rabbit through the looking glass into a murderous, 3D Wonderland. Is this world all in Alice’s mind or are the images we see real enough to kill us?”
Our review – This was Ashley’s favorite house. It did not have as many jump-out scary moments, but the 3D effects used were awesome! It was so trippy walking through and trying to figure out what was going on. And the beginning when you walk through the spinning tunnel…crazy! Don’t worry though, we still got scared a few times!
Scary Tales – Screampunk: Some well-known fairy tale characters like Little Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf, the Tin Man, and more are given a demented makeover.
Psychoscareapy – Unleashed: The Shadybrook Halloween Block Party has been crashed by a group of criminally insane inmates who have escaped. This was, in our opinion, the best scare zone. It was huge and so many crazy things were going on. There were so many scare actors dressed up as mental patients running around. Stuff was set on fire, one of the inmates was forcing a (fake) guy to bob for apples.
All Nite Die-In – Double Feature: This scare zone was set at an old drive-in theater that has been closed for a long time after some murders took place. It was a pretty small zone but all of the famous monsters were there walking around to scare and take pictures. We saw Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein, Nosferatu, the Invisible Man, Norman Bates (dressed up as his mother of course), Dracula, and more.
Evil’s Roots: Central Park is transformed into a scary place with evil fairies, scarecrows, and more lurk around. This area was fun to walk through. They had fog machines going to make it even extra creepy. There were also scary people on stilts and dressed up like bushes standing behind props waiting to scare.
Icons – HHN: All of the Icons from past HHN are brought to life in this scare zone. This was a great place for photos as we got to see The Caretaker, The Storyteller, The Director, The Usher, and more.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure: We did not have enough time to catch this show, but have heard great things about it. Supposedly this is the last year they will have it though.
The Carnage Returns: Jack is back! One word to describe this show? Chaos. There were people climbing up the side of the stage, aerial acrobatics, dancing, singing, and of course people being “murdered” on stage. This show is definitely not kid-friendly but was worth watching! It did not take up too much time and upped the gore factor.
There were also rides open that did not have much of a wait time. Because we have annual passes we were not too concerned with getting on the rides. We did go on Revenge of the Mummy because that is just an awesome roller coaster. The other rides that were open: Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Transformers, Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, Men in Black Alien Attack, and The Simpsons Ride.
We really had a fun time at HHN. This was our second year going. Ashley does not like haunted houses at all, but it is fun to walk through, get scared out of your mind, and then laugh about it after. Throughout the park outside of the non-designated scare zones there were scare actors with chainsaws running around chasing people. Some were dressed up as clowns, others as escaped inmates, and others were dressed up like regular people (!!!). A clown with a chainsaw might seem kind of cliché, but it never failed to scare everyone walking by.
- If you can swing it, buy the Express Pass. If you go to the earlier dates the Express Pass is a little more reasonable. Some of the lines were getting up into the 100-120 minute range. Last year we waited almost 3 hours for The Walking Dead House. As we were leaving the park around 1:15AM Freddy Vs. Jason still had a 70 minute wait. We did not get it this year but will probably next year.
- If you don’t want to pay for the Express Pass, go early before the park shuts down and wait in one of the holding areas. We went to the park around 4PM, ate, and hung out in Diagon Alley which is where they were keeping people while they close the park from 5-6PM. When it opened we were able to head right over to the Insidious House and did not have to wait. We missed the opening show at the front of the park, but it was well worth it.
- Wear comfortable shoes! You will be walking way more than you think (or running if a clown with a chainsaw comes after you), and standing a lot in the long lines. This is not the time to be fashionable.
- Bring a small bag (or don’t bring one at all). It’s just a pain to carry around a big purse or backpack at an event like this. Also they don’t allow you to bring them on the rides.
- Don’t cut the lines. Just don’t do it. Nobody wants to wait in line, but everyone else does so don’t ruin it by trying to cut.
- Don’t taunt the scare actors. Don’t scream at them, don’t try to scare them back, don’t grab them, and definitely don’t punch or hit them. They are literally being paid to scare you so don’t get upset because they are doing a great job of it.
While this year’s HHN is almost over (September 18 – November 1), we highly recommend you look into it for next year if you are interested in a serious Halloween fright!
Oh, and Happy Halloween!
Have you been to Halloween Horror Nights or another Halloween event? Let us know in the comments!