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Halloween Horror Nights 2017 – Complete Insider’s Guide

Halloween Horror Nights 2017

It’s never too early to start panicking for the nation’s premier Halloween event: Halloween Horror Nights 27.

On these pages you will find all the information and insider secrets you need to survive the terror – as well as our very best expert advice on how to save time and money as you face your worst fears.

Halloween Horror Nights 25
Guests surprised by a scareactor at Halloween Horror Nights 25.

Orlando Informer is proud to provide our fans with the world’s most popular unofficial guide to this year’s Halloween Horror Nights event. Just like the entire OI Universal Center, our information is COMPREHENSIVE, OBSESSIVELY UPDATED, AND COMPLETELY FREE. We hope you will use all the wisdom we’ve gained over the years to make sure your family’s HHN trip is one night you will never want to forget!

Below we present our complete overview of Halloween Horror Nights 2017. Once you’ve read through it, use the navigation links at the top or bottom of the page to learn so, so much more.

Want to skip all the details and just price out a trip to this year’s event? Orlando Informer Travel will find the best deals for you – for free (seriously). Learn more.

Atmosphere at Halloween Horror Nights 26.
Atmosphere at Halloween Horror Nights 26.

Last update
March 3, 2017

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 – overview & explanation

Think you have what it takes to survive the biggest names in horror and venture through original, twisted nightmares?

Now in its 27th terrifying year, Universal Orlando Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights, the nation’s premier annual Halloween event, puts you right into some of the most pulse-pounding moments in horror history. During the day, you can experience the fun and excitement of Universal Orlando’s two amazing theme parks. But on select nights from September 15th through November 4, 2017, the streets of Universal Studios Florida theme park come alive with hordes of horrifying mutants, monsters and maniacs. All throughout the night you’ll be completely immersed in the worlds of the biggest names in horror.

With 26 years of experience to draw from, nobody creates a more nightmarish Halloween event than Universal Orlando, filled with truly original scares and authentic horror movie moments. You can explore terrifying haunted houses, each remarkably themed and detailed by Universal’s designers and special effects wizards. You’ll make your way through multiple scare zones where gory and grotesque creatures lurk around every turn. You’ll roar with laughter at outrageous live shows. And, you can experience many of the park’s most exciting rides and attractions.

Halloween Horror Nights is a nine-time winner of Amusement Today’s “Best Halloween Event” Golden Ticket award. Tony Timpone, Editor of Fangoria Magazine, said, “After visiting scream parks all across the U.S. for the last 20 years, I can easily say that Universal’s is the best in the business… Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate Halloween experience.” The 27th edition of this must-see event promises to bring to life the ultimate in scares past, present, and future.

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 will run a record-breaking 34 nights (3 additional nights when compared to 2016’s record-breaking 31 nights) from September 15 through November 4 on these select dates:

September: 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23 24, 29, 30
October: 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27,28. 29, 30, 31
November: 3, 4


The busiest nights of Halloween Horror Nights 27, often referred to as peak nights, will be October 7, 8, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 28, 26, 27, 28, 29.

As always, you can check out daytime crowd predictions on our FREE 12-month Universal crowd calendar!

Keep in mind that often by the beginning of September, all of Universal’s on-site hotels are fully booked (or very close to it) for the most popular HHN nights. This usually includes every Saturday event night.


The event is usually scheduled to start at 6:30pm for general admission. Closing times usually vary between 1am and 2am.

So how busy will Halloween Horror Nights 2017 be on ______ night?

Since this is the most common question we receive, we want to answer it right away. In general, Saturdays are always busy. The first two weeks, Wednesdays, October 30-31, and November 3-4 are always some of the least crowded nights.

Will Diagon Alley be open during Halloween Horror Nights 2017 event nights?

We currently do not have any official details of whether or not Diagon Alley will be open for Halloween Horror Nights 27. However, as first reported by Orlando Informer on our Facebook and Twitter the past two years, we will be sure to share any developments.

What is the Halloween Horror Nights 2017 theme?

The icon and theme for Halloween Horror Nights 27 has yet to be revealed. We will update this section as more details are revealed. Last year, horror mistress Chance was the icon.

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 haunted houses

Although there are shows, scare zones, and plenty of terrifying activities as part of Halloween Horror Nights, the haunted houses are the primary attractions for the event.

HHN haunted houses are best described as “movie-set quality” recreations of fantastic and fearsome locations. Sometimes referred as mazes, each haunted house is indoors, often set up in the unused queue area of a daytime attraction or one of the Universal soundstages. These haunted houses rely on every effect you can imagine to scare the pants off you, including hideous creatures, blood-curdling sound effects, loud music, tight passages, strobe lights, air bursts, mirror effects, and, of course, very elaborate – and in many cases very gruesome – props and set decoration.

Throughout much of the event’s history, haunted house themes have been original creations. However, in more recent years, Universal has started basing more and more houses on third-party licenses (often referred to by fans as IPs or intellectual properties), such as AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Tomb of the Ancients at Halloween Horror Nights 26.
Tomb of the Ancients at Halloween Horror Nights 26.

American Horror Story

American Horror Story returns to Halloween Horror Nights 27
American Horror Story returns to Halloween Horror Nights 27

The popular FX show, American Horror Story, will be returning to Halloween Horror Nights 27. The haunted house will feature content from season two: “Asylum,” season three: “Coven” and season six: “Roanoke.” This will be the “uber-maze” for 2017.

Some of the highlights from season 2 will include Dr. Arden’s human “Rasper”experiments and an encounter with serial killer, Bloody Face. Guests will encounter New Orleans aesthetics, including Salem witches, the voodoo Queen of New Orleans Marie Laveau, and the sadistic Madame Delphine LaLaurie, in the “Coven” season area of the haunted house. And finally, guests will have an up-close and personal encounter with the Millers story in the “Roanoke” season area of the haunted house, which will feature Piggy, the Polk family and the ghosts of the blood moon.

In general, guests are sent through houses in a steady flow (sort of like a conga line, versus being “pulsed” through in small groups), and, once inside, each house is typically a three to four-minute experience.

Last year’s event included houses based off of Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Exorcist, Halloween II, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, and Krampus. In addition, original houses based off a wild west town, Egyptian tombs, and an insane asylum rounded out the lineup.

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 scare zones

Stopping you mid-breath as you walk between attractions, scare zones are essentially outdoor haunted houses set up in open areas around the Universal Studios Florida (for example, in the street area of New York, in front of Revenge of the Mummy). The decorations and effects are usually not quite as elaborate as the haunted houses, but there are still many effects employed to get screams out of guests – and the “oversized” aspects of some scare zones, allowed by their position outdoors, often make them as thrilling as the average haunted house. This is particularly true for the ghastly part of you that likes to watch other people scream their heads off!

Dead Man's Wharf at Halloween Horror Nights 26
Dead Man’s Wharf at Halloween Horror Nights 26

There hasn’t been any announcements regarding scare zones at HHN 27 yet, however as soon as there are we will update this section.

Here’s a look at the fan-favorite Purge scare zone from 2014:

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 live stage shows

Halloween Horror Nights features unique and outrageous shows each year, including the popular Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure. While it’s yet to be confirmed, Bill & Ted is a Horror Nights mainstay and is expected to return in 2017.

Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan return with an all-new, especially excellent Halloween adventure. Party on as those two most excellent dudes skewer the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture.

This show is similar in style to the (recently closed) Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue show – lampooning pop culture and so on and so forth – except it’s written for more of an adult audience, it’s performed on the larger Fear Factor stage next to MEN IN BLACK, and photography is strictly prohibited. The first show time is typically at 7:30pm with additional shows scheduled about every hour and a half. Exact show times can be found in the in-park event guide map.

Last year, professional dance group Academy of Villains took Horror Nights crowds by storm. It’s yet to be announced if they will return for Halloween Horror Nights 27, or if a new show will take their place.

Academy of Villains at Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights 26
Academy of Villains at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 26

BONUS: Regular daytime attractions

During Halloween Horror Nights there are quite a few of the regular attractions running – and since they take a backseat to the HHN thrills and chills, they are often walk-ons. The ride lineup for 2017 hasn’t been announced yet, but last year it included:

It’s unknown if Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon will be included in this year’s HHN ride lineup.

Please note, if you purchase a HHN Express Pass, it works on the rides in addition to the haunted houses. The only exception is Escape from Gringotts and possibly Jimmy Fallon, which will not have express access.

Halloween Horror Nights park map

Below is the map for Halloween Horror Nights 26, keep in mind this map does not feature the rides that are open during the event. Once the map for this year is released, we will update this section. The map is usually released in early September.

Universal provides free event guide maps at the front of Universal Studios Florida for all guests, so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own. We simply provide this example to help you plan and get a sense of the event’s layout.

Halloween Horror Nights 26 Map
Halloween Horror Nights 26 Map

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 Passholder Nights

In the numerous previous years, Universal has held a tradition of offering Passholder nights the first two Fridays and Saturdays of the event. If this is announced for 2017, we will update this section. Learn more on this page.

RSVP is always required for Annual Passholder Nights. Dates fill up quickly.

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 Merchandise

The merchandise for Halloween Horror Nights 27 has yet to be released, but you can take a look at what was offered in 2016 below.

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What Halloween Horror Nights is not

This event is not Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party set at Universal Orlando. There is no trick-or-treating, and there are no characters dressed up in cutsie outfits.

The single purpose of Halloween Horror Nights is to scare you. As such, Universal strongly advises that children under the age of 13 do not attend. We tell people that HHN is like a horror movie brought to life. If you like horror movies, you will love HHN. If you don’t like horror movies, you’ll probably hate HHN. It’s that simple.

Just for clarification, the “children under the age of 13″ statement is a guideline, not a policy, so you can bring your kids to HHN and Universal will not ask for proof of age. However, be aware that if anyone in your party does not like the event and needs to leave early, Universal has the right not to refund used tickets or change the valid date. Since at least one adult will need to leave with an unhappy child, this could prove to be an expensive gamble. But again, no proof of age is needed just for admission.

Universal Orlando Halloween events for kids

The section above usually leads parents directly to this question: So what can I do with my kids during Halloween at Universal?

For better or for worse, Universal really puts all of their energy into Halloween Horror Nights. The “for worse” part means the resort likely won’t be organizing anything for kids this year – at least not in the size and scope of HHN.

If you have young kids who want to celebrate the holiday, plan on taking them to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or SeaWorld’s Spooktacular. Personally, we recommend SeaWorld because their Halloween event is included with regular admission, and it’s a great event too.

Will my kids get scared visiting Universal Studios during the day?

This is the other popular question asked by parents with young kids. Because many of the decorations for Halloween Horror Nights are elaborate and large, it’s not possible for Universal to remove everything HHN-related during the regular daytime hours. This means, when touring Universal Studios Florida in September and October, you’ll occasionally come across stuff that looks like this:

Halloween Horror Nights 2016
Halloween Horror Nights 2016
Halloween Horror Nights 2016
Halloween Horror Nights 2016

The good news is that Universal doesn’t do a single thing during the day like they do during Halloween Horror Nights – not one scareactor, not one siren effect blaring, no sudden air bursts, nothing. So aside from the oversized props spaced out in a few spots around the park, there is absolutely nothing to fear visiting Universal Studios Florida during the day. Honestly, most of the HHN props look more silly than scary in the bright sunlight.

Think the props will be distracting? Remind your friends that you’re visiting a working movie production studio, so everyone should expect to see miscellaneous props set out around the park!

Does anything happen at Islands of Adventure?

Unfortunately, no. Other than perhaps some very minor decorating, there is nothing Halloween-related at Islands of Adventure. In fact, when you’re inside IOA in the fall, you’ll be hard pressed to even know it’s Halloween season. Like we explained earlier, Universal really does put every ounce of its seasonal effort into Halloween Horror Nights.

I wanna learn more about Halloween Horror Nights!

That’s good, because we have so much more to share. Follow the links at the bottom of this page to view our expert advice regarding admission, Express Passes, first-time visitor planning, and more.

If you just want to get more of a “feel” for the event, check out our HHN 2013 video playlist on YouTube – you can experience the atmosphere of the event and see exactly what the scare zones looked like last year.

Last but not least…

We have an entire community of Universal and HHN fans discussing the event right now! When you’re done here, join us for vacation planning and more in our Facebook community.

Want to skip all the details and just price out a trip to this year’s event? Orlando Informer Travel will find the best deals for you – for free (seriously). Learn more