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Halloween Horror Nights 2020 – complete insider’s guide

Halloween Horror Nights 2020

It’s never too early to start panicking for the nation’s premier Halloween event: Halloween Horror Nights 2020. 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.

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!

Once you’ve read through our complete overview of HHN, use the navigation links at the top or bottom of the page to learn so, so much more.

Last update
November 4, 2019

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Halloween Horror Nights 2020 – overview and explanation

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

Now in its landmark 30th 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 (and new water park!). But on select nights from September 10 through October 31, 2020, the streets of Universal Studios Florida 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 29 years of experience to draw from, nobody creates a more nightmarish Halloween event than Universal, 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, to boot.

Halloween Horror Nights is an 11-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 US 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.” And the 29th edition of this must-see event promises to bring to life the ultimate in scares past, present, and future.

What are the dates of this year’s event?

Halloween Horror Nights 2020 will go from Thursday, September 10 to Saturday, October 31. That’s a grand total of 39 event nights, which is three fewer than 2019’s record-breaking 42 dates (though Universal could always tack more on, exactly as it did in 2018 [adding on three more nights] and in 2019 [one more]).

Here’s what the full breakdown of the dates looks like:

Sept. 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18. 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30
Oct. 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

Although we don’t yet have the hours, here is 2019’s info, just to give you an idea of what to expect:

Sept. 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, Oct. 2, 21, 29, 2019 – 6:30 pm-1:00 am
Sept. 26, 27, 28, 29, Oct. 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, Nov. 1, 2, 2019 – 6:30 pm-2:00 am

So, how busy will Halloween Horror Nights 2020 be on ____ night?

Since this is the most common question we receive, we wanted to answer it right away (again, using 2019’s info as a placeholder):

Least crowded: Sept. 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 15, 18, 19, 25, 26, Oct. 2, 21, 29, 30, Nov. 1, 2, 2019
Medium crowded: Sept. 14, 21, 22, 27, 29, Oct. 3, 4, 9, 10, 17, 23, 24, 31, 2019
Most crowded: Sept. 28, Oct. 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 2019

To put it more generally, always expect Saturdays to be busy throughout the entire run of the event, while, on the other hand, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and the first two weeks tend to be some of the least-crowded nights.

Will Diagon Alley be open during Halloween Horror Nights 2020 event nights?

We think so, yes, although we’ll need to wait on official confirmation from Universal, of course. But for the past five events, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley has been accessible to guests during the scare fest, allowing visitors to ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and check out all of the various wizarding shops. Just don’t expect the area to have any decorations – or seasonal alterations of any kind – up, whether it’s open or not.

What is the Halloween Horror Nights 2020 theme?

Nothing has been announced thus far, but for the past two years, the event has been dedicated to the horrors of the ’80s, the “decade that just won’t die.”

How many haunted houses and scare zones will there be?

For the third time in a row, there will be an absolutely mammoth 10 haunted houses – the biggest lineup in Horror Nights’s entire existence (some of which will be “reimagined haunts inspired by the past”). Universal has also confirmed a grand total of five scare zones, which has been the standard number for the past few years.

(There has been no word yet on the number of live stage shows, in case you were curious.)

I want to read the review of Halloween Horror Nights 2020!

Well, you’ll have to wait until September for that. In the meantime, though, you can enjoy last year’s review here.

What if I’m not a horror fan?

Are you not a horror fan, generally, but are still maybe, possibly interested in heading to the event? It turns out you should be – there’s more than enough to do here to warrant at least a one-night visit. We explore this possibility in-depth in our HHN guide for non-horror fans.

 

NOTE: no information on 2020’s lineup has been revealed. In the meantime, use 2019’s contents to give you an idea of what to expect.

 

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – haunted houses

Stranger Things 2 at Halloween Horror Nights 2019
Stranger Things 2 (and 3!) at Halloween Horror Nights 2019

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 haunts are best described as “movie-set quality” recreations of fantastic and fearsome locations. Sometimes referred to as mazes, each house is indoors, often set up in the unused queue area of a daytime attraction or one of the Universal soundstages. These haunts 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. In general, guests are sent through the houses in a steady flow (sort of like a conga line, versus being “pulsed” through in small groups), and, once inside, each maze is typically a three- to four-minute experience.

Throughout much of the event’s history, the haunted houses’ themes have been original creations. However, in more recent years, Universal has started basing more and more of its Halloween mazes on third-party licenses (often referred to by fans as intellectual properties, or IPs), such as AMC’s The Walking Dead or, more recently, Netflix’s Stranger Things. Although we don’t yet know (obviously) what this year’s breakdown is going to be between the two camps, 2018 saw them split evenly down the middle, with five IPs and five originals.

Stranger Things

The biggest name from last year’s Halloween Horror Nights is returning, and, in a surprising twist, this new haunted house is going to cover two different seasons from the hit Netflix series (well, certain parts of the two seasons, at least).

The proceedings start off with Stranger Things 2, the season that dropped in October 2017, hitting such memorable locations as the series of tunnels that now burrow beneath Hawkins, Indiana (it’s been hinted that both Police Chief Jim Hopper and the new swarm of Demodogs will be crawling through them, as well) and Hopper’s isolated cabin in the woods, which has now become the home of the wayward Eleven. Then things end during the events of Stranger Things 3, which will release this July, moving the action to the brand-new Starcourt Mall (where much of the new episodes take place).

Read our full analysis here.

Nightingales: Blood Pit

The Nightingales – a race of immortal, carnivorous banshees – were first introduced at Halloween Horror Nights 2011, where they were received with much acclaim and fan adoration. They’ve largely been absent from the HHN stage since then, however, leaving many to wonder whether the characters (and their proposed storyline, which could well last for many more appearances to come) had been forgotten by Universal.

Wonder no more.

Nightingales: Blood Pit is set during the days of ancient Rome, in the midst of a marathon gladiatorial spectacle. Guests will have to make their way through the throng of the blood sport as the supernatural creatures attempt to get their fill on the easy prey – and then notice you among their number.

Read our full analysis here.

Universal Monsters

The Universal Classic Monsters are being resurrected with a modern design for a brand-new haunted house, one that will hit “every single grisly monster from the anthology”: expect to encounter Frankenstein’s Monster in his creator’s lab, Dracula in his Gothic castle, the Wolf Man in a grim Bavarian forest, and the Mummy in his ancient tomb – along with the likes of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Bride of Frankestein, the Phantom of the Opera, and the Creature of the Black Lagoon, as well.

Although these iconic figures have periodically shown up at Universal Orlando’s signature annual event (most recently at the 25th anniversary HHN back in 2015), this particular haunt gets its inspiration directly from Universal Studios Hollywood and its Universal Monsters maze from last year, which not only was a fan-favorite but which also came replete with its own custom soundtrack composed by Slash, of Guns ‘n Roses fame (no word yet on whether this will be the case for the East Coast spinoff).

Read our full analysis here.

Depths of Fear

Seemingly drawing inspiration from such disparate sources as the Alien movie franchise, the videogame series BioShock, and the Knott’s Scary Farm haunt The Depths, Universal’s second original haunted house is set deep underwater in a mining facility that has been overrun by a series of parasitic monsters. Called the Mouthbrooders, they spit out flesh-eating acidic eggs at unsuspecting humans, transforming them into crazed incubators, and they’re now turning their attention onto you.

Oh, yeah – as if otherworldly creatures and insane human miners aren’t enough of a challenge for you, you’ll also have to escape the haunt before the self-destruct sequence finishes its countdown. No pressure, right?

Read our full analysis here.

Yeti: Terror of the Yukon

Out in the remote Canadian tundra, an isolated logging camp has been ravaged by a tribe of yeti. After guests make their way past the human bodies – some bloodied and torn apart, others frozen as they tried to crawl away – they’ll have to face the titular beasts in their system of interconnected caves, where screams echo down the rocky halls and snow and bones crunch underfoot. And just to throw one last twist into the deadly mix, attendees will have to contend with all these elements while also facing down another: an arctic blizzard, which is blanketing the region with even more snow.

Read our full analysis here.

Ghostbusters

The 1984 classic film – celebrating its 35th anniversary this year! – is making its long-awaited return to Universal Studios Florida, this time as a haunt at Horror Nights. All of Ghostbusters‘s iconic scenes, characters, and ghouls will be making an appearance, from Slimer to the firehouse HQ to, of course, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and guests will be asked to face down a legion of “ectoplasm-dripping phantasms in every shape and size,” to boot.

The only question is how Universal will choose to adapt this famous source material: if it’s taken more seriously, there are sure to be at least a few good scares to be had in the house; if taken more lightly, Ghostbusters will undoubtedly fill the comedic slot that has long been a staple at the Halloween event.

Read our full analysis here.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space

After a highly successful run at last year’s HHN (in scare-zone form), the Killer Klowns from Outer Space are back and bigger than ever before for 2019. Expect this haunted house to take you through Crescent Cove to an abandoned amusement park on the edge of town, where the alien clowns have landed their big top-shaped UFO and have started to harvest the unwitting residents in (what else?) cotton-candy cocoons.

Horror Nights’s designers have long wanted to adapt the 1988 cult-classic B-flick in haunt form, and the results should be nothing short of riotous.

Read our full analysis here.

Us

Jordan Peele’s critically-acclaimed 2019 horror film is getting the full haunted-house treatment, starting in 1986 (when young Adelaide Wilson first encounters her treacherous doppelganger) and ending in the present day (when the so-called Tethered stage their nationwide uprising). Along the way, Universal promises, guests will visit the sinister fun house at the Santa Cruz Pier, the Wilsons’ vacation house as it’s under siege by the family’s counterparts, and the miles of underground tunnels that the Tethered have called home for the past several decades (hopefully, it comes replete with the dozens and dozens of rabbits that also reside there).

If done right, Us could easily be one of the creepiest haunts at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights.

Read our full analysis here.

Graveyard Games

The fourth and final original maze of the year, Graveyard Games plunges guests into Ascension Parish Cemetery after some local teens have accidentally awakened the spirits of the dead who reside there (after what we assume was a rather intense round of Ghost in the Graveyard). But before the various “skeletal beings, ghastly apparitions, and vengeful spirits” attempt to claim you as one of their own, you’ll have the opportunity to get the inside story on the cemetery by using Facebook Messenger to talk to a number of the Ascension Parish townsfolk – a gag that could potentially be gimmicky but also potentially highly immersive.

Read our full analysis here.

House of 1,000 Corpses

Few horror properties have had as long and involved a history with Halloween Horror Nights as House of 1,000 Corpses, the inaugural film by musician-turned-director Rob Zombie: it helped to kick off the modern iteration of Universal Studios Hollywood‘s HHN before returning there for two additional years earlier this decade. (And even before its arrival here on the East Coast, Zombie himself fashioned his very own haunt out of the movie, which toured throughout the West and Midwest until 2015.)

Expect Orlando’s version to be a faithful and detailed recreation of the 2003 torture film, starting with the roadside Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen and ending with the subterranean lair of Doctor Satan under the Firefly family’s deranged home. This could easily be the goriest haunt at this year’s event, hands down.

Read our full analysis here.

 

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – scare zones

Rob Zombie: Hellbilly Deluxe at Halloween Horror Nights 2019
Rob Zombie: Hellbilly Deluxe at Halloween Horror Nights 2019

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

For 2019, we’re getting a total of five scare zones, with two being based on intellectual properties and the remaining three being original concepts – the same exact ratio we’ve seen for the past few years.

Anarch-cade

Location: Avenue of the Stars (Production Central)

When you first enter the park, you’ll also be entering an authentic ’80s-style arcade that has one added, deadly twist: a gang of blacklit, chainsaw-wielding neon slashers out to get you. It’s game over, man – game over!

Zombieland: Double Tap

Location: New York

Based on the 2009 film Zombieland and its soon-to-release sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap, this scare zone will unleash a horde of zombies – and, hopefully, the movies’ over-the-top comedy – on HHN-goers.

Rob Zombie: Hellbilly Deluxe

Location: San Francisco

Though named after Rob Zombie’s first solo album, Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales of Cadaverous Cavorting inside the Spookshow International, this zone will take its inspiration from all of Zombie’s music and music videos, serving up “otherworldly beings, brutal maniacs, and menacing machines.”

Vikings Undead

Location: Central Park (Hollywood)

Zombified Vikings have risen from the grave and have unleashed an undead onslaught. Prepare for the likes of “skeletal fighters and draugr, reanimated corpses” in Central Park, typically the location of the most lavishly-detailed (and beautiful!) scare zones of the entire event.

Vanity Ball

Location: Hollywood

What is the ’80s without a little cosmetic surgery? Sadistic artists slice into willing subjects, transforming them into “horrific living works of art.” This is one scare zone that most befits the theme-park land it calls home.

Read our full analysis of all five scare zones here.

 

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – live stage shows

Halloween: Marathon of Mayhem at Halloween Horror Nights 2019

Halloween Horror Nights features unique and outrageous shows each year, typically the only time that attendees are allowed to sit back, relax, and laugh ‘til their bellies hurt.

The headlining attraction here used to be Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure, but after an unbelievable 27-year run, Universal pulled the plug on the production in 2017 (you can read our full accounting of the reasons why, as well as a full-on retrospective of the show, in our in-depth feature). The HHN torch has seemingly been passed on to professional dance group Academy of Villains, which puts on a different mind-bending performance each and every year that combines acrobatics, detailed visuals, stunt work, multimedia elements, and “intense” choreography.

Academy of Villains: Altered States

In 2016, for their first performance, Academy of Villains ushered in the House of Fear, taking audiences to an insane asylum (might that be the venerable Shadybrook, which has graced HHNs since 2003?). For 2017, the subject matter changed to Afterlife, a production that showed what happens when we shuffle off of this mortal coil. And in 2018, the dance troupe traveled to the far future with Cyberpunk, showing the final days of the struggle between man and machine.

Now, for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights, Academy of Villains will engage in an “epic experiment of mind and body” that will supposedly be the biggest (and best) production they’ve done yet. The only description we have of Altered States’s premise comes straight from Universal itself:

Man’s true nature is dragged out into the dark, gothic streets of anarchy.

Although the fourth straight production at the annual Halloween event, this marks only the second time that Academy has been located in the Fear Factor Live stadium (both House of Fear and Afterlife were street performances, held on a temporary stage next to Mel’s Die-In), and this change in venue allows the company a lot more flexibility in everything from lighting to props to choreography – for Cyberpunk, for example, audience participation was incorporated into the proceedings, including video prompts and special dance-off areas located off of the main stage. Given this year’s premise, the imagination runs wild with the different technical possibilities – but here’s just hoping that 2018’s big mistake, inadvertently blocking off the view from entire swaths of the amphitheater’s seating, also isn’t replicated.

Halloween: Marathon of Mayhem

For the first time since 2017, Horror Nights will have two shows – although this second production is, in some ways, a first for the event.

Using the technology and infrastructure of Cinematic Celebration, Universal Studios Florida’s still-new nighttime spectacular, Halloween: Marathon of Mayhem gathers four of the biggest intellectual properties being deployed for this year’s HHN and celebrates them using 40-foot water screens, over 100 water fountains, various lighting and projection-mapping effects, and, of course – given the ’80s vibe of the whole event – “pounding electro music.”

You can expect to catch the Universal Monsters, Killer Klowns from Outer SpaceStranger Things, and Ghostbusters out on the lagoon three times a night (at 10:00 pm, 11:00 pm, and 12:00 am) on select dates.

Read our full analysis of Halloween: Marathon of Mayhem here.

 

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – Terror Trivia

Terror Trivia at Halloween Horror Nights
Terror Trivia at Halloween Horror Nights

During last year’s Halloween Horror Nights, in an attempt to make the wait times for the 10 haunted houses – which Universal probably already knew were going to be the biggest yet in the event’s 28-year history – much more bearable, the company unleashed a brand-new game that it called Terror Trivia.

The premise was simple: get into the queue for a haunt, whether one of the intellectual-property-based entries or one of the original concepts, open up the Official Universal Orlando Resort app, and, under the “event” tab, select the maze you were about to enter. A series of questions would then be served up, and the faster you answered them, the more points you accrued – even allowing you to see your name on the leaderboards throughout the night, should you have proved to be in the top 20. There was also an effort made at replayability, with each round of questions being pulled from over 350 ones in total, and at throwing a bone to the die-hard fans, with an extra “level” being devoted exclusively to Horror Nights’s history (including previous houses and scare zones as well as the various event icons [such as Jack the Clown]).

Well, prepare for the time-sucking, horror-infused gaming all over again – Terror Trivia will be making its triumphant return for this year’s event.

Just as with 2018’s iteration, expect to face down 11 different categories, encompassing all 10 haunted houses and “History Rewind” (which, once again, will unlock randomly throughout the night). Those familiar with the IP mazes will certainly have a leg up on all the other competitors in line, but everyone will be on a level playing field when it comes to the original entries – you’ll have to go through the house first with an eye to detail and then play through the rounds of trivia on your subsequent visits.

New for this year, however, will be achievements, which can be earned throughout the course of the event. Although Universal is playing coy about what, exactly, these items will be, it has given us one direct revelation: the Pizza Fries achievement.

 

BONUS: Regular daytime attractions

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios Florida during Halloween Horror Nights
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, as seen during Halloween Horror Nights

During Halloween Horror Nights, there are quite a few of the regular attractions running – and since they take a backseat to the horror thrills and chills, they are often walk-ons:

Please note: if you purchase an HHN Express Pass, it works on the rides in addition to the haunted houses.

 

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – park map

Now that you know what all the attractions are, here’s what they look like laid out in Universal Studios Florida:

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 event map
Halloween Horror Nights 2019 event map

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 Horror Nights layout before setting foot in the fear-filled park.

 

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – Stranger Things pop-up experience

Stranger Things pop-up experience at Halloween Horror Nights 2019
Stranger Things pop-up experience at Halloween Horror Nights 2019
Stranger Things pop-up experience at Halloween Horror Nights 2019
Stranger Things pop-up experience at Halloween Horror Nights 2019

For the very first time, Universal is offering a special pop-up experience, themed to Stranger Things and located at Cabana Bay Beach Resort. It consists of two photo ops: the Byers’ living room (from the first season) and the Scoops Ahoy! ice cream parlor (from the third).

It’s located up on the second floor and will be open every day from September 6 through October 31, from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm. You have to be a Universal hotel guest in order to access it, with those staying at Cabana getting priority.

 

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – annual passholder benefits

AP-exclusive Q&A event at Halloween Horror Nights 2019
AP-exclusive Q&A event at Halloween Horror Nights 2019

This year, Universal has a bevy of exclusives and extras for its various annual passholders (though that hasn’t stopped the company from taking away – or otherwise modifying – some of the previous years’ benefits, as well).

Exclusive entrance

Annual passholders will have the ability to utilize entrances to Universal Studios Florida that are reserved exclusively for them – look for the “UOAP” sign and have both your AP and photo ID ready.

Just keep in mind this really important fine print: the exclusive entrance will only be up from 2:00 to 5:00 pm – making it a nice perk for those doing Stay and Scream – and only on certain dates throughout the month of September.

Exclusive Q&A event

For only the second time, Universal is getting some of the personnel behind Horror Nights (we don’t know who beyond the fact that they’re “select show directors”) together for an exclusive question-and-answer session just for its APs.

Unlike last year, however, Universal is only putting on one of these sessions, on Sunday, September 8 (in 2018, there were three events across three consecutive days). Guests will need to check in next to the HHN Tribute Store (located in the Revenge of the Mummy extended queue) starting at 4:00 pm; the Q&A panel runs from 4:30 to 6:00 pm.

The slots were filled on a first-come, first-serve basis and ran out within just a few hours, with the heads-up that the reservation process had started only occurring in Universal Orlando’s annual passholder Facebook group (no, no social-media posts were made about it, unlike last year). However, interested individuals should keep their eyes peeled on the company’s sign-up form here; should there be any cancellations, those seats would be made available once again.

Stranger Things backdrop in UOAP Lounge

The Annual Passholders’ Lounge at Universal Studios Florida will have a “sinister” Stranger Things photo backdrop from September 6 through November 2.

Exclusive merchandise

Universal Orlando annual passholders have access to a special themed magnet and collectible button (featuring an in-joke that only diehard fans and/or APs would get) and, in addition, an exclusive pin and t-shirt.

Both the magnet and the button (the latest in Universal’s passholder series) are free and can be picked up during a limited window: just the month of September for the latter and until October 31 for the former (while supplies last, of course). The pin and shirt, meanwhile, cost $14 and $27, respectively, before tax. All these items can be found at the UOAP Lounge and the Cyber Image store at Universal Studios Florida and Toon Extra at Islands of Adventure.

(Speaking of merchandise, APs also get early access to the Tribute Store the day it opens, Wednesday, September 4, starting at 9:00 am.)

Annual passholder discounts

Annual passholders are entitled to discounted rates on everything from Horror Nights tickets and tours to merchandise. You can see our complete guide to Halloween Horror Nights admission for more on most of these.

 

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – merchandise

The merchandise for Halloween Horror Nights 2019 offers a wide selection of items that, unsurprisingly, heavily feature the big four intellectual properties (that also dominate the Halloween: Marathon of Mayhem lagoon show): Stranger ThingsGhostbusters, Universal Monsters, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

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Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – FAQ

We’ve collected the most-talked-about topics and questions related to Universal’s popular annual event and deposited them all here for your horror education.

If, for whatever reason, you still can’t find the answers you’re looking for, we strongly recommend that you ask all of your questions in our OI Community Facebook group – with some 80,000 members, you’re going to find all sorts of expertise floating around in there.

What Halloween Horror Nights is not

This event is not Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Walt Disney World Resort’s annual kid-friendly Halloween bash, set at Universal Orlando; there is no trick-or-treating, and there are no characters dressed up in cutsey outfits.

The single purpose of Halloween Horror Nights is to scare you – and, 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 Horror Nights; if you don’t like them, you’ll probably hate the event. 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.

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 Orlando?

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

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 – its Halloween event is included with regular admission, and it’s a great experience, too.

Will my kids get scared visiting Universal Studios Florida 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 (and the first weekend of November), 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 it does 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 the park in the fall, you’ll be hard pressed to even know it’s the 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 from that 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 OI Community Facebook group.