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A Non-Horror Fan’s Guide to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando

by Brittani Tuttle

So it’s finally October, the time of year when the SANE folks celebrate Halloween. You’ve decided to up your game this year and visit Halloween Horror Nights. You have no idea why there are Killer Klowns from Outer Space, or why the Yeti has been loosened from Expedition: Everest, but you want to get a little bit spookier than that other not so scary event.

halloween horror nights

By @SuperWeenieHTJr on Twitter

Here’s your primer AND to make it even scarier, it’s a spooky listicle:

1. Take Friends and Plan Ahead

killer klowns

Don’t go alone. Make this an event for your squad. It’s easier to deal with things you’re uncomfortable with in a group setting and might help you push your “fear” boundaries a little bit. Also, if you fall in love with the event, planning to see it all in one night is not a great strategy. Look at multi-night passes and compare their offerings to save on future visits.

2. Plow Straight Ahead

halloween horror nights
Photo by Matt Roseboom

Upon arrival to HHN 2019, going directly ahead is the move for you. This year’s event is firmly rooted in the ’80s – the Anarch-cade scare zone sets the tone for the event. Vivid neon, Lady Gaga-esque stilt walkers and chainsaw-wielding baddies highlight the arcade of your dreams (or nightmares).

This coin-op fantasy is more about scene-setting than scaring the bejesus out of you. Enjoy the colors, get selfies, dance in the fog; everything here is designed to please your senses. The scare factor is low and the Instagramability is high. It’s a true millennial containment zone (and depending on your age, that might actually be scarier for you).

3. You’ve Arrived

ghostbusters

Hooray! You did it! You’ve navigated your first scare zone and have the social media cred to boot. You’ve been delivered to the heart of the event. Look to your left and you see the scariest sight of all: the neverending switchbacks of the “Ghostbusters” house. Ahead on your right is the Starcourt Mall Food Court, with food ripped straight out of your last Netfilx and chill. Straight ahead lies entrances to “Us,” “Stranger Things,” and “Yeti: Terror of the Yukon.”

“Us,” “Stranger Things,” and “Ghostbusters” rate lower on the average super fan’s list.  Don’t listen to them. These houses are likely what you’re looking for with highly recognizable scenes from popular culture. I’m not a horror fan, but I sincerely appreciate the set dressing and attention to detail in these temporary attractions. It’s really unbelievable how immersive these houses are, given the yearly time constraints to manage this event.

“Ghostbusters” was far and away my favorite house. With plenty of scenes ripped directly from the film, you’ll find your moment with Slimer, Gozer’s minions in their earthly forms, or even Gozer himself. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

4. Enjoy Special Event Perks

halloween horror nights
Photo by Matt Roseboom

From special merchandise at game booths to specialty food and drink, there’s definitely unique perks for visiting HHN. You can make your evening a late-night culinary escapade: Pizza Fries (as delicious and heart-stopping as they sound) and Twisted Taters are long-running event favorites and must grabs in addition to the aforementioned special offerings at Starcourt Mall Food Court. You can play Plinko to win a gigantic Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man or other neat prizes, and hop on your favorite rides with generally lower wait times.

Need a little liquid courage? Refreshing creepy cocktails with spooky names like Blood Pit, Twilight Gateway, and Vampire’s Curse might calm your nerves. Regardless, the refillable collectible cups will make a totally rad souvenir. I also highly recommend the Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA from Motorworks Brewing that’s widely available at the event.

5. Test your boundaries

terror of the yukon

You’ve knocked a few back now. You’ve done a couple of houses, they weren’t that bad, right? You’re feeling good. Why not go for the gusto?

Check out “Yeti: Terror of the Yukon,” if you’re interested in getting a higher level of scare. Cross the frigid Yukon and enjoy some delightful surprises along the way. Even if this level of thrill isn’t for you, you’ll appreciate the air conditioning to escape the Florida heat.

Want to really get the creeps? “Graveyard Games” offers some of the most intense thrills of the event paired with a great original story.


Universal Studios Florida comes alive during Halloween Horror Nights in an indescribable way. This year’s event offers one of the most well-rounded lineups for entry-level fans. If you’ve been on the fence about going, this is the year to jump in headfirst. Happy Halloween!

To learn more about Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort, visit Orlando.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

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