What started as a tweet to “claim” a favorite pumpkin during a preview of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights has grown into a dedicated fan base for the fright fest’s new mascot. We’re talking about Lil’ Boo, arguably the cutest pumpkin decoration at the park.
During last year’s event, Attractions contributor Conor Webber — who was working for Universal at the time — snapped a photo of a wide-eyed, anxious-looking foam pumpkin nestled among a display of them outside the Wicked Growth haunted maze. In a reply, the official Halloween Horror Nights page named him Lil’ Boo.
“I just took the photo that maybe people would find their own pumpkin to ‘claim’ and then HHN named him, and the rest is history,” Webber said.
Horror Nights fans had a field day last year with the character, and the pumpkin was featured several times on HHN’s and Universal Orlando’s social media pages. The love even carried on into the holiday season when Universal Orlando tweeted an image of Earl the Squirrel holding a string of Lil’ Boo lights.
Lil’ Boo is now the star of the show at this year’s event with appearances on official HHN merchandise and promotional material.
Fans can buy Lil’ Boo drink sippers, scented candles, a festive throw blanket, a pumpkin-shaped purse, hats and earrings, Halloween decorations, Christmas ornaments, pins and buttons, T-shirts, and other clothing.
You can even get a Lil’ Boo HHN commemorative coin.
Fortunately for those who can’t make it to this year’s event, many of these items are available to purchase through Universal Orlando’s online HHN store.
So, where did Lil’ Boo come from? The little fellow has actually been a part of Halloween Horror Nights since 2017 when he was part of the beautiful gourd display for the “Trick ‘r Treat” scare zone.
Though Alvarado sculpted a few other foam pumpkins for the 2017 scare zone, what pushed Lil’ Boo into the spotlight was his move to The Wicked Growth: Realm of the Pumpkin house. He was much lower to the ground and in a spot perfect for selfies.
“I guess his anxious face was definitely super relatable after the whirlwind of a year that was 2020 (and, truthfully, 2021 as well),” Alvarado wrote in her post.
Of course, Lil’ Boo’s success arguably means the most to his “mom” Alvarado. The artist has been busy creating more art and scenes featuring the character as well as writing an illustrated short story, which she self-published.
Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights runs select nights from Sept. 2 through Oct. 31, 2022. Find more information and tickets at UniversalOrlando.com.