The heart-thumping highlight of the Halloween season is surviving the terrifying Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. The annual event that runs on select nights in the fall takes thousands of guests through movie set-quality haunted houses, scare zones and a Terror Tram. Most Halloween Horror Nights event dates sell out and Universal Studios Hollywood isn't that large, so it does get crowded. Luckily, you've got us as your fearless froggy guides so that you can experience everything at this must-do event! We've been hopping to Halloween Horror Nights for many years so that we can bring you everything you need to know.
The Term "Maze" Is Laid to Rest
Before we get started, there's a big change in the language this year. Perhaps you noticed that we said "houses" instead of "mazes." The haunted house–style walk-though attractions formerly known as mazes in Hollywood are being renamed "houses." This brings the term consistent with Universal Orlando's name for these signature attractions. Can we have a moment of silence for the slashing of a SoCal colloquialism? RIP Maze. (It lives on at Knott's Scary Farm.)
When to Visit Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood
Halloween Horror Nights will kick off Sept. 8, 2022, and will continue on select nights through Oct. 31, 2022. Generally, the earlier you go in the season, the lower the ticket price (the same goes for any dates after Halloween). Sunday and Thursday nights are the least expensive, and Saturdays tend to be the priciest, followed by Fridays. Most of the days do sell out, but the least crowded nights tend to be Sundays and Thursdays.
Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood 2022 Dates
- September 8-11, 15-18, 22-25, 29-30
- October 1-2, 6-9, 13-16, 20-23, 27-31
Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood 2022 Ticket Prices
Halloween Horror Nights is a separate ticket from regular park admission. Universal Studios Hollywood also sells a Halloween Horror Nights Universal Express Pass (formerly called Front of Line Pass). The HHN Universal Express Pass is good for one-time Express access for each house and ride. It includes priority seating for the Jabbawockeez live show.
Ticket prices vary per night. Keep in mind that ticket prices can continue to go up throughout the season, and even sell out for some nights. The key is to purchase as early as you can.
For multi-day Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood tickets or HHN Universal Express passes, you'll need to purchase from Universal Studios Hollywood. You can get discount general admission tickets or single-night HHN tickets from your favorite froggy friends. HHN Universal Express tickets can sell out scary-fast, so buy them well in advance. Tickets purchased online through Universal allow for Early Entry at 6 p.m. In 2019, these times shifted earlier as the season progressed, so keep hopping back for updates throughout the fall season because we continually make updates based on Universal's changes. We definitely recommend entering during Early Entry to experience the shortest waits of the night if your ticket permits it! The actual event starts at 7 p.m., but Early Entry houses open at 6:15 p.m.
There are two houses and the Terror Tram open during Early Entry. Even those lines get long during Early Entry, so you'll want to arrive as soon as you can and make your way to the houses. People with the After 2 p.m. ticket have an advantage in being able to line up earlier than the Early Entry guests.
When you purchase the Universal Express ticket online via Universal, an option to upgrade to Universal Express Unlimited for an additional fee pops up (if available)! There is a Universal Express Unlimited ticket option on the main menu, as well. That means you can have Unlimited Express access to each ride, houses and seated show.
Universal offers an After 2 p.m. Day/Night Combo ticket, which allows you to enter the park at 2 p.m. This pass allows you to visit daytime attractions, some of which will be closed during Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood. Since Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Kung Fu Panda, Studio Tour and shows are typically closed for Halloween Horror Nights, the combo ticket might be of interest to you if you have not yet experienced these attractions. There is usually a check-in point near the Box Office so you can get a wristband to stay in the park after it closes to the public.
Are you a Universal Studios pass member? Annual pass members can take advantage of special pass member pricing for themselves and friends for some tickets. You can check out available deals here.
For a killer experience, spring for the R.I.P. Tour. The 2021 R.I.P. Tour offered the following:
- Guided walking tour of the event
- One-time R.I.P. entry into each house while on the tour with a guide (based on tour itinerary)
- Express UNLIMITED access (per day) to select rides, houses and attractions
- Complimentary valet parking (one vehicle)
- Exclusive photo-op
- Pre-tour receptions with all-you-care-to-enjoy dinner (alcoholic beverages excluded)
- Access to cash bar locations available during the tour (must be 21 years old or older to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages with a valid photo ID)
- Commemorative R.I.P. Tour credential and lanyard
- Maximum of six R.I.P. Tour tickets per party. Each tour is made up of parties mixed together for up to 12 guests per tour. Call 1-818-622-0251 for larger groups to book a private R.I.P. Tour.
Guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult at all times while taking part in any R.I.P. Tour. Plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled tour time.
Managing the Crowds & Touring Tips at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood
One of the most terrifying parts of Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood is not getting to experience all of the houses because of lines. Most Universal Halloween Horror Nights sell out. Save your terror for the houses and cut the lines like Michael Myers' knife with a Halloween Horror Nights Front of the Line ticket. Buy in advance because Universal only offers a very limited number of Universal Express passes for each night, and they sell out as quickly as the kids flee that thing in the basement of Hill House.
You can get a jumpstart on the fear … oops, we mean fun! The event usually begins at 7 p.m. and ends at either 1 a.m. or 2 a.m., depending on the night. You can arrive early at 6 p.m. for early admission to get your heart thumping even sooner with access to some of the most popular houses, which open at 6:15 p.m. You will be given a wristband so that you can stay in the park as it closes and other guests are filtered out.
Early Entry houses were in the Lower Lot last year. Terror Tram opens during Early Entry, as well. Early Entry admission is 6 p.m. and select houses open at 6:15 p.m. Arriving early can save your night because you can visit several houses before the event officially begins and then move onto the other houses as other guests make their way down the escalators. There are a few pros and cons to early arrival.
- If you do not like scare zones or the dark, you can start your night much more gently.
- You start in the light.
- Experience shorter lines for at least an hour.
- You can get through more houses and maybe even do a favorite house twice.
- You can make it an earlier night.
- The scare zones are not open until 7 p.m.
- There is a less eerie/dramatic effect walking into the park.
- You might miss the Opening Scaremony in the Upper Lot (Universal may close that area to just the people entering the park by 6:30 p.m. and no amount of begging or pleading will get you in from other areas of the park).
Having Universal Express means no stress. You can easily do it all in any order you want, even if you do not arrive early — although arriving early can mean doing some houses twice. Just do not scan the Universal Express Pass the first time you go through, and then use the pass later when there is a line you want to skip. With Early Entry and Universal Express, you can hit all of the Early Entry houses before 7 p.m. If you have R.I.P., then you have unlimited Universal Express access. Alternatively, Universal Express can allow you the time to watch the Opening Scaremony and not have to arrive early.
Universal no longer distributes lanyards for Universal Express. Instead, you have to pull the paper ticket (about the size of a credit card) out each time to have it scanned. Bring a lanyard with a clear plastic pouch to make your life toadally easier, or wear clothing with a secure pocket. Universal also sells lanyards. We bought a lanyard in 2019 and brought it back in 2021. It was well worth it. We put two tickets back to back in it for easy scanning at each house and ride.
If you can’t get Universal Express and you miss Early Entry, save the year-round rides for after you have done your favorite houses and scare zones (you can ride the rides any other day of the year).
The heart of Halloween Horror Nights is in the Lower Lot and usually the Backlot. Due to filming, the Backlot does not have houses this year. When it is in action, there's a not-so-short walk (with scare zones along the way) to the houses in the Metropolitan Sets. There is alternate transportation for people who need it (behind the Jurassic Park area).
A longer line does not always represent the quality of the house or a must-see. A house based off a popular show can get a long line, but it doesn't mean it's the best house. Sometimes we find that the houses we are least excited about are among our favorites, and the ones we most look forward to are not at the top of our list. Last year we most looked forward to The Haunting of Hill House, but we enjoyed The Bride of Frankenstein Lives (which had a much shorter wait) more. But all houses are usually pretty good. Try as many as you can and do not stress if you miss one.
Download the Universal Studios Hollywood app so that you can check wait times and showtimes. Select Halloween Horror Nights from the pull-down menu to access the wait times and food options. There are also displays throughout the park for status updates.
Complete everything you want to do while you are down in the Lower Lot and then move back up after that. The special menu items are in those areas, so you might want to grab a bite while you are down there, as well. You don’t want to spend valuable time going up and down the four long escalators to and from the Lower Lot more than once in each direction.
Here's a look at the highlights of Halloween Horror Nights 2021:
Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Houses and Entertainment
We got our first house announcement of 2022!
Universal Monsters: Legends Collide
Universal Pictures' biggest monster icons, The Wolf Man, Dracula and the Mummy, will join forces in an all-new house. The trio is seeking the Amulet of Ra, which the Wolf Man believes will lift his curse, while Dracula and the Mummy plan to use it against humankind. Who will get to it first, and can you survive the battle between them? The musician SLASH will collaborate on an original score for this house.
While we await more announcements for 2022 houses, here's a look at all seven 2021 house (plus the returning Jabbawockeez show). Some of them may return from the dead to haunt us again.
The Haunting of Hill House (New for 2021!)
The imposing and mysterious decaying Hill House eerily comes to life in this new house. Psst ... Don't go in there, or you'll never leave. Seriously, I'm still haunted by scenes from the Netflix series. Iconic scenes from the television show are featured throughout the house, including the Red Room (the heart of Hill House), the infamous Hall of Statues and the dreaded basement. You'll encounter apparitions of the Bent-Neck Lady, William Tell — the Tall Man — and the Ghost in the Basement. To find this house, you need to walk through the Wizarding World and past the castle.
The Haunting of Hill House sends even the bravest guests into a psychological thriller in which they will find themselves feverishly struggling to break free from the house's evil and sinister forces. Walking in the footsteps of the Crain family is a nightmare you never wake up from. Never go alone.
There was some great detail that came from the show, and we loved the walls that disappeared before our eyes to reveal characters. But the basement scene, which was extremely terrifying in the television show, did not play out as we had hoped. We had some great startles by the Tall Man.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Does a chainsaw buzz get your heart pounding? If so, you probably have some deep-seated fears from watching the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie. Follow in the footsteps of the victims of the 1974 classic horror film. Enter, if you dare, the dilapidated Sawyer house in the Lower Lot. You'll encounter Leatherface and the demented family of butchers, but you are the fresh meat. Will you make it out of this gory house alive?
We like that a character from the house met us out front before we entered the madness. This is always a classic house. Plus you can enjoy Leatherface's Texas Family Barbecue in the Lower Lot after you escape the house. Mmmm ... they say we (I mean the meat) tastes like chicken. This usually has a shorter wait than the Exorcist early in the night, so it's a good place to get your Horror Nights buzz going.
The Bride of Frankenstein Lives
The vengeful Bride of Frankenstein emerges from the shadows of the Parisian courtyard to take her fate into her own hands. She will do anything to return her mate to life. It's a match made in hell. This house features Dracula's vampire brides. The hunted becomes the hunter when the Bride of Frankenstein becomes a vampire hunter! Eyes up. Frankenstein's monster is 8 feet tall! Slash is once again collaborating with Horror Nights to compose the original score! The thrills continue when you exit into the Silver Scream Queenz scare zone. You can then grab a bloody bite at Freakshow Vin Bistro.
This house had the most dramatic entrance. You step into the pages of the storybook. Her story begins where his story ended ... with monsters. You'll encounter Frankenstein's Bride, vampires and, of course, Frankenstein's monster brought back to life. The Universal Monsters houses never disappoint.
The Curse of Pandora's Box
This house was inspired by a story from Greek mythology. As you enter "Pandora's Cabinet of Curiosities," an old store that seems as if it belongs in a dark and dangerous back-alley of Victorian London, you make your way through occultist artifacts, forbidden relics and a collection of evil encased in glass cabinets. Does curiosity get the best of you when you pass the giant, ornate box inlaid with human bones, adorned with the silhouette of a woman clasping her body with skeletal arms? The ornate box swings open and awakens a demonic voice whispering for you to "come inside." Be aware. Once Pandora's Box is open and the evil unleashed, it can never be closed again.
This house is located past Hogwarts Castle near The Haunting of Hill House. It offers some cool effects and lighting that set it apart from the other houses.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
The boogeyman has returned, and this time there is no stopping him. Literally. This house from 2018 just cannot die. Are we caught in a recurring nightmare? It's Oct. 30, 1988, and a comatose Michael Myers is transferred back to the Sanitarium. Even though it's been a decade since he has murdered anyone, the citizens of Haddonfield know all too well that evil does not sleep (or stay in a coma, especially the night before Halloween). Too bad his caregivers did not get the memo. The Boogeyman escapes, slaughters his medical personnel and runs off into the night. Nobody is safe from Michael Myers and his knife. You'll find this house and its many appearances of Michael Myers in the Upper Lot near Water World.
Who's ready for split-pea soup?! (Kidding.) The Exorcist house returns, taking guests through one of the most terrifying movies of all time. Watch Regan's transformation as the devil takes hold of her in her home, while her dedicated mother and priest fight the possession. Evil awaits you in the Lower Lot behind Transformers. A word of warning. Even during Early Entry, the line is scary long. It's a great house, but if you have seen it before, you might save shave some wait time by skipping it if the wait time takes too long.
AMC's The Walking Dead
This year-round walk-through attraction was laid to rest in March 2020, with promises that it would be resurrected for Halloween Horror Nights — and here it is! Step into a destroyed hospital filled with the dead. Patient charts and paperwork are scattered everywhere, bloody handprints and blood splatters appear throughout the halls and hospital supplies are strewn about. Even the ceiling tiles and floor are part of the scene. The makeup and costumes are movie-quality, and the jump scares are thrilling. As many times as we have visited this house, as least one walker jumped out where I least expected it.
The Jabbawockeez return with a unique mix of dance, special effects, music and humor. It's a place to rest your tired flippers and enjoy some AC, especially on a hot night like the night we visited.
Scare Zones at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood 2022
We frogs jump (even higher than usual) in terror at Halloween Horror Nights — usually when we least expect it in a scare zone. Be prepared for the unexpected ghoul to emerge from the darkness. All scare zones were in the Upper Lot in 2021.
Take a look at the 2021 scare zones (we'll update once we learn more about the 2022 scare zones!):
A diabolical gang of maniacs with chainsaws strike terror in the hearts of those entering Halloween Horror Nights. The boundaries between this scare zone and Demon City are pretty blurred, with the sound of chainsaws buzzing present in both spaces.
The New York streets have gone to hell. A diabolical nightclub called Inferno serves demons from the Underworld. These bloodthirsty demonic clubgoers prowl the streets looking for their next victims. You cannot miss the tall stilt walkers, or should we say stilt runners? They are fast and they are coming after you.
Universal Monsters: Silver Scream Queenz
You can find the first all-female scare zone adjacent to the "Bride of Frankenstein Lives" house. Well, it's not all female, as an 8-foot-tall Frankenstein's Monster accompanies them. You may encounter the Bride of Frankenstein, Anck-Su-Namun from "The Mummy," Dracula’s Daughter and She-Wolf of London all returned from the grave.
Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Opening Scaremony
If you are in the Upper Lot just before 7 p.m., catch the Opening “Scaremony,” when Universal releases the monsters and you find yourself immersed in your first terrifying scare zone of the night. You must be in place before 6:30 p.m. or you won't get in. The downside to accessing Early Entry may mean missing the Opening Scaremony, but the benefits of getting the houses done and being ahead of the masses may outweigh the downside in our humble opinion. It's really hard to see anything unless you are up close, but once Universal unleashes the monsters, they'll crawl through the crowds to find you.
In 2021, the entrance to the Demon City Scare Zone was more narrow than usual, making it even harder to see. Team members discouraged us from waiting for the Opening Scaremony and pushed us toward the Lower Lot or the Terror Tram.
Terror Tram at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood
The Terror Tram took a break in 2019, but returned for 2021! The tram that takes guests on a daytime Studio Tour of the Backlot turns into a Terror Tram at night, transporting guests to scenes of unspeakable horror as they wander the Backlot past the Bates Motel, Psycho House and airplane crash site from "War of the Worlds." The regular Studio Tour is not operating during Hollywood Horror Nights hours. Being an open-air, outside attraction certainly has appeal at this time.
Lock your doors. It's the Ultimate Purge. The most iconic Purgers from all of "The Purge" films have taken over and are running rampant. These masked and costumed marauders are out to get anyone caught outside during Purge hours. If you choose to board the Terror Tram and ride right into the Purge, know that there are no laws, no rules and no escape.
We have enjoyed being terrified in "The Purge"-themed Opening Scaremony, scare zones in the Backlot and Terror Tram in past years of Halloween Horror Nights. But the horror is back, and the Terror Tram is elevating the terror to an all-new level.
If you are new to the Purge, here is the backstory. The Purge takes place in a not-so-distant future world in which the New Founding Fathers of America have taken control of the United States. To combat rising crime rates, unemployment and social unrest, the New Founding Fathers created an annual event called the Purge. During one night every year, American citizens are allowed 12 hours of consequence-free freedom to wreak havoc and commit whatever crimes they want, including murder. They are coming for you.
Your tram guide will tell you that you are going to a Purge Party, which is a safe Purge-free zone. But you'll learn the truth as you ride towards the Backlot. You should be barricading yourself in your home to protect your family, but you are riding the Terror Tram straight into the Purge. You are about to be slaughtered. Nobody can help you now.
Rides Open During Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood 2022
Some of the regular rides dare to operate during Halloween Horror Nights. If you need to escape from the houses, get your thrills on Transformers 3-D, Revenge of the Mummy, Jurassic World or the Simpsons Ride. In the past, the Wizarding World was closed during Halloween Horror Nights, but in 2021, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff remained open! As mentioned above, the normal Studio Tour will not be running. Instead, you get the Terror Tram. Regular shows, Kung Fu Panda and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem are closed. The new Secret Life of Pets ride will not be open.
Hogwarts Castle has special projections for the event. Watch the Deathly Hallows symbols form. Listen for hissing voices. We do not speak Parseltongue, so don't ask us what they are saying.
Treats to Die for at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood
There are some devilish delights and concocted drinks in store for you. The park map shows themed dining locations in the Upper and Lower Lots. In the Upper Lot, you can fill up at:
- Freakshow Vin Bistro in French Bistro
- Little Cocina food tent and Dia de los Muertos Bar — This area had photo-ops, live monsters and a festive atmosphere. A great addition to Halloween Horror Nights!
- Scare up some spooky treats at Minions Monster Cafe (This was listed as open but looked closed when we visited).
In the Lower Lot:
- The Terror Bar — The shortest lines for snacks and drinks in this glow bar early in the night.
- Leatherface's Texas Family Barbeque — Get your BBQ spare ribs, pulled chicken, Texas chili & cheese nachos, a 22-inch monster dog, bloody funnel fingers and Texas Tea or frozen Jack and Coke.
Most restaurants and shops offer themed treats such as decorated cookies and cupcakes. Additional dining locations are found around the park. The Universal Studios Hollywood app has more details for the day of your visit.
The following dining locations may be open for your visit:
- Three Broomsticks
- Hog's Head
- Butterbeer carts
- Starbucks Upper and Lower Lot
- Krusty Burger
- Cletus' Chicken Shack
- Luigi's Pizza
- Moe's Tavern
- Lard Lad's Donut
- Phineas Q. Butterfat's Ice Cream
- Suds McDuff's Hot Dogs — "Dufftober Fest" at Duff Gardens and Suds McDuff's
- Panda Express
- Studio Cafe
- Mummy Eats
- Jurassic Cafe
- Isla Nu-Bar
- Many temporary snack locations throughout the park and near houses, including the ones with a long walk.
You can purchase a souvenir refillable Coca-Cola Freestyle souvenir cup. It's $17 for one or $16 each if you buy two. It's refillable through the day (every 10 minutes). You can add on an extra day of refills for $10.
Some Universal CityWalk restaurants offer discounts before you enter HHN. Re-entry is allowed. (Get a hand stamp when you exit).
Follow the Rules or Beware
Keep in mind that no costume masks or costumes are allowed (although we did see leniency with some Harry Potter robes)! No horseplay or items that resemble weapons are allowed.
You may not record, take flash photos, or bring laser pens, food and drink into the houses. You cannot bring food or drink — not even water). In the past, we have brought empty water bottles for refilling, last year, we were not even able to bring a water bottle into the houses. Do not bring gum into the park. In 2019, you could buy alcohol in Springfield USA and at other locations. Do not touch or harm the actors or jump the lines unless you want to be sent out of the park in a body bag without your ticket. Re-entry is allowed so hold onto your park ticket ad ask about a hand stamp at the exit. Dress in layers. Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll find that there is a lot of walking — our devices measured 13,000 steps in past years but only about 9,000 in 2021.
Be sure to dress for the weather so you will be comfortable. Early September dates can be surprisingly hot the whole night. You may bring an umbrella if the forecast calls for rain. There are no refunds.
Arrive with a full belly if you can. Food lines are scary long. You don't want to waste precious time waiting for food.
If someone in your party uses a wheelchair, most standard wheelchairs and Electronic Convenience Vehicles (ECVs) can go through the houses. Ask an attendant if you need assistance. Any guests who use Universal's Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP) should know that you will go to a designated location to pick up the AAP. The line can be long just to get the pass! Arrive early and take care of it as soon as you can. Then you may receive return times for the houses. If you heading to The Curse of Pandora's Box and The Haunting of Hill House, get a return time for both houses at the same time just outside the entrance to the Wizarding World. There is alternative transportation available for those with physical disabilities to access these houses and to the Lower Lot. The Lower Lot drop-off and pick-up location is near Dino Play.
Stay hydrated — all of that screaming can dry you out like a mummy! (You can purchase water bottles but you can also get free water at restaurants with fountain drinks.) Speaking of mummies, leave your little mummies home for this terrifying event, which is recommended for very brave 13-year-olds and up. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Of course, in 2019, we did come across the cutest Ghostbuster who was brave enough to visit the house for his most-favorite movie. You know your kids, so use your best judgment. If horror movies are their jam, then they may be able to handle it. The teenage years are a good time to visit for most kids.
Follow these rules and tips, and you will survive the Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. Download the Universal Studios Hollywood app. Most of all, have fun!
Be sure to hop back for updates about the 2022 season!
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