Have you had any good nightmares lately? The most creative minds at Universal Orlando Resort brewed up all-new scares and reimagined haunts inspired by the past to commemorate Halloween Horror Nights' 30th anniversary. The evil geniuses have created 10 haunted houses, five scare zones, live entertainment and more for the 2021 event which runs on select nights from Sept. 3 to Oct. 31, 2021. We hopped over to the sinister celebration on opening night and we had a scary good time! In fact, we've already made a return visit — they can't scare us away that easily.
Universal Orlando always brings its A-game to this event but the team truly brought out its greatest tricks and treats for this milestone anniversary and grand return after last year's cancellation. Both the houses and scare zones feature nostalgic callbacks to previous years while also delivering on long-awaited characters and stories such as houses dedicated to HHN's very first "ghost host" (read: icon), Beetlejuice, and Netflix's critically acclaimed horror series, "The Haunting of Hill House." Numerous scares both out on the streets and in the haunted houses had our frog legs hopping several inches off the ground. Whether you're a seasoned "Maniac" or a newbie conquering the fog for the very first time, you'll no doubt end the night with a big ol' clown smile plastered across your face.
For many years running, Halloween Horror Nights Orlando has won Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for Best Halloween Experience. To get you ready for the nation's premier scare event, we bring you everything we know about Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights. Keep reading to learn what you should expect and how to navigate this popular event!
Halloween Horror Nights 2021 Dates & Best Times to Visit
The event runs select nights from September through November at Universal Studios Florida. This year, Halloween Horror Nights 30 kicked off Sept. 3 and continues until Oct. 31, 2021. It typically lasts from 6:30 p.m. until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m (with October dates running an hour later than September dates). The event initially runs on weekends, then expands to include Wednesdays and Thursdays closer to Halloween. While all nights are popular, the crowds generally increase as it gets closer to Halloween. Halloween Horror Nights is taking place on the following dates in 2021:
- Sept. 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30
- Oct. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
Best Dates to Visit Halloween Horror Nights
Unlike many other fall theme park events that generally bring in families for one night, Halloween Horror Nights Orlando scares up a good portion of guests, especially locals, who attend multiple nights throughout the season to experience the fear over and over. The nature of the event and the number of locals have a significant impact on crowds. Saturdays are the busiest nights, with Friday nights not too far behind them. The very best nights to attend as far as crowds go are Wednesdays. It is nearly impossible to see everything in one night without upgrading your experience (which we'll get into later). Still, picking the best night to attend, as well as following our tips below, will help you see and do as much as you can.
Halloween Horror Nights Tickets 2021
It's important to note that Halloween Horror Nights 2021 is a separately ticketed event. It will not get you into the theme parks during regular hours. No need to worry, though! We offer discount tickets for Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure or Universal's Volcano Bay if you want to visit during the day. Universal Studios Florida generally closes at 5 p.m. for those not staying for the event (though Universal's Islands of Adventure will maintain its normal closing time if you have a park-to-park ticket and would like to hop). You'll also need regular park admission if you want to take advantage of Halloween Horror Nights early entry (more on this below). And don't froget, you can book your discount hotel through us too! If you can't get enough screams in one night, there are multi-night tickets available directly through Universal Orlando. HHN Express passes, R.I.P. tours and Behind-the-Screams tours are also available now.
Universal announced that guests who purchased tickets or packages for the canceled Halloween Horror Nights 2020 event and did not request a full refund are able to use their tickets or packages to visit the 2021 event. In order to use these entitlements, guests can bring their 2020 event ticket to the Universal Studios entrance for admission on a 2021 date that is valid for their ticket type. Blockout dates apply and access may be restricted due to capacity. Guests who choose to use their tickets or packages can call 877-801-9720 for further assistance.
Halloween Horror Nights Orlando Houses & Strategy
The biggest draw of the event each year is the haunted houses. It takes months to construct these movie set-quality houses, and each one has a different theme. We probably don't have to tell you that lines can get very long for this event! If you want to make the most of your evening, you need to decide what is important to you. Do you want to just focus on houses? Would you like to see a few houses and the show? Would you just like to ride attractions since the wait times for them will be low? Since the houses are what most people come for — and see the highest waits! — they are our first priority.
We recommend getting to the park at least 45 minutes ahead of the official opening at 6:30 p.m. to make the most of your time. Typically, Universal opens the gates earlier than the official starting time. (If you're staying at one of the Universal Orlando Resort properties — Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal's Aventura Hotel or Universal's Endless Summer — take advantage of the priority entrance gate until 8 p.m. to get in more quickly.) In our experience, the gates begin to open for guests between 5:30 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.
The very best way to do more at the event is to take advantage of Halloween Horror Nights Early Entry, also known as Stay and Scream. You'll need regular park admission and a Halloween Horror Nights ticket to do this, but many of you will already be spending the day in the parks, so why not take advantage? We've written a full post on how Halloween Horror Nights Early Entry works. This year, we were able to knock out two houses before the event officially started at 6:30 p.m (on a Thursday night in September).
Because of the number of houses and the popularity of the event, it is impossible to see them all in one night. We recommend choosing four or five must-do houses and get those in first. Then, see if you have any time left after you’ve checked them off the list. Those of you who are staying in the park or arriving ahead of the official opening could do five, six or perhaps even more houses. If you want to experience everything, either purchase a Halloween Horror Nights Express Pass (only sold through Universal), plan on visiting Halloween Horror Nights multiple nights or opt for a R.I.P. Tour (only sold through Universal).
Here's a look at the Halloween Horror Nights 30 houses:
After debuting as an exclusive surprise during Halloween weekend in 2020, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, BEETLEJUICE is coming to haunt, taunt and send you screaming out of the Maitlands' home. Wander checkerboard hallways and succumb to your fate in the Lost Souls Room. Stroll through the model graveyard and let loose in Dante's Inferno. Crash a dinner party you'll never forget and witness the wedding of the century. The classic Tim Burton film is coming to life — more horrifying and Hell-arious than ever!
While this is unquestionably the least scary of all the houses, it's no doubt one of the most fun. As soon as you step inside, you're greeted by the Ghost with the Most himself, and before you know it, you're trying to keep your balance in a tunnel that's spiraling around you. (Hold on to the handrails! We'd suggest skipping this house if you're prone to vertigo.) Along the way, you encounter Adam, Barbara, Lydia and even the doomed Miss Argentina. The final scare in the house is a monster treat for fans of the film so don't be so quick to run out before you see it lit up!
The Haunting of Hill House
Welcome to Hill House. Full of decaying remains, this aging mansion lives — even if all of its inhabitants are long dead. In this haunted house inspired by Netflix's "The Haunting of Hill House," each unsettling room and darkened hallway takes you deeper and deeper into your greatest fears. Encounter infamous ghosts, including the Tall Man, the Bent-Neck Lady, the Ghost in the Basement and more. Step foot in the dreaded Red Room where only the sound of your own screams awaits you. Walk in the footsteps of the Crain family as you either escape the estate's eternal stranglehold or succumb to the house's powerful forces, leaving you to wander the endless halls forever ... alone.
If there's one house that had our hearts pounding long after we exited it, it's this one. Mike Flanagan's artistry and mastery of horror is on full display in this breathtaking homage to the limited series. Be prepared to walk through not one, but two pitch-black hallways, endure the iconic storm that shook the Crain family forever, evade the grasp of the rotting corpse of Edward Hill and experience the terror Nell felt being haunted by her own heartbreaking future. The best effect of the event goes to the revolting pregnant belly near the end of this house. The best scare of the event goes to the terrifying Tall Man who shows up in three different places in three equally spine-tingling ways.
Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives
As one of two houses that were open to daytime guests at Universal Studios Florida last year, Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives picks up where the 1935 classic film "The Bride of Frankenstein" left off. Enter the ruins of the tower that came crashing down over Frankenstein's monster and his bride and watch in horror as she attempts to bring him back to life by any means necessary. Get caught in a frenzied battle between the Bride of Frankenstein and the Brides of Dracula, who she imprisons and drains in hopes of reanimating her lost love. The Bride is honing her ungodly genius one harvested body part at a time. Be careful ... because she might just need one of yours.
The Brides of Dracula get in some solid scares as they're being locked up and killed by the Bride of Frankenstein in this beautifully lit house that brings you straight into the aftermath of the sci-fi/horror favorite. We especially loved the opening facade as you enter the decrepit laboratory and the electrifying finale that reunites the Monster and his mate. Universal Monsters fans will even get a kick out of various Easter eggs hidden around the tower.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
That horrific sound could only mean one thing. You're about to come face-to-face with Leatherface and his cannibalistic family. From the dilapidated gas station to that eerie, old farmhouse, you'll witness unimaginable horrors around every corner. Explore the familiar rooms of the Sawyer house where you'll be chased by cannibals with carving knives, meat cleavers, meat hooks and, of course, that roaring, lacerating, flesh-tearing chainsaw. It's time to experience the 1974 film for yourself, and hopefully, leave in one piece.
With no chainsaws chasing us through Springfield this year, this house more than makes up for that fact. There's no escaping Leatherface and his weapon of choice as this mass murderer appears in almost every corner of this maze — threatening to slice you apart. Fans of this franchise definitely won't be disappointed.
Halloween Horror Nights Icons: Captured
Enter the "Hell of Fame," a nightmarish menagerie of HHN icons from the past 30 years including the Caretaker, the Storyteller, Fear, the Director, Lady Luck, the Usher, Chance and the Clown Prince of Pain himself, Jack. Cross paths with their tormented victims, as well as their demonic super fans, as you make your way through this first-of-its-kind house of horrors. Who is truly the most horrific host? Dare to return time and again to see a new icon crowned supreme monster of ceremonies.
As soon as we entered this house and saw the glorious facade that was Fear's Lantern, we knew we were in for a treat. All of the icons get a chance to shine in here, and each scene is beautifully themed to match its respective resident. Our favorite segment had to be the Usher's. We were pleasantly surprised by the delicious popcorn scent and thoroughly creeped out by the cheery "Let's All Go to the Lobby" song. In the last room, a new icon takes the throne every few hours, but we were all too hoppy to see our favorite red-nosed creature of chaos rightfully reigning when we walked through.
Welcome to Scarey: Horror in the Heartland
If you've been to Halloween Horror Nights before, Carey, Ohio should sound familiar. This creepy small town (the actual hometown of one of the original HHN designers) has been the setting for many a house and scare zone over the last 30 years. A beacon for all things creepy, crawling, demonic, supernatural and downright horrifying, Carey is home to some of the most terrifying monsters you'll ever meet. Stroll through the streets of this sleepy little haunt and try your absolute hardest to make it out of here alive. Few people do.
Cindy Caine. H.R. Bloodengutz. Meaty Meetz. If those names mean anything to you, then this is the house for you. A classic callback to HHN's past, Welcome to Scarey takes you through some of the event's greatest hits. Venture through the Wyandot Estate, the Good Harvest Orphanage, Hellgate Prison and so much more as you try to escape this cursed village. Oh ... and keep your guard up all the way through. Don't think you're safe just because you see the exit.
Case Files Unearthed: Legendary Truth
Legendary Truth: The Collective is a paranormal research group that studies the evil that has made its way to Halloween Horror Nights year after year. Back in 2010, Legendary Truth invited you to explore the Wyandot Estate, one of the most haunted mansions in the world. This year, you're being granted access to the classified case files of the organization's founder, Boris Shuster, P.I. Beware! This investigation into the supernatural is about to lead you to the underworld of ghastly ghouls and blood-thirsty beasts.
This is possibly the best house to take residence in Soundstage 4-D (aka the Shrek Theater). Travel through time into some of the famous gumshoe's most iconic cases as you come face-to-face with creepy creatures and dastardly demons. The set design in here is truly immaculate, and the noir vibe is the icing on the cake. The coolest thing about this house, though, might just be the fact that you get to enter Shuster's office that guests pass by every day on Delancey Street. (Next time you're in the New York area of the park, look up at the windows!)
The Wicked Growth: Realm of the Pumpkin
Every year on All Hallows Eve, the Pumpkin Lord takes his throne among the unyielding vines of his ever-growing crop. As the fateful day looms closer, the Pumpkin Lord's loyal minions scour the countryside — collecting unwilling sacrifices in order to summon their formidable leader. Enter the haunting cemetery and make your way to the ferocious forest where the ruthless Pumpkin Lord is waiting for you. As the pumpkins grow larger, your odds of escaping grow smaller. An evil rot has taken root and there's no breaking free.
A witch brewing a potion. A grim reaper guarding the entrance to a tomb. A thousand jack-o-lanterns lighting your way. It doesn't get much more Halloween-y than this. Wicked Growth is a classic HHN house with the scrumptious scent of pumpkins filling the air and a truly gourd-geous facade. This merciless maze — which includes a bridge where you'll definitely want to watch your step — is impressive all the way through, but the finale is truly something special.
Puppet Theatre: Captive Audience
After a year of waiting in the wings, the curtain is finally rising on Puppet Theatre: Captive Audience. Travel back in time to the early 1900s and enter through the stage door of the abandoned Grandeur Theatre in San Francisco. An Eastern European puppet troupe, a ballet troupe and an audience of paying theatre-goers have been trapped here by a ground-shattering earthquake ... and the performers have started to go a little mad. They've already made living marionettes out of the unfortunate patrons and now have their sights set on you. Make your way through the green room, rehearsal hall, orchestra pit and auditorium as you attempt to evade these deranged thespians and keep your limbs intact. Make haste because time is running out — and the walls are quickly caving in.
A theatre geek's dream ... or should we say nightmare? This house is absolutely stunning and insanely creative when it comes to concept, costume and set design. It even has a distinct smell! The scare actors breathe life into this decaying theater, and each room is truly more impressive than the next. We have to give a special shoutout to the remarkable facade, which has a crazy amount of detail and beautifully captures the location and era.
Revenge of the Tooth Fairy
The second of the two houses that were open to daytime guests at Universal Studios Florida last year, Revenge of the Tooth Fairy flies into Halloween Horror Nights once again. The yellow-clawed fiends that have overtaken the Westhorne manor will do anything to get ahold of your pearly whites — and that includes extracting them by force as you squirm in pain. No man, woman or child is safe from these goblin-esque fairies as they lurk in the shadows, collecting their bounty. It's an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth ... and screaming will only alert these fearsome fairy tale creatures to your presence.
What begins as a word of caution turns into a tale of terror as you step through a storybook and into young James' home. What makes this maze unique isn't just the beautiful black-and-white pop-up pages at the beginning, but the unnerving narration that guides you throughout the house where scares range from the mansion's mutilated inhabitants to the freaky fairies themselves. These petrifying pixies tend to lurk in the most unexpected of places, so keep your eyes open and your mouth closed.
Halloween Horror Nights Orlando Park Map
Here's the official map for Halloween Horror Nights 2021! Keep in mind that the queues get quite long for the houses closest to the front gates. Waits for houses in the back of the park are shorter early in the evening but build throughout the night.
Halloween Horror Nights Scare Zones & Shows
Second to the houses, but central to the terror, are the street experiences, more commonly referred to as "scare zones." The scare zones are in various open areas of the park with their own sets, sounds and, yes, even scents. Expect to be terrified and harassed by creatures of the night. These scare actors come out of nowhere and have no illusions about respecting your personal space (although they are not allowed to touch you, and you are not allowed to touch them)!
Halloween Horror Nights Scare Zones
The delightfully devious monsters from Crypt TV have made their way out of your screens and onto the streets of San Francisco. Be on the lookout for infamous fiends including the Look-See, Sunny Family Cult, Harclaw, Miss Annity, the Girl in the Woods, the Door in the Woods, Itsy Bitsy, Soot, Milk & Cookies, Shelley and the Birch.
If you're not familiar with the creatures of Crypt, you're about to be. Each set piece and costume is marvelously crafted and brings you right into the world of these menacing monsters. We didn't see any scare actors roaming around in here but this scare zone is proof some things can be terrifying even when they're standing right in front of you.
30 Years, 30 Fears
Now that you've entered, there's no turning back. Production Central, as always, is home to the very first scare zone you'll encounter, and this time, the malevolent monsters from HHN's past have taken over. Jack, Lady Luck, the Storyteller, Chance and all of their fearsome fellow icons have returned — and they can't wait to scare the living daylights out of you once again.
We truly can't think of a better welcome to HHN than raging metal music, bright bursts of pyro, sinister stilt-walkers, devilish dancers and, yes, that iconic and blinding fog. This scare zone is short but perfectly nostalgic as posters of your favorite icons welcome you back to Halloween Horror Nights for its petrifying pearl anniversary.
Seek And Destroy
The Controller sees all on the embattled streets of New York. A ruthless alien cyber regime has taken over and their renewable energy source is downright terrifying. Humans have become fuel in this apocalyptic city, leaving you with only two options: Submit to the Controller or be destroyed.
If you've ever wondered what it's like to crash land in one of those dystopian futures you've read about in books or seen in movies, this scare zone is the closest you'll get to that feeling. An army of faceless soldiers patrols the streets with clubs and chainsaws while the Controller and his cyborg queen recruit loyal subjects from the stage. This simple yet effective scare zone is incredibly innovative and quite possibly our favorite of the event.
The Terra Queen is back ... and she's coming to reclaim her throne and remake the world in her terrifying image. Sixteen years after the horrific sacrifices of Terra Cruentus, you're invited to return to the Gorewood Forest in Central Park, a realm of transformation where the queen's menacing minions are on the hunt for fresh blood to feed her ever-growing power.
From hidden tree-dwellers to people-sized rats, the creatures that lurk in the fog of the forest are truly terra-fying. The pièce de résistance of this scare zone, though, is the ruthless ruler herself who stands on her pedestal, daring you to enter her domain. Walk through here when the sun sets as the trees become illuminated with the glow of human lifeblood.
Lights, Camera, Hacktion: Eddie's Revenge
After last appearing at HHN 25, Jack's brother, Eddie, has returned and transformed the streets of Hollywood into his own personal film set. On a mission to make the goriest sequel "La La Land" has ever seen, he has cast vampires, evil clowns, creatures from the watery depths and other gruesome beings from past events. Get ready for your short — and painful — cameo.
Invasion. Vamp 55. Treaks and Foons. These are just a few of the former scare zones Eddie has brought back with him to help him seek his revenge. The neglected icon may be the centerpiece of this scare zone but he's surrounded by some of the best characters HHN has to offer. This area is chaotically delightful, wonderfully nostalgic and, of course, filled with the satisfying sound of chainsaws.
Halloween Horror Nights Shows
Marathon of Mayhem: Carnage Factory
There’s no manufacturing the screams in this fear factory. A terrifying show that celebrates the top names in horror and HHN history will come to life each night in Universal Studios’ lagoon leaving you with images that will forever haunt your nightmares.
A horror rock opera celebrating ghosts, gore and all things ghastly, Carnage Factory is a feast for the eyes and ears. In his quest to extract your fear, Jack brings along his fellow icons, unleashes Universal's Monsters, welcomes you to Hill House and sends chainsaw-wielding Leatherface chasing after you. The water effects are top-notch (especially when they turn red emulating blood gushing out of the lagoon) and the metal remixes that provided the soundtrack had us banging our heads all the way through.
Halloween Nightmare Fuel
A fiery new show is igniting Halloween Horror Nights, featuring nocturnal creatures, aerialists of the night and frightful fire performers. Heads will roll at this epic performance set to pulse-pounding rock, metal and electronica music that might just be loud enough to drown out the screams.
Nightmare Fuel tells the story of a young man trying to escape the horrors that haunt him in his sleep. The stage is literally set ablaze as incredible performers take you inside the man's darkest nightmares with rockin' dance moves and mind-blowing magic tricks that will leave your jaw hanging. This show is not to be missed — and a great way to rest your feet for half an hour!
Halloween Horror Nights Orlando Food and Beverages
Universal really brought the heat in 2019 when it came to HHN-themed treats and snacks! Having had a full two years to perfect the delectable dishes for this year's event, the culinary team did not disappoint. Once again, you can munch on the iconic Pizza Fries (crinkle-cut fries topped with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and sausage) and its newer sister snack, the S'mores Fries (sweet potato fries, marshmallow, chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbs) — both of which can be found at KidZone Pizza Company.
As always, many of the houses even have their own dedicated food kiosk and this year's booths are deliciously promising. The fiendish Tooth Fairies are coming for our cavities with sweet treats such as Monte Cristo Waffle Sticks and Shattered Glass Candied Apples. Jack the Clown is serving up circus-themed favorites, including Dr. Pinetti's Confetti Battered Oreos and Tiny's Twinkies. The Crain family is hosting a tea party from Hell with items such as Jalapeño Popper Sandwiches and Luke's Grilled Cheese. The Pumpkin Lord has cooked up some gourd-themed grub in the form of Pumpkin Guts and Field of Screams Gyoza. Just look at that Jack'd Donut Slider!
What about alcoholic beverages, you ask? Well, there's plenty of liquid courage concoctions making their debut at this year's event. We've already tried the Arnold Palmer-based Poison Tea Party and the refreshing and fruity Ghoul Juice (both of which have a hint of allspice in them) and can't wait to come back for the Blood Orange Cider and Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk Stout Beer Floats. For the fearless teens, Fanta has created three exclusive Flavorween mixes for the event that you'll be able to get at Coca-Cola Freestyle machines around the park: Fanta Grape Goblin, Fanta Orange Jack-O-Lantern and Fanta Strawberry Scary Skull.
Stop by Universal Studios' Classic Monster Cafe where the Bride of Frankenstein has taken over and is serving up classic German dishes such as Reibekuchen (potato pancakes with applesauce) and beautifully dichromatic ice cream cones, as well as the Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store for desserts galore, including Graveyard Cupcakes and Pumpkin Cocoa Bombs.
Halloween Horror Nights Orlando Merchandise
Each year, the event’s merchandise typically features all of the haunted houses and scare zones, so you’ll be sure to find a nice memento (whether it’s a T-shirt or a souvenir cup) for Halloween Horror Nights Orlando 2021. Look for T-shirts and other ghoulish delights in the Tribute Store in Universal Studios Florida which will open closer to the start of the event or, if you're already feeling the spooky spirit, head over to the Five and Dime store in the Hollywood section of the park to grab shirts, posters, backpacks and more from the HHN preview merchandise display.
Also, travel to the Lost Continent over in Islands of Adventure where you'll find the brand-new All Hallows Eve Boutique. This new merchandise spot is like a mini Tribute Store — complete with jack-o-lanterns and skeletons around every corner — and is the perfect place to pick up T-shirts celebrating some of this year’s Halloween Horror Nights houses including Beetlejuice and the famous HHN icons, as well as cups, hats, socks, blankets and pumpkin spice sauces. You can even create your very own scented wax candle here!
Halloween Horror Nights Orlando Special Experiences
Here are some of the special experiences that will hoppen during Halloween Horror Nights 30.
An old friend has made his terrifying comeback. The most notorious icon in HHN history, Jack the Clown, has returned to scare the living daylights out of us frogs! This year, he's popping up where you least expect with him with surprise "Jack Attacks" that will send you running for your life. Nowhere is safe, as Jack's ominous and unrelenting presence will infiltrate every corner of the event — from the streets to the houses to places you will never expect in your wildest nightmares. We were lucky enough to catch him in his brother's scare zone, Lights, Camera, Hacktion: Eddie's Revenge. It was so much fun watching him interact with the crowd — aka, his loyal "Maniacs" — and be as chaotically unhinged as we remember him!
Also, it's definitely worth it to get to the park before the gates open as Jack addresses the crowd via mega-phone and welcomes everyone back to Halloween Horror Nights. Get a good spot at the center turnstiles because, while you can hear him, you won't be able to see him from the sides.
Halloween Horror Nights at Cabana Bay Beach Resort
You won't just find Jack at the event itself. Universal Orlando Resort hotel guests have access to an all-new, limited-time "Jack'd Up" experience at Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Here, you can get a closer look into the world of Jack and some sinister environments inspired by his past invasions of Halloween Horror Nights. Additionally, the hotel's Swizzle Lounge lobby bar has transformed into the "Horror Icons Bar" and features specialty beverages and snacks inspired by the event's most infamous icons, as well as props and costumes that pay an eerie homage to HHN past.
R.I.P. and Behind the Screams: Unmasking the Horror Tours
Those looking for an enhanced Halloween Horror Nights experience might consider these special tours that take you through the gauntlet of ghastly creatures and a multitude of menacing maniacs. The R.I.P. Tour is a guided experience that grants V.I.P. access to everything Halloween Horror Nights has to offer. The tour includes one-time entry to all of the houses, reserved seating at select shows, Universal Express for one-time use on each attraction (weather permitting) and admission to the exclusive R.I.P. Lounge with cash bar locations throughout the tour.
The Behind the Screams: Unmasking the Horror Tour gives guests a unique, lights-on look into the Art & Design team’s process as they transform our deepest fears into haunted houses. Guests can choose from Behind the Screams: 3-House Unmasking the Horror Tour (two and a half hours, morning or afternoon) or a Behind the Screams: 6-House Unmasking the Horror Tour (four to five hours). The tours give you the chance to see houses with the lights on and a chance to photograph every gory detail of select houses.
Rides Open During Halloween Horror Nights
While most of the focus of the night is on horror, some of the rides are open too. Waits are very low during this time, so it's a great way to experience them if you don't care as much about the houses. (Note that the regular Express Pass does not work during Halloween Horror Nights — if you want to skip the ride lines during the event, you'll need an HHN Express Pass.)
These are the rides that will remain open during Halloween Horror Nights 30:
- TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3D
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Revenge of the Mummy
- Men in Black Alien Attack
Note: Some of the rides may close up to two hours prior to the end of the event. For example, Diagon Alley, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3D and Rip Ride Rockit usually close early.
Our Top Tips for Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
Buy your tickets in advance!
Halloween Horror Nights requires a separate ticket from regular theme park admission. Make sure to purchase in advance (bonus: you can save money too). You don't want to have to wait in any more lines than you have to!
Consider an Express Pass only if hitting all 10 houses in one night is a priority
We always get asked if the Express Passes are worth it. Our answer is that it really depends on when you're going and if you want to hit all 10 houses in one night. We'd definitely recommend it on Fridays and Saturdays in October, especially closer to Halloween. Wednesdays and Thursdays are less busy days, and if you take advantage of early entry (see our next tip!), you have a better chance of hitting all 10 houses without an Express Pass.
Universal does sell Express Passes at kiosks throughout the park. So if you change your mind while you're there, you have that last-minute opportunity. You can also buy an Express Pass that's half the original price but it only works after 11 p.m. Just keep in mind that both of these Express Pass options are subject to availability.
Get to the park early
We can't stress this enough: Arriving early is the single best way to ensure you make the most of your night. The event typically begins at 6:30 p.m., but Universal often lets guests in up to half an hour early. Universal Resort hotel guests also have a dedicated line from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the left side of the entrance. Even better is staying in the park after it closes for early entry, so you can hit a few houses before it gets super busy later at night.
Leave the kids at the hotel
Lily always stays at home for Halloween Horror Nights. This event is too intense for young children. It is not recommended for those under age 13. Leave them with a sitter service or at the resort's children's activity center.
Leave your costumes and masks at home
Universal won't let you in with them. Plus there are enough costumed creatures inside the park!
Dress light and stay hydrated
Is it just us, or is September in Orlando hotter than ever before? Despite taking place mostly after dark, we were still sweating our lil' frog legs off all weekend at Halloween Horror Nights 30. Wear cool, comfortable clothes.
On top of being deceptively hot and humid, Halloween Horror Nights is a pretty intense event. Bring a water bottle to make staying cool a breeze and save money. Only bottled water is available.
Only take the necessities
As with any visit to Universal, you will go through metal detectors ... so we always recommend traveling as light as you can, but this holds especially true for Halloween Horror Nights 30. When walking through crowded haunted houses and being spooked by scare actors in the streets, you won't want to be hauling too much with you. We recommend a small bag that securely closes ... you don't want anything important spilling out when you jump in fright!
Have a plan
This is absolutely key to this event, especially if you want to see most of the houses. Plan in advance what your priorities are. Map out your evening based on where and when you'll be starting.
You'll find snacks for sale, as well as alcohol in abundance, throughout the park. Look for carts set up along the streets. Lines for food and drinks can get long at times! Fuel up before you leave or early in the evening, and you can spend more time getting the daylights scared out of you.
Here are the Halloween Horror Nights Orlando 2021 dining options (in addition to food and beverage carts):
- TODAY Cafe
- Universal Studios Classic Monsters Café
- Bone Chillin'
- Jack’s Place and Carnival Courtyard
- Finnegan's Bar & Grill
- Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
- Louie's Italian Restaurant
- Richter's Burger Co.
- Mel's DIE-IN (Mel's Drive-In)
- Beverly Hills Boulangerie
- The Fountain of Fair Fortune
- Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour
- The Hopping Pot
- Fast Food Boulevard
- KidZone Pizza Company
Splurge on snacks
If you have time to dedicate to fun food and drinks, check out the event-exclusive goodies, such as this Bride of Frankenstein Oreo Mini Cake. Eating (and Instagramming, TBH) these goodies is always enjoyable.
Watch out for the creatures of the night!
If you want to avoid the street creatures, although we can't imagine why you'd want to, they largely stick to the streets and leave guests on the sidewalks alone.
Respect the scare actors
Last but not least, please remember that the scare actors are people too! No matter how monstrous they may seem, the scare actors will not actually touch or hurt you ... so please treat them with the same respect! Keep your hands, food, drinks and any unkind words to yourself for the best experience for everyone involved. This event is all about having FUN! Avoid using flash to photograph any "creatures" in the scare zones, and just ask if you really feel the need. They'll usually be happy to pose for (or with!) you.
Are you planning on attending Halloween Horror Nights Orlando in 2021? What questions do you have for us about the event? Share in the comments below.
Related: Halloween Horror Nights Early Entry