Amidst sweltering heat and hurricane warnings, Universal Studios Orlando hosts an annual scream fest dubbed Halloween Horror Nights. On 48 select nights of the 2023 year, thousands mill around the park, entering the creepiest haunted houses, while petrifying scare actors roam about the grounds, looking for the weakest guests to startle with chainsaws, screams, and the good old-fashioned scare tactics.
Our Guide to Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
Prepare yourself for the ultimate horror experience. Halloween Horror Nights hasn't been named Best Halloween Event by Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards for thirteen years for nothing. Here is a comprehensive guide to surviving this year's Halloween Horror Nights Orlando from a seasoned Halloween Horror Night patron.
Haunted House Breakdowns
This year, ten thematic haunted houses sprawl throughout Universal Studios Orlando. Popular television media such as The Last of Us and Stranger Things inspired two pop-ups thanks to their million dedicated viewers tuning in to the shows upon release. Older cult classic horror icons appear, such as Chucky, Universal Monsters—Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the Phantom of the Opera—and the notorious head spinner, Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist.
The Exorcist Believer
In preparation for The Exorcist: Believer, a cinematic continuation of the beloved 1973 film, Universal Studios Orlando invites attendees to traverse through scenes pulled from the new film. The haunted house's storyline follows two missing girls who wake up without any memory of their past. However, a sinister spirit lurks among them. Can you crack the case and find out what demon inhabits them?
Stranger Things 4
Considering Stranger Things 4 broke viewership records upon release, Universal capitalizes on its popularity with a haunted house based on the ultimate evil-doer in the universe, Vecna. Grab your friends and wade through the spookiest season of Stranger Things. Channel your inner Eleven, stop Vecna, and undo his curse before he destroys the universe and captures your group.
Universal Monsters: Unmasked
Four esteemed Universal Monsters resurface for an appearance in a dimly lit, petrifying house this spooky season. Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, the Invisible Man, the Phantom of the Opera, and the Hunchback of Notre Dame found their way into Paris' Catacombs. It just so happens you are there too. Battle the monsters and figure your way out of the underground mausoleum. Just ensure they don't follow you out.
Oddfellow's Twisted Origins
Dr. Oddfellow— this year's icon and the former boss of Jack the Clown— opens up his display of circus toys and tools to passersby brave enough to enter. He's not a doctor at all, yet a ringmaster who pleads for immortal life. Remain on high alert as his appetite for souls increases daily.
Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count
Chucky is here, and he wants to play… with you. The red-headed, overall-wearing demonic doll gestures for you to enter a haunted house that he set up and rigged to contribute to his ultimate kill count. Pay attention to traps, tricks, and ghoulish pranks in order to exit the other side of the house unharmed.
Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate
Six years following the closure of the Dueling Dragons Roller Coaster, the concept returns to delight visitors. The events of this haunted house occur years after the original events of the ride— two dragons (Blizzrock, the ice dragon, and Pyrock, the fire dragon) destroyed a castle in their land, the Lost Continent. This year's haunted house reveals two warlocks morphed into dragons after attempting to steal Merlyn's spell book. Your group chooses a designated path and a winner.
YETI: Campground Kills
Behind every camping excursion is a devilish creature determined to disrupt your outing. YETI: Campground Kills features a time jump back to the 1950s and a gargantuan, wooly YETI on the hunt for humans. Avoid his line of sight and dart to the ranger tower for a seamless escape.
The Last of Us
As the world consumed The Walking Dead, another zombie franchise spoke to stans. The Last of Us video game originated in 2013 and quickly gained a cult following with four more released games, including remasters and remakes, and a sensational HBO original series that aired earlier this year. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey star in the post-apocalyptic tale of two survivors tasked with an essential mission. Waltz through the weedy wilderness in this haunted house, but be wary of Clickers and Hunters.
The Darkest Deal
Would you sell your soul for a chance at fame? Pinestraw Spruce, a Blues guitarist and singer, couldn't handle the anticipation of rising to fame, so he met with The Collector, who promised him a life of notoriety for the cheap price of his soul. Watch as Pinestraw Spruce learns where all the musicians who sell their souls end up.
Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings
Do you worship the moon? What about a blood moon that signals you to attack anyone who doesn't share the same devotion toward the celestial body as you? Colonial Era citizens observed a blood moon during their annual Fall Festival, which directed them to target the undevout. Their stakes point toward you.
You may think tiptoeing from one haunted house to the other guarantees safety, remiss of howls and haunts. However, with five scare zones planted throughout Universal Studios Orlando, you're not free of scares anywhere. Each scare zone capitalizes on Dr. Oddfellow's history and legacy this year.
Oddfellow's Collection of Horror
Dr. Oddfellow welcomes visitors into Halloween Horror Nights with a trick promising immortality. As naive believers fall into his chicanery, he unveils the evil he plans to unleash.
This ringmaster preys on the souls of the living with the help of the Zodiac. He sets the Zodiac's power against visitors to gravitate toward a life of immortality and continue to feast on innocent souls to gain power.
Jungle of Doom: Expedition of Horror
A hundred years ago, Dr. Oddfellow decided to plunge into the jungle. While immersed in nature, he began experimenting with wildlife to create his visions of perfection. In this scare zone, the creatures escape the jungle with one target. You.
Vamp '69: Summer of Blood
Music festivals highlight musical talent, strange fashion, and good food. At this 1960s New York music festival, Dr. Oddfellow summoned his pack of hungry vampires and sent them into the crowd.
Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged
Here, we jump back to the 1940s, where numerous barrels and crates branded with Dr. Oddfellow's symbol appear in a San Francisco shipyard. A few moments after arriving, the creatures break out of their restraints and hunt you down.
Death Eaters Encounter
New for this year's event is the chance to see the dark side of magic in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Death Eaters are making their first appearance at Universal Orlando this year. The encounter features Voldemort's minions creeping throughout Diagon Alley, searching for other dark wizards and witches to recruit to their cause.
Specialty Themed Snacks
The food and drink offerings pull inspiration from each haunted house. This year, Stranger Things and The Last of Us inspired sundry snacks, food, and drink concoctions. A Surfer Boy Pizza Shop sits by the Christmas store in the New York area. It offers meat, vegetarian, and vegan options themed after the pizza shop from the show. Another booth features a Hellfire Club sandwich. The Last of Us has two stations in the New York area. One features ravioli and meat stew, while the other sells Cordyceps Corndogs (Korean Cheese Corn Dogs), Twisted taters (seasoned with ghost pepper and various salts), and “infected” taters (tater tots with porcini powder).
Chucky brings a spicy item to the menu: Fried Til' the End Chicken, which is fried chicken bathed in hot sauce and decorated with ranch. Dr. Oddfellow entrances customers with Dr. Oddfellow's Carn” Evil” Dog, a hot dog placed in a confetti bun, topped with a Kool-Aid pickle, bubblegum-flavored mustard, and a sprinkle of potato sticks.
Attendees can imbibe on refreshments from Chucky's Heart of Damballa, a blueberry bourbon agave lemonade with a splash of malbec and glitter, or a peanut butter smuggler mocktail, a non-alcoholic indulgence of peanut butter, jelly, and honey. Murray from Stranger Things has a specialty cocktail at Stellar Bar in Music Plaza consisting of Brain Tonic, New Amsterdam Vodka, peach brandy, triple sec, club soda, grapefruit juice, and lemon bitters.
Tickets and Hours for HHN 32
Halloween Horror Nights runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 4, and prices range from $79.99 to $109.99 depending on the day. Purchasing a ticket admits you into Universal Studios only with access to all the haunted houses, scare zones, shows, and rides that may be open that night. Shows and ride availability can change based on weather, staff, or park procedures.
The cemetery gates creak open at 6:30 p.m. each night and shutter at 2 a.m. One option to maximize your experience is a Scream Early Ticket. For $40 on top of event admission, you can meander the park from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and then merge into a group at 5 p.m. to await the opening of Halloween Horror Nights.
Parking and Extras
Parking is $30 per vehicle before midnight and free after midnight during HHN events. Premier Passholders who normally access valet parking for free can choose valet parking on HHN nights for $40. Private tours, daytime tours, and Frequent Fear Passes are also available for purchase starting at $179.99. These tours allow interested buyers to get a behind-the-scenes look at the haunts and visit multiple times over the season.
Safety at HHN 32
Although Halloween Horror Nights centers on scaring guests and all the happenings of the Halloween season, safety is a priority for the event organizers. Guests and scare actors can't touch each other, so the worst that can happen is your heart rate increases, and you sprint a little faster than expected.
If you experience any illness or terror you can't handle while inside a haunted house, alert a Team Member. They tend to stand in corners throughout each haunted house. This goes for scare zones also. Fewer scare actors tread on the sidewalk since fewer people occupy that space at night. If you must avoid as many scare actors as possible, opt for a stroll on the sidewalk.