This article is the First Timers Guide to Halloween Horror Nights 2023, for all you first time scarers out there! Halloween Horror Nights Orlando is the premier Halloween event. It is the backbone of Universal Orlando and is what horror fans look forward to every single year. HHN Orlando 2023 is here and if you are on the fence about whether or not to buy those Halloween Horror Nights tickets, this is the article for you.
Halloween Horror Nights is NOT for everyone however it sounds more intimidating than it really is. To give you a little background, Before my first Halloween Horror Nights event, I thought that I would never be interested in attending, not because I’m scared but more because of how overwhelming it seems. 10 houses, 5 scare zones, live entertainment, fog, in the dark, lots of crowds. So, I get it, and if you have never been to Halloween Horror Nights and feel overwhelmed while planning you are not alone.
In this article, we will break down what you need to know to visit HHN 2023 this season and share some tips that will be helpful if this is your first Halloween Horror Nights or fifth!
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What is Halloween Horror Nights?
Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights is an annual Halloween-themed event at the Universal Studios theme parks. The event started just 1 year after Universal Studios Florida opened as “Fright Nights” in 1991. It opened as a 1 haunted house event and today in Orlando we experience 10 houses, 5 scare zones and live entertainment. It draws thousands of horror fans to the park every fall. If this is your Halloween Horror Nights first year, we got you covered. Throughout the article we will be using “HHN” so you may be wondering, “what does HHN stand for?” it’s an easy way of saying Halloween Horror Nights!
And, we’re actually all first timers here at Theme Park Today, and pretty new to the event. That’s why we thought it would be important to write a guide to help out anyone who might be feeling anxious about visiting HHN for the first time. So, make sure to check this out before purchasing tickets this year!
Halloween Horror Nights Tickets
Halloween Horror Nights is a separately ticketed event. In fact, it is one of the only holiday events that requires a separate ticket at Universal Orlando. There are various ticket options available for Horror Nights Universal 2023. Most likely if you have never been, you are going to look to purchase a single-night ticket however I will outline all the options just in case you fall in love.
What are the different Halloween Horror Nights ticket options?
Halloween Horror Nights Single-Night Ticket – Choose one night to experience terror. Prices for single night tickets range from $79.99 – $119.99. This single night ticket allows you into Universal Studios Orlando at 6:30 PM UNLESS you have a day ticket. If you have a park ticket for the day of your HHN event or a Universal Orlando annual pass, you can enter the park at any time and stay in the park through the HHN event. You are going to want to do this or buy a Scream Early Ticket which I will discuss below because the lines for HHN can be very long to enter the park and to maximize your time at the event, you want to be in the park when it all begins.
Halloween Horror Nights Scream Early Ticket ($40) – Start the thrills early at Universal Studios Florida from 3-5 pm. At 5 pm you’ll wait in a Stay & Scream area until the event begins. Event admission for the same day is required and not included.
Halloween Horror Nights Express Pass ($129.99-$229.99) – Skip the regular lines one time at all haunted houses, plus at participating rides and attractions. Event admission required and not included. Important to note here that the price of the express pass is in addition to your single night HHN ticket.
Halloween Horror Nights R.I.P Tour ($299.99 – $449.99) – Join other fans for a guided V.I.P. walking tour with Priority V.I.P. entry to haunted houses (once per house, based on itinerary) while on tour with the R.I.P. Guide.
Halloween Horror Nights Private R.I.P. Tour (call to book) – Get a guided V.I.P. walking tour with Priority V.I.P. entry to haunted houses and participating park attractions while on tour with the HHN private RIP tour guide. Separate event admission is required
Behind the Screams: Unmasking the Horror Tour (3-House tour: $119.99 – $149.99) (6-House tour: $169.99 – $199.99) – Take this daytime lights-on V.I.P. tour of 3 or 6 haunted houses. Theme park and/or event admission is not included or required to participate in a tour.
Halloween Horror Nights Rush of Fear Pass (from $179.99) – Get access to up to the first 18 event nights of HHN
Halloween Horror Nights Frequent Fear Pass (from $229.99) – Get up to 30 nights EVERY Sunday –Thursday event nights PLUS the first weekend.
Halloween Horror Nights Frequent Fear Plus Pass (from $269.99) – Get up to 40 nights every Sunday–Friday event nights PLUS the first and last Saturday event nights.
Halloween Horror Nights Ultimate Frequent Fear Pass (from $374.99) – Get up to 48 nights EVERY night of the event. Plus, get FREE Regular parking after 5pm on all event nights.
Is the HHN Express Pass worth it?
If this is your first time at Horror Nights, yes the HHN express pass is worth it. Especially if you are visiting on a weekend or closer to October 31, 2023 the event is most popular on these nights. Having the express pass means you bypass most of the lines for the houses and even attractions. My first time at HHN, I didn’t get the express pass because of the HHN express pass cost and I regretted it.
When is the Best Time to go to HHN?
The best time to go to Halloween Horror Nights are weekdays in September. This is when the crowds are the lowest. Opening weekend, holiday weekends, and closer to Halloween is when HHN gets more crowded. For us, crowds were a big factor as to why we’ve decided to hold off on going. All of those houses packed together – it seemed very overwhelming. But, with the right time for visiting HHN, it is definitely doable.
Here is a tip – If you check the ticket prices, the dates with the lowest prices, are the least crowded.
Related Video: First Timers Guide to HHN
How Does Halloween Horror Nights Work?
Once you have your ticket to Halloween Horror Nights, you are all set to begin planning your night. It’s important to do research ahead of the event so you know the offerings and some tips to make the night run smoothly. With your admission ticket, you can get in line for Haunted Houses that are based on various themes like The Last of Us or Stranger Things 4. You can walk through scare zones which are located around the park on the streets where scare actors are stationed to scare you as you walk by. You can see the Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream show or grab a themed snack from one of the food booths located through out the park.
Is Halloween Horror Nights Scary?
This question is a tough one to answer because everyone is different. Personally, it seems pretty intense for those who don’t like jump-scares, flashing lights, fog effects and disturbing images. BUT, what we would say though is the event is recommended for ages 13 and up. We have seen some kids younger than 13 attend. HHN is no local haunted house haunt, this is the real deal. If you are on the fence about if you can handle it, we suggest watching videos of the event to see if it is something that interests you. Feel free to take breaks as you need them. Find a nice quiet area for a HHN decompression zone like outside of the Knightbus. These breaks help a lot if you’re feeling overstimulated.
Halloween Horror Nights 2023 Haunted Houses
Haunted Houses at Horror Nights are located “behind stage” in Universal Studios Florida. This means that you will get in line inside the park but end up walking back to a sound stage or tent to enter the haunted house. The houses are essentially haunted mazes where you and your scream squad will walk through and see amazing sets, costumes and get a few scares! Horror Nights wait times tend to get long for the haunted houses as the night goes on. Keep reading for tips on how to get the most done without the express pass. The house themes change every year. There are typically 3-4 Intellecutal Proprty (IP) houses that you will recognize from your favorite movies, games or shows and the rest are original houses that the talented Universal Creative team designs.
All HHN Houses 2023
- Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count
- Stranger Things 4
- The Last of Us
- The Exorcist: Believer
- Universal Monsters: Unmasked
- Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins
- Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate
- YETI: Campground Kills
- The Darkest Deal
- Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings
Halloween Horror Nights 2023 Scare Zones
“Scare Zones” are outdoor areas that feature theming and costumed characters with the intent of scaring people who walk through the areas. In these scare zones, you will experience the infamous “fog” that you may hear about when discussing Halloween Horror Nights. There are multiple fog machines in each scare zones that pump out a lot of fog which makes it hard to see, and easier to scare! Similar to the haunted houses, the themes of the scare zones change from year to year.
HHN Scare Zones 2023
- Vamp’69 Summer of Blood
- Dr. Oddfellow’s Collection of Horror
- Dark Zodiac
- Shipyard 32
- Jungle of Doom
Halloween Horror Nights 2023 Entertainment
The fun and horror doesn’t stop at the houses and scare zones. Halloween Horror Nights 2023 features the return of the very popular Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream with 4 shows per night. It is located in the old Fear Factor Live stage next to Diagon Alley. The show features talented dancers, pyrotechnics, and acrobats. This show is a must-see in my opinion. All 4 shows will be packed because of how popular it is so arrive 20-30 minutes early!
New to HHN this year – Death Eaters appear in Diagon Alley for the first time ever. A sinister energy will fill the air in Diagon Alley as guests encounter the villainous Death Eaters – devoted followers of Lord Voldemort who do not shy away from the practice of the Dark Arts.
Halloween Horror Nights Food Options
At HHN 2023, you have a bunch of food options. Throughout Universal Studios Florida you will see temporary food booths for Horror Nights that feature themed food and drinks exclusively for the event. We always like to “scout out” the food options ahead of time so we don’t have to walk from booth to booth trying to determine what we want to get.
Pizza Fries and Twisted Tater are the two most popular food items that return each year to Halloween Horror Nights. You can also get the iconic 20 oz. HHN blinky cup for $16.50 that allow you to get 12 oz. cocktail refills for $12.50. The most commonly found cocktails in the park are the Ghoul Juice and Electric Death. It’s important to note that these are pre-made cocktails. Our favorite treat of the 2023 HHN food options is the “Bloody Snowball” chocolate cake with marshmallow buttercream and coconut ($5.49).
If the themed food and drinks don’t strike your fancy, the good news is that some of the regular quick-service locations are open during HHN as well.
- Freeze-Ray Pops
- Minion Cafe
- Finnegan’s Bar & Grill
- Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
- Louie’s Italian Restaurant
- Richter’s Burger Co.
- Leaky Cauldron
- The Fountain of Fair Fortune
- Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour
- The Hopping Pot
- The Simpsons Fast Food Boulevard
Related Post: Best CityWalk Restaurants
Halloween Horror Nights Stay and Scream
Stay and Scream HHN is one of the most important things to know as a first timer because it can save you tons of time as it is essentially HHN early access. Stay and Scream allows for you to have the earliest access to the houses with the least amount of crowds. It is like a bonus for those already in the theme parks that day to be held in Halloween Horror Nights holding areas while Team Members transition into the night.
How do I get to do Stay and Scream at HHN?
There are 3 ways to participate in Stay & Scream:
- Have an Universal Orlando Annual Pass
- Have a day-ticket to Universal Studios Florida
- Purchase a ‘Scream Early’ Ticket for $40 (HHN admission separate) and get into Universal Studios beginning at 3 pm.
2023 Stay and Scream Locations
You MUST be in the park before 5 pm. Even if you have one of the passes above, they will not let you in the park after 5 pm. Once you are in, you will wait in designated Stay & Scream Halloween Horror Nights holding areas located around the park. The earlier you get in line for the Stay & Scream areas, the faster you will get in the houses! When you are in stay & scream zones, you can choose to walk around, grab food & drinks or get in line for the houses that participate in Stay and Scream HHN.
- Central Park/ Springfield. Houses – The Last of Us and Universal Monsters: Unmasked: scheduled to open at 5:45 pm.
- New York. Houses – Stranger Things 4, The Exorcist: Believer and Dueling Dragons. The most popular area that reached capacity by 4:30 pm. These 2 houses open at 5:15 pm.
- Richters Burger Co. House – Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count: scheduled to open at 5:45.
With Stay and Scream this year in the New York zone, we were able to get 3 houses done before the event actually started at 6:30!
Related Video: Halloween Horror Nights 2023 Event
Halloween Horror Nights Tips
Okay, so as we’ve said – we we’re actually Halloween Horror Nights first timers and really nervous about attending this event. So, that’s why we’ve compiled the best Halloween Horror Nights tips for first timers. Even though the event changes from year to year, these tips will definitely be useful for those going this year and beyond!
What are the best Halloween Horror Nights tips 2023?
- Buy tickets in advance
- Pre Plan your visit
- Dress appropriately
- Eat before HHN!
- Pack snacks
- Arrive early
- Get Express Pass
- Ride attractions
- Take breaks
- Have fun!!!
Buy your tickets in advance
Halloween Horror Nights is a popular event, and tickets often sell out quickly. To avoid disappointment, be sure to purchase your tickets in advance.
Plan your visit
Halloween Horror Nights runs on select nights from September to November, and park hours vary. Be sure to check the Universal Orlando website for the latest information on dates and times. It’s also a good idea to plan your visit in advance, so you can make the most of your time in the park. If you are reading this article to prepare, you are ahead of the game!
Not sure what to wear to Halloween Horror Nights? You will want to be first and foremost- comfortable! You will be doing a log of walking, it’s a long night. Be sure to bring some rain gear too especially if you are visiting in September. The chances of rain are high! If you are sensitive to loud noises, you may want to grab a pair of Halloween ear plugs before you go.
Eat before the Event Starts
If you are participating in Stay & Scream, you are going to want to get as many houses as you can done at the beginning of event while crowds are still low. This means that you will be standing in line. If you have a nice meal before you get in the Stay & Scream zone, you will feel good going through the houses and by the time you’re done screaming, it will be time to grab a snack.
Part of the fun at HHN is trying the themed food and drinks. However, the lines can get very long sometimes. You don’t want to get hangry… pack some snacks just in case you need something quick!
Halloween Horror Nights starts at 6:30 pm, but it’s a good idea to arrive at the park early to avoid long lines at the gate and so you can participate in Stay and Scream.
Take advantage of the express pass
The lines for the haunted houses can get quite long, especially on busy nights. If you want to maximize your time in the park, consider purchasing an express pass, which allows you to skip the lines and enjoy the attractions more quickly.
Ride Universal attractions
If you need a break from the fog, hop onto some of the attractions that are open during the event. The most popular is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
Halloween Horror Nights can be a long and intense experience, so be sure to take breaks throughout the night. You can grab a bite to eat, take in a show, or simply relax and enjoy the spooky atmosphere of the park.
Finally, remember that Halloween Horror Nights is all about having fun! While the scares can be intense, they’re all part of the experience. So, embrace the spooky atmosphere, take plenty of photos, and enjoy your time in the park!
What time does Halloween Horror Nights start?
Halloween Horror Nights officially starts at 6:30 PM. If you participate in Stay & Scream, some houses begin to open at 5:15 PM.
How late is HHN open?
Halloween Horror Nights 2023 event nights begin at 6:30 PM and closes at 2:00 AM.
Is Halloween Horror Nights scary?
HHN isn’t recommended for kids under the age of 13. In addition to jump scares, you can expect some gore, violence, and other themes that may be inappropriate for younger guests. It is the world’s premier horror event.
What to wear to Halloween Horror Nights?
Many guests wear black clothing or Halloween themed items to Halloween Horror Nights. Be sure to dress comfortably with comfortable shoes and be prepared for rain.
Can you wear costumes to Halloween Horror Nights?
Costumes are not allowed at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
What park is Halloween Horror Nights in?
Halloween Horror Nights Orlando – the world’s premier Halloween event is located in Universal Studios Florida.
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