Halloween Horror Nights Scareactor
Halloween Horror Nights 25 by Shawn Olah is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Universal Halloween Horror Nights Survival Guide for Fraidy Cats

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida is the most frightfully fun event of spooky season in Orlando, emphasis on “frightful” and “spooky.” For some people, in fact, the hair-raising haunted houses, spine-chilling scare zones and abominable scareactors at this scream-worthy special event are too terrifying to bear. However, if you’re a scaredy cat like me who likes to dabble in dread from time to time, or you’re a Halloween Horror Nights fanatic who’s trying to convince your fearful friend to go along for the ride, then this guide is for you.

Throughout this Halloween Horror Nights guide, we’re going to tackle all of the questions that you’ve been dying to ask like, “Who do the scare actors target?” (spoiler alert: it’s fraidy cats like you and me), “How can you prepare yourself for Halloween Horror Nights?” and, of course, “Exactly how scary is Halloween Horror Nights?” (It’s definitely up there.) And for those who are brave enough to give it a go, we’ll also share some tactics you can use to prepare yourself for the terror to come and hopefully make it through the evening without needing a change of clothes.

Everything Fraidy Cats Need to Know About Universal Halloween Horror Nights

For those here reading this, chances are good that you’re the type of person who sees the inside of your hands more than the action on screen when watching a horror movie. Or maybe you’re a fear-seeking fanatic who is hoping to convince your scaredy-cat friend to go along to Halloween Horror Nights with you. Whatever the case may be, this Universal Halloween Horror Nights guide will give you the knowledge and tools you need to take it on and have a great time doing it.  Well, at least we hope so, anyway.

Halloween Horror Nights 25 Scare Zone
Halloween Horror Nights 25 by Shawn Olah is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Halloween Horror Night FAQs from Fearful Folks

Still not sold on going to Universal Halloween Horror Nights? Here are a few things that you should consider.

How scary is Halloween Horror Nights?

On a scale of Scary Movie to The Exorcist, we’re going to fittingly put Halloween Horror Nights in solid Halloween territory. (That’s an 8 out of 10 for all the non-horror fans reading.) In short, between the immersively themed haunted houses and scare zones, the bone-chilling noises, the horde of marauding (and highly effective) scareactors and the eerie fog that settles over everything, it is pretty darn scary! There are (fake) blood and guts and jump scares around every corner (decidedly not fake). Needless to say, we don’t recommend it for kids younger than 13 or adults with health issues that could be exacerbated by intense situations.

Can the actors touch you at Halloween Horror Nights?

Nope! While the scare actors might be able to brandish a chainsaw at you or threaten you with an axe, rest assured that they can’t actually use it. In fact, they aren’t even allowed to touch you. The only thing they can do is their job, and their job is to scare you. Conversely, you also aren’t allowed to touch them. And if you do, you might get kicked out of Halloween Horror Nights altogether. So, even though you might feel as if you’re under attack, respect their bodies just like they are respecting yours.

Can you go to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando and not get scared?

Well, that depends on who you’re talking about. For all the fraidy cats out there, we’re sorry to say that the odds of you making it out of Halloween Horror Nights without a twinge of fear (or several) is unlikely. Of course, if you’re an avid horror buff who watches films like It and Insidious for bedtime stories, then chances are good that you can see jump scares coming from a mile away. Plus, people who don’t look like they’re easily scared are less likely to be targeted by scareactors. It’s unfair, but it’s true.

That said, while you won’t be able to avoid every scare that comes your way, there are several things you can do to be less affected by them when they happen, as well as to signal that you won’t be an easy target. Read on for our Universal Halloween Horror Nights tips for folks who are scared easily.

Halloween Horror Nights Skeletons
Halloween Horror Nights Skeletons © Universal Orlando

Universal Halloween Horror Nights Survival Tips for Scaredy Cats

Believe it or not, with a little bit of preparation, flexibility and, most importantly, a sense of humor, it is possible to have a great time at Universal Halloween Horror Nights, even if being scared isn’t really your thing. Here are some tips to help you or someone you know to navigate the thrills and chills of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.

Get Your Head in the Game with a Horror Movie Marathon

As people with phobias know, the best way to get over your fears is to face them. So, prepare yourself for the fear to come with a little horror exposure therapy. In the days leading up to your Halloween Horror Night, challenge yourself to a scary movie marathon. Experiencing the jump scares and feeling the trepidation that comes with the creepy music and other anxiety-inducing situations will help you to more easily roll with the punches (not literally, of course—remember, the scareactors can’t touch you) during the event.

Get a Shriek Peek of the Action

In the same vein, do your best to educate yourself on all the scary situations the event has to offer. After all, knowledge is power, and power means not wanting to run back to the parking garage screaming bloody murder. This can be accomplished in two different ways, and we recommend that you take advantage of both. First, take a look at the Universal Halloween Horror Nights map to get a lay of the land. Be sure to pay particular attention to the locations of the scare zones, as that’s where the bulk of the scare actors are. Although you won’t be able to avoid them entirely, you can do your best to plot a path of least resistance. Plus, just like in a horror movie that you’ve seen a few times, knowing when something scary is going to happen helps to make the moment a little less terrifying.

Similarly, if you want to try and tackle the Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses or scare zones, you’ll also want to do some research on the specific thrills each has in store. While spoilers may be the bane of our existence when it comes to TV shows or the newest Marvel movie, that isn’t the case for fraidy cats heading to Halloween Horror Nights. And don’t just read about them—pull up walkthrough videos on YouTube, too. That way, if you decide to check them out during the evening, you’ll be better equipped to face any frightening situations that may come your way. Alternatively, you’ll also be able to decide if something is a definite no-go.

Halloween Horror Nights Clown
Halloween Horror Nights 25 by Shawn Olah is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Take Advantage of the Daylight

You know how a horror movie feels especially terrifying when you watch it at night? Well, the same thing goes for Universal Halloween Horror Nights. Set yourself up for success by arriving early for the event so that you can experience part of it while it’s still light outside. Since there should still be at least a little sunshine when the gates open, use this as an opportunity to get where you want to go quickly, easily and with less anxiety than you would have experienced had you taken the same route in the dark.

Seeing everything in the daytime also gives you a chance to appreciate the artistry that goes into bringing Halloween Horror Nights to life, from the elaborate sets to the scare actors’ makeup and costumes. I don’t know about you, but seeing the work that goes into creating something like this makes everything seem less realistic and, as a result, less scary.

Halloween Horror Nights Scarecrow
Halloween Horror Nights Scarecrow © Universal Orlando

Go On a Guided Tour

Hoping to really pull back the veil and, in the process, dial down the dread a bit? You might want to splurge on one of the Halloween Horror Nights tours. Does it seem silly to spend a lot more money on an event that you might not even like? Possibly, but first, let us explain. You know how we said that experiencing part of the event while it’s light out helps not only because you can see what’s going on but also because you can see and appreciate the craftsmanship that made it happen? The same concept applies here to the Halloween Horror Nights R.I.P. Tour and the Behind the Screams: Unmasking the Horror Tour.

As you can probably guess from the name, the Halloween Horror Nights RIP Tour gives you VIP access to all of the haunted houses, all led by an in-the-know guide. So, along with being able to save time by skipping the line, you’ll also learn the backstory and other details of each house you enter. Your R.I.P. Guide might even be able to tell you where the jump scares are lurking. All of this can take the wind out of scareactors’ sails, so to speak, since you kind of already know what to expect.

The Behind the Screams: Unmasking the Horror Tour, meanwhile, happens during the day with the lights on. (Sounds pretty great, right?) During this tour, you’ll get a lights-on look at either three or six Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses. Add in the knowledge of your guide, and this is another great way to experience the event without the veil of terror that lingers over everything once the sun sets and the fog rolls in. Plus, if you do decide to explore them again at night, you won’t be as scared as you would be if you were experiencing it all for the first time.

Halloween Horror Nights 25 by Shawn Olah is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Turn Down the Fear with Earplugs

Have you ever muted a horror film only to discover that the movie was suddenly easier to watch? I know I have! That’s because those sound design wizards know exactly what buttons to push (literally) to plunge you into a fit of terror. Just think of everything that’s conveyed in only those two ominous notes of the Jaws theme. Or watch these trailers to see how sound design magically transforms The Shining into a charming romantic comedy or Mrs. Doubtfire into a decidedly sinister horror movie.

Well, the same thing goes for Halloween Horror Nights. The evil-genius sound designers use unsettling music (especially in a minor key) and noises like shrieks, howls, creaks and more to throw your anxiety into overdrive. So, rather than playing right into their hands, take the eerie noises down a notch with a pair of earplugs! Sure, they won’t block out everything that’s happening around you—and honestly, that’s a good thing, because safety first. However, it will deaden things just enough that you won’t be as affected by it.

Outsmart the Jump Scares

Another way to beat the terror is by being aware and reacting accordingly. Jump scares are plentiful at Halloween Horror Nights, and it is possible to lessen their impact by simply paying attention to what’s happening in front of you. In the haunted houses, lots of the jump scares are timed, while scare actors will frequently pop out from around a corner. Listening for others being scared up ahead of you will also come in handy here.

So, once you’ve spotted a potentially scary situation up ahead, you can either hurry up to try and get ahead of it or slow down a bit so someone else around them becomes their “victim” instead of you. (Sorry, not sorry!) Or simply turn the other cheek and look in the opposite direction. You’ll also want to steer clear of things like windows, mirrors and artwork because there’s a very good chance that something is lurking on the other side.

Halloween Horror Nights Haunted House
Halloween Horror Nights by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Steer Clear of Scare Zones and Haunted Houses If Needed

A huge key to Halloween Horror Nights success when you’re a scaredy cat is to know your limits. Once you’ve read through the descriptions of the different scare zones and haunted houses, flip through your mental Rolodex of all your fears and phobias and let them be your guide. Do you think dolls are creepy? What about clowns, bugs or guts and gore? Does a certain kind of sound give you the heebie-jeebies? Whatever it is, if it’s a part of a Halloween Horror Nights scare zone or haunted house, just give the whole thing a pass. Now isn’t the time for FOMO.

Stay on the Sidewalks and Walk with Purpose

While you aren’t forced to walk through any of the haunted houses, there are a couple of scare zones at Universal Halloween Horror Nights that you won’t be able to avoid. Luckily, there are a few tactics you can try to make it through them unscathed. The easiest thing you can do is simply stick to the sidewalks. For the most part, scareactors tend to hang out towards the center of the scare zone, while the outside areas and sidewalks act somewhat like a buffer.

However, if you’re forced to get into the thick of it, your best approach is to act like you mean business. Keep your head held high and act like you have somewhere really important to be—even if that place is just somewhere that’s a lot less scary than where you are. We guarantee that this will make you less of a target for terror.

Halloween Horror Nights Nightmare Fuel
Halloween Horror Nights Nightmare Fuel © Universal Orlando

Ride All the Rides, See All the Shows and Eat All the Food

Haunted houses and scare zones aren’t the only things at Halloween Horror Nights. Several rides are available, too, all with relatively short wait times. There are also some unique shows scheduled that you can’t experience any other time. And best of all, there’s not a jump scare in sight! So, while the rest of your scream squad is waiting in line for their next horrific open house, find out which Universal Studios rides are open or which entertainment options are showing nearby and go do those instead.

And, of course, we can’t forget all of the devilishly delicious dishes and drinks that are on offer especially for the event. Are they still a little creepy? Sure, some of them are. But they’re also super tasty, and more importantly, they aren’t going to jump out and give you a fright—because they’re in your mouth.

Halloween Horror Nights Cordyceps Corndog
Halloween Horror Nights Cordyceps Corndog © Universal Orlando

Put On a Brave Face

This just might be the most important Universal Halloween Horror Nights tip of the bunch. Whatever you do, summon all the power that’s inside you to act like the madness happening around you is no big deal. We know it’s hard, but trust us on this one. Scareactors can smell fear. Well, not literally, but you know what we mean.

Just like the director of any horror film, their goal is to do everything they can to freak you out (without actually coming into contact with you or harming you in any way), and the easiest way to do that is by targeting the weakest link. In other words, if you start to shiver or shriek, you might as well be wearing a big, bold “SCARE ME” sign. So, don’t give them the satisfaction. Instead, stand tall, roll your shoulders back and laugh it off. You might even fake it until you make it and have a little fun in the process.

Don’t Be Afraid to Head Home (or to Universal CityWalk) Early

Ready to call it quits? No worries! Once you’ve had enough, honor your limit and head on over to Universal CityWalk to decompress with a little retail therapy and unwind with something to eat or drink. Much of Universal CityWalk will stay open throughout Halloween Horror Nights, leaving you free to get in a round of mini-golf, search for the perfect souvenir, sing your heart out during live band karaoke at Rising Star or simply sip on a cocktail while you listen to all the screams.

Halloween Horror Nights Universal Monsters Unmasked
Halloween Horror Nights Universal Monsters Unmasked © Universal Orlando

Well, fraidy cats, that wraps up our scaredy cat’s survival guide to Halloween Horror Nights. Are you ready to brave this eerie event? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can score some scary-good deals on your HHN ticket or Universal Orlando park admission with our discount theme park tickets.