Ghoulishly Good Guide to Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
Each year, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida brings the screams (both of terror and delight) with its hair-raising haunted houses, spine-tingling scream zones and other abominable activities that are perfect for spooky season. Just like one of those recurring nightmares that startle you from your sleep—except, you know, fun! If you want to scare yourself silly this fall, read on as we uncover all of the thrills and chills available at Halloween Horror Nights 2023 at Universal Orlando Resort. So, put on your haunted-house-going game face, summon up some courage and let’s get started!
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando – A Crash Course
It might be 2023, but over at Universal Studios Florida, it’s Halloween Horror Nights 32. Earning the title of Best Halloween Event from Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards for an appropriate 13 years, this yearly Universal Orlando event is a favorite with locals and tourists alike. No matter if you’re a Halloween Horror Nights pro or if this year will be your first time going, here are some things to keep in mind when planning your visit.
What is Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights?
For those who have never been before, Halloween Horror Nights is a separately ticketed special event held on select nights every spooky season. Along with entry to select attractions across Universal Studios Florida, event admission also comes with access to intricately themed haunted houses and frightfully fun scare zones overrun by scare actors, as well as scream-worthy live entertainment. On top of that, a fangtastic selection of themed food and beverages is available for purchase, as is Halloween Horror Nights merchandise.
How scary is Halloween Horror Nights?
As the name implies, Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights is geared heavily toward adults. In fact, Universal even goes so far as to share these words of warning, saying that the “event may be too intense for young children and is not recommended for children under the age of 13.” In other words, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party this is not. Unlike its more family-friendly seasonal counterpart over at Walt Disney World, which is big on candy, Disney villains, other characters in Halloween costumes and oodles of charm, Halloween Horror Nights uses jump scares courtesy of scare actors to get your pulse racing, along with immersive haunted houses that incorporate elaborate sets and even piped-in scents to bring the fear.
Think blood, guts and gore (of the on-stage kind). Needless to say, if you’re the kind of person who can’t make it through a horror movie or you get easily squeamish, then Halloween Horror Nights might not be for you. The easiest way to gauge if you can handle the intensity is by checking out some YouTube videos of haunted houses and scare zones from previous years. This will help you determine your tolerance and decide whether tickets are worth purchasing for your group.
Going to Halloween Horror Nights
Ready to plan your evening of frightful fun at Halloween Horror Nights? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty details, like event dates for 2023, ticket types and prices, and optional upgrades to make your experience even more spooktacular.
HHN Orlando Dates 2023
In 2023, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida runs from 6:30 PM to 2 AM on select evenings from September 1 to November 4. With the exception of Halloween night, which falls on a Tuesday, the event is held in the evenings on Wednesday through Sunday. Specific Halloween Horror Nights dates for 2023 include:
September: 1-3, 6-10, 13-17, 20-24 and 27-30
October: 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29 and 31
HHN Orlando Tickets
As we mentioned earlier, Halloween Horror Nights is a separately ticketed event. That means that your regular park admission will not be valid for the event. Likewise, your Halloween Horror Nights ticket will also not allow you entry into Universal Studios Florida or Universal’s Islands of Adventure during normal park hours. So, if you want to do both the theme parks and Halloween Horror Nights, you will need to have two different tickets. (Don’t worry! Discounted tickets for both the event and the parks can be purchased through us, courtesy of our ticket partner, Undercover Tourist.)
Depending on how much heart-pounding fun you’re looking to get into, you and your scream squad can choose from basic single-night tickets or multi-night Frequent Fear Passes. Currently, single-night tickets begin at $84.99 for certain weekdays in September and go up in price from there. Note that Halloween Horror Nights tickets are cheaper for weeknights than they are for evenings over the weekend. So, bear that in mind if you’d like to save some cash (in addition to booking through us, of course).
Alternatively, for those who can’t get enough of the gore, Frequent Fear Passes allow entry for between 30 and 48 nights, with some restrictions on weeknights or weekends, depending on which option you choose. That said, although single-night discounted Halloween Horror Nights tickets can be purchased through us at Park Savers, Frequent Fear Passes must be bought directly through the Universal Orlando website.
Best Nights to Go to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida
As you can probably imagine, Halloween Horror Nights is an incredibly popular fall event, especially with Central Florida locals. In fact, many of them choose to go to the event for multiple nights—partially because there is so much to see and do that it can be next to impossible to accomplish it all in one night and partially because it is just so much fun. Consequently, Halloween Horror Nights can get very busy on certain nights of the week, with Saturday evenings seeing the largest crowds, followed closely by Friday nights.
On top of that, you’ll also want to consider that the closer it gets to All Hallows’ Eve, the crazier it gets at Halloween Horror Nights. Taking all of this into account, Wednesday nights tend to be the best choice for those who would like to avoid the crowds and have the best chance of squeezing the most in. As an added bonus, weeknights are also typically the cheapest evenings for Halloween Horror Nights where ticket prices are concerned. So, not only will you save yourself the stress of having to fight the crowds, but you’ll also save some money, too.
Halloween Horror Nights Orlando Upgrades
Do you want to wring every last drop of fear-inspiring fun out of your Halloween Horror Night? These upgrades and special experiences are the way to make it happen.
Scream Early Tickets
Like we said earlier, Halloween Horror Nights officially starts at 6:30 PM—and you’ll definitely want to be there right away for opening so you can fully enjoy everything that’s available. However, to really set yourself up for success, you’ll want to take advantage of the various Stay & Scream areas (i.e., waiting areas) peppered throughout the park. Not only will you not have to leave the park and go back through the turnstiles to enter, but depending on which of the Stay & Scream sections you choose, you can also experience select haunted houses in advance of the event’s official start time. (A huge time saver!) What’s more, you’re able to strategically position yourself for whichever houses are at the top of your list.
That said, the only way to gain entry to a Stay & Scream area is by either having a regular park ticket or by purchasing one of the Scream Early tickets, which enable you to enter Universal Studios Florida at 3:00 PM. That means that not only will you be able to get into the Stay & Scream section of your choosing, but since the park usually closes at 5:00 PM to clear it out for the event, you will also have two full hours to enjoy some Universal Studios attractions before it’s time to wait for Horror Nights to start.
2023 Stay and Scream locations and their coordinating haunted houses include:
Central Park & Springfield Stay and Scream
The Last of Us
Universal Monsters: Unmasked
New York Stay and Scream
The Exorcist: Believer
Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate
San Francisco Stay and Scream
Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count
For those looking for the full VIP experience, the guided R.I.P. Tour is for you. Though it doesn’t come cheap (prices start at around $330 per person plus tax on top of your actual event admission), this is the easiest way to experience the full gauntlet of gruesome creatures and everything else that is offered at Halloween Horror Nights. Along with a pre-tour reception at Cafe La Bamba, Universal Express Unlimited access to all participating attractions, and complimentary valet parking, the R.I.P. Tour also comes with priority one-time entry to each of the haunted houses and reserved seating at certain entertainment offerings. Additionally, R.I.P. Tour attendees receive commemorative swag—like a button, lanyard and tour credential—as well as access to exclusive cash bar locations.
Note that R.I.P. Tours accommodate up to six guests and can combine multiple parties into one tour group. However, if you happen to be traveling as a large group, you can also reserve a private R.I.P. Tour for up to 10 people.
Unmasking the Horror: Behind the Screams Tours
Do you wish that you could see how Halloween Horror Nights gets put together by the maniacal masterminds of Universal Orlando’s Art & Design team? Then you definitely won’t want to miss the Behind the Screams: Unmasking the Horror Tour. This frightfully fascinating backstage experience gives tourgoers a unique shriek peek of what select Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses look like with the lights on, allowing you to take photos of all the gory details (in certain rooms). Guests can choose from either a three- or six-house informational walking tour. Best of all, park or event tickets aren’t required! Prices for Unmasking the Horror: Behind the Screams Tours start at around $120 per person plus tax.
Halloween Horror Nights Express Passes
Due to its popularity, one of the biggest inconveniences of going to Halloween Horror Nights is the lines. Fortunately, you can avoid some of the hassles and enjoy shorter lines by upgrading your evening with the Halloween Horror Nights Express Pass. Starting at around $140 per person plus tax, this event Express Pass allows you to skip the normal lines once at each of the haunted houses, as well as at select park attractions. Keep in mind that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will jump the line altogether. However, you can expect a shorter wait, usually about half of what is posted for the regular standby line.
Universal Studios Florida rides and attractions open during Halloween Horror Nights include:
How to Have a Scary-Good Time at Halloween Horror Nights: Haunted Houses, Scare Zones, Entertainment & More
So, exactly what kinds of frightfully fun activities can scream squads heading to Halloween Horror Nights 2023 expect? In total, adrenaline junkies can enjoy ten horrifically thrilling haunted houses, five spine-tingling scare zones and three eerie live entertainment options, as well as a variety of dining and shopping opportunities. And at the center of it all this year is Dr. Oddfellow, a murderous ringmaster and carnival operator with a fascination for the dark zodiac.
As the story goes, this menacing master of ceremonies massacred the circus patrons and his troupe of performers one gruesome night back in 1939 in a bid to harness the dark powers of the creatures of the zodiac. At Halloween Horror Nights 32, he continues his cursed quest for power and brings fear seekers along for the ride. Read on as we unmask everything that’s in store (minus any spoilers, of course).
Halloween Horror Nights Haunted Houses 2023
With wickedly immersive theming, tons of demented details and plenty of jump scares, the Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses are the highlights of the event. From classic horror favorites like Chucky to a post-pandemic apocalypse imagined by PlayStation to Universal Orlando originals, there’s a host of hair-raising surprises around every corner. Here are the horrific open houses at the 2023 Halloween Horror Nights (note that the letters in parentheses denote their location on the event map):
Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings (A)
A blood moon rises on the colonial-era Parish Town, where superstitious moon-worshippers celebrating their fall festival take it as an otherworldly omen to slaughter non-believers. Travelers passing through this village beware—the devilishly devout townspeople are on the hunt for a sacrifice. So, be sure to keep your wits about you, or it might just be you.
The Exorcist: Believer (B)
Based on the new film of the same name, The Exorcist: Believer follows the harrowing tale of Angela and Katherine, two girls who went missing in America only to reappear a few days later with no recollection of what happened to them and displaying some very unsettling behavior. Could it be related to a seemingly innocuous purchase of an eerie three-eyed doll from a Haitian street market? This gory battle for their souls isn’t for the squeamish.
Stranger Things (C)
Join Eleven and the rest of the Stranger Things gang in a spine-tingling sprint through the Munson Trailer, Hawkins Lab, Creel House and more in a desperate attempt to break Vecna’s villainous curse, facing unearthly beasts like demobats and the Demogorgon along the way. For fans of the series, this haunted house is a dream nightmare come true. Details are tucked high and low, so take some time to look around as you make a mad dash for the exit.
Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate (D)
This haunted house is for all the fans of the departed Dueling Dragons roller coaster that once sat where Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure now lives, as well as fantasy lovers. Just like the ride, you’ll be forced to choose between Fire and Ice, two dragons that were once power-hungry warlocks. Will your chosen victor save the kingdom, or will you wind up as a dragon’s dinner?
YETI: Campground Kills (E)
Beware of things that go bump in the night, especially if they happen to look a whole lot like Bigfoot. Set on a 1950s campground overrun by rampaging yetis, this haunted house transforms from quaint and peaceful to absolutely terrifying before you even know what hit you. All you need to do is make it to the ranger tower alive.
Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count (F)
He’s baaaack! The demon doll that has haunted horror film fans for decades is taking control over his very own Halloween Horror Nights haunted house for the very first time. Taking inspiration from SYFY and USA’s hit series, his reign of terror will walk (or, more likely, run) you through several scenes from the show. It’s twisted, it’s bloody, and it’s sure to leave fans wanting to go through again and again.
Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins (G)
Enter the bloodcurdling big top of Dr. Oddfellow’s shadowy circus and come face to face with both his macabre menagerie and the good doctor himself. Along the way, you’ll learn the lore behind this monstrous master of ceremonies, including the role he played in the origin story of Jack the Killer Clown, and possibly even give up your soul in the process.
The Darkest Deal (H)
As the classic Charlie Daniels Band song goes, “The devil went down to Georgia, he was lookin’ for a soul to steal.” Find out what happens when a desperate blues musician named Pinestraw Spruce agrees to an unholy deal with The Collector in exchange for fame and glory. The price? His soul, of course.
The Last of Us (I)
Enter the post-apocalyptic Pittsburgh Quarantine Zone, where you’ll face off against all sorts of Infected and even The Hunter alongside Joel and Ellie in an epic bid for survival. The atmospheric theming here is off the charts, from the delicate cordyceps spores that waft on the breeze to some of the video game’s most iconic locations.
Universal Monsters: Unmasked (J)
Journey deep into the dark bowels of the Paris catacombs, where the monstrous stars of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Invisible Man, The Phantom of the Opera and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde await their unsuspecting visitors. The set work in Universal Monsters is absolutely incredible, whisking visitors away to the shadowy bell towers of Notre Dame Cathedral, the Theatre de L’Opera and more.
Halloween Horror Nights Scare Zones 2023
The thrills and chills don’t stop there. In fact, they’re just getting started. Sprinkled throughout the park are spooktacular scare zones, streetmosphere experiences populated by dastardly denizens of the dark and tricked out with themed sounds, sets and even scents. Here, danger awaits around every corner, with scare actors doing everything they can (except for touch you) to give you a fright. This year’s scare zones are Dr. Oddfellow’s domain, taking you on a twisted tour through the decades (note that the letters in parentheses denote their location on the event map).
Dr. Oddfellow’s Collection of Horrors (K)
The first scare zone of the event, Dro. Oddfellow’s Collection of Horrors introduces thrill seekers to the murderous master of ceremonies, as well as his terrifying troupe. Will you join them in exchange for immortality?
Vamp ’69: Summer of Blood (L)
It’s two years after the Summer of Love, and a Woodstock-like music festival in small-town New York has been invaded by a horde of bloodthirsty vampires, courtesy of Dr. Oddfellow. The ‘60s tunes and flower power are sure to leave you feeling groovy. That is, as long as the hippie vampires don’t get to you first.
Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged (M)
Strange things are happening in a circa-1940s San Francisco shipyard. Cursed cages and crates marked with Dr. Oddfellow’s symbol have washed ashore. There’s just one problem. They’re empty, and the beasts that were once inside them are on a rampage.
Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror (N)
It’s the 1920s, and Dr. Oddfellow has journeyed deep into a dark jungle in search of an ancient idol capable of turning Mother Nature’s creatures into menacing monsters. His twisted creations are hungry—and guess who is at the bottom of the food chain?
Dark Zodiac (O)
Dr. Oddfellow has long had a fascination with the occult, and he’s dead set on conjuring up his immortality. His path to glory? Harnessing the power of the horoscope and transforming zodiac creatures into the vilest versions of themselves.
Halloween Horror Nights Live Entertainment 2023
Need a break from the bone-chilling terror for a while? These electrifying live entertainment offerings have got you covered.
Death Eaters Encounter
Ready to pledge your allegiance to the Dark Lord? Aspiring witches and wizards won’t want to miss the first-ever appearance by Voldemort’s Death Eaters. You’ll find this magical horde throwing hexes all around The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, from strolling along the London waterfront to prowling Knockturn Alley. And be sure to check out their nightly entrance at the Carkitt Market stage.
A gaggle of dancing M3GANs have been let loose at Halloween Horror Nights, grooving their way around the event just like she does in the movie. Only instead of just one wielding a weapon and some killer dance moves, there’s a whole gang of them—sans sword, of course.
Nightmare Fuel: Revenge Dream
Rock out to the fiery sounds of metal and electronica, all while being mesmerized by otherworldly performances by aerialists and fire twirlers and appearances by creatures that go bump in the night. Returning for its third year at the former Fear Factor amphitheater, this epic stage show sees a dreamer confront the stuff of her nightmares.
Halloween Horror Nights Orlando Dining & Shopping
Whether you’re searching for something to power you through more thrills and chills, or you want a special souvenir to commemorate the evening, you’ll find it at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights.
Halloween Horror Nights Food
Just like the seasonal soirees and Epcot festivals over at Disney World, Universal Orlando and its talented culinary team go all out for the holidays, and Halloween Horror Nights is no exception. Each year of the event, the resort’s culinary artists cook up bone-chilling bites and beverages inspired by the current haunted houses. Think a Cordyceps Corndog or The Infected Tater at The Last of Us booths, Bloody Campground Poutine and a Bloody Snowball at the Yeti Returns booth, and Dr. Oddfellow’s CarnEVIL Hot Dog at Midway Delights.
Fear seekers in search of something a little stronger also won’t want to miss the all-new Peacock’s Halloween Horror Bar over near San Francisco, which boasts boozy themed concoctions, an unnerving nightclub atmosphere and photo ops, including one with SNL famous David S. Pumpkins. Afterward, head over to the Tribute Store for even more devilishly delicious dishes.
Halloween Horror Nights Merchandise
Although you’ll find all sorts of merchandise at locations across the park, the real highlight for those looking for special event souvenirs is Universal Studios’ Tribute Store. Each year, this themed shopping experience gets a macabre makeover, complete with mementos like apparel, cups, candles and more inspired by the various haunted houses. For 2023, the Tribute Store is transformed into an ominous New York City comic bookstore, where the mysterious Curator introduces you to four terrifying tales, from the skeleton-fueled chaos of “Graves Consequences” to the infamous 1888 killing spree of Jack the Ripper in “Eyes of the Ripper.”
Along with the Tribute Store, you’ll also find menacing merchandise at Universal Studios Florida’s Five & Dime and the Universal Studios Store, the All Hallows’ Eve Boutique and the Islands of Adventure Trading Company in Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and the Universal Studios Store in Universal CityWalk.
Other shops at Universal Studios Florida that are available during Halloween Horror Nights include:
Borgin & Burkes and the Diagon Alley shops
San Francisco Candy Factory
The Film Vault
Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal Orlando Hotels
For those who don’t want the frightful fun to end, be sure to check out the different Universal Orlando hotels. There, guests can explore the Universal Monsters Gallery of Legends, as well as Chucky’s Twisted Playground.
Universal Monsters Gallery of Legends
Offered at seven of the eight Universal Orlando hotels, the Universal Monsters Gallery of Legends offers unique photo opportunities in the hotel lobbies inspired by the spine-tingling stars of the silver scream.
Chucky’s Twisted Playground at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Available daily from 2 PM to 10 PM at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, this killer photo opportunity starring the demonic red-headed, freckle-faced doll offers an immersive experience themed after the popular USA and SYFY TV series.
Well, guys and ghouls, that brings our guide to Halloween Horror Nights to an end. Have you had the chance to go to this eerie event yet? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can score your HHN ticket or Universal Orlando park admission at a scary-good savings with our discount theme park tickets.