Get Spooked at Halloween Horror Nights 28 at Universal Orlando

Vamp 85 New Year's Eve Scare Zone

Revenge of Chucky Scare Zone_HHN2018, HHN2018, Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios

Each fall for the last 28 years, Universal Orlando has been dishing up a heaping helping of fear with Halloween Horror Nights, a multi-night event that consists of terrifying houses, scream-inducing scarezones and stage shows that never cease to amaze. This year the creatives behind the event have upped the ante, giving horror fans a record-breaking ten haunts.

For HHN 28, horror lovers are headed back to the 80s, with houses and scare zones that are either ripped directly from the time-period or evoke that feeling. Five of the houses are based on films and TV shows, and five are completely original to Halloween Horror Nights. To get to them all, you have to travel through five scarezones: two based on films, two original themes and one that honors all of the haunts in this year’s event.

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Poltergeist Haunted House

The houses this year are really something special. After my visit on opening night I was asked by a fellow journalist what my favorite was, and it was a major Sophie’s Choice moment. Each is beautifully designed and impeccably executed, with significant scares around nearly every corner. After sufficient arm-twisting, four houses made my personal must-see list.

Stranger Things: This Netflix series is a phenomenon for a reason. The show perfectly captures life as an 80s kid while mirroring the horror style of the time-period with modern-day tech. It’s a masterpiece on the small screen and makes a stunning haunt. You travel through every major moment from season one, right down to the title screen! For fans of the show, this house is a must-see.

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First Look Inside Stranger Things Haunted House at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights

Poltergeist: This was one of the first horror movies I ever saw, and it remains near and dear to my heart. Rather than being told in chronological order, this haunt begins near the end of the film, with Steve Freeling confronting shady developer Teague over the revelation that the family’s neighborhood was built on a cemetery and that only the headstones were moved. From there, we enter the Freeling’s nightmarish world where dead bodies erupt from the earth, objects fly around on their own, and strange spirits beckon from the static on the TV. A major highlight for me was being able to enter “the Light” and experiencing the spectral realm that little Carol Ann was lured into. It’s both gorgeous and terrifying.

Carnival Graveyard: Rust in Pieces: For this original house, the creative team scoured Universal’s warehouses for discarded props to create “Sal’s Amusement Salvage,” an awe-inspiring junkyard filled with rusted ride parts, long-forgotten carnival attractions and the rotting bodies of trespassers who have dared to wander through. As one of said trespassers, you’re bombarded by scares from crazed carnies and vicious dogs. This house has surprises and Easter eggs around every corner.

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Scary Tales: Deadly Ever After: Visually speaking, this was the most beautiful house of the night. This is the fifth time Scary Tales has appeared at HHN and is my favorite of the bunch. It opens with the Wicked Witch of the West flying from one side of a massive castle to the other, cursing the land of the fairies and corrupting all of the beloved stories therein. Hansel and Gretel, the Three Little Pigs, Rapunzel, and many more familiar fairytale characters have now become twisted versions of themselves and the results are creepy, gruesome and, at times, hilarious.  

The six additional houses are all great as well. You’ll come face-to-mask with one of horror’s major players at Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, learn to respect the rules of Halloween or else at Trick ‘r Treat, and get thrown into the middle of a double feature of terror at The Horrors of Blumhouse. As for the remaining originals, you’ll see what a plant-based apocalypse would be like at Seeds of Extinction, get a glimpse of some campy Grindhouse-inspired flicks at Slaughter Sinema and experience a plague of fast-moving zombies in Dead Exposure: Patient Zero.    

Killer Klowns from Outer Space Scare Zone_HHN2018, Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Orlando
Killer Klowns from Outer Space Scare Zone

The scarezones this year are also top-notch. My personal favorite is Killer Klowns From Outer Space, which is the smallest of the five but beautifully executed with murderous alien clowns lurking around every corner. A close second is Revenge of Chucky, which not only has an appearance by the deadly doll himself but also brings to life twisted versions of childhood toys like Cabbage Patch Kids, Barrel of Monkeys and Army men. Rounding out the scarezones are the vampire block party at Vamp ’85: New Year’s Eve, a slew of cursed Halloween icons at Twisted Traditions and some creepy vignettes representing each of this year’s houses at The Harvest.  

Single-night tickets to Halloween Horror Nights start at $63 online, a massive savings compared to the gate price of $115. You’ll certainly save some coin by selecting this ticketing option, but there are no guarantees that you’ll see it all without employing some major strategy. Visiting during the week means less crowd and more manageable lines. As we near Halloween night, the event gets more crowded, so plan to attend sooner rather than later. While the official start time for HHN is 6:30, gates often open earlier, giving early birds the advantage. Finally, keep in mind that even if you deploy every tip in your arsenal, seeing everything this year will be extremely difficult. Your best bet is to plan ahead and rank each house by what you want to see, and hit your top three or four as soon as you can.

If you’re determined to do it all in one night, the RIP Tours ticketing option may be for you. At $160 per pass on top of the standard HHN admission, it’s the priciest way to experience Halloween Horror Nights but hands-down the best. You and other RIP guests are teamed up with a knowledgeable guide who will take you on a tour of the entire event and past all the lines and into each of the houses. The ticket also includes a commemorative lanyard, valet parking, a pre-tour reception, reserved seating at Academy of Villains and more. If you’re not up for the VIP treatment but have some cash saved up, you can add an Express Pass to your ticket for around $80. This option lets you skip the lines one time at each of the houses.

Multi-night ticket options are great for those who want to take their time and see it all over the course of the season. The Frequent Fear Pass lets you access HHN every Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday for just $107. You can add Friday nights with the Frequent Fear Plus Pass for about $16 more. The Ultimate Frequent Fear Pass is $204 and grants you admission every single night of the event.

Halloween Horror Nights is currently in full swing on select nights between now and November 3rd. For tickets, event details and more, visit  

About Kellie Abrahamson