Universal Studios Florida in Orlando outdoes almost any other Halloween event with its Halloween Horror Nights that runs from Sept. 2 to Oct. 31. Since 2006, it has been named Best Halloween Event 12 times by Amusement Today – more than any other theme park! And Halloween Horror Nights in 2022 promises to be just as scary, if not more so, than years past. Everyone raves about the quality of the sets and costumes and the scariness of the actors, which is not surprising considering that a top movie studio is putting on the show! Let’s take a look at what to expect this year.
Halloween Horror Nights
During the day, Universal Studios Florida is full of fun rides, attractions, and characters from the Universal Studios canon, like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Transformers, Jurassic World, Shrek, Despicable Me (you’ve got to love those Minions!), and SpongeBob SquarePants. There’s really something for the whole family, including play areas for little kids.
As twilight descends in September and October, the atmosphere begins to change–literally. A misty fog starts to roll down the streets, and creepy rock music interrupted by the sound of chainsaws comes over the loudspeakers. If you have little ones in your group, now is the time to evacuate before the demented Jack the Clown is unleashed into the crowds. Universal Studios doesn’t recommend Halloween Horror Nights for anyone under 13 and strongly cautions against bringing young children, but you’ll have to be the judge of just how much horror your kids can take. And the park doesn’t allow guests to wear costumes or costume masks. You have to leave the horror up to them.
The theme park plans to have five scare zones, 10 haunted houses, and two live shows during this separately ticketed event. The haunted houses reportedly will be completely different from those in 2021. As of this writing, Universal has announced only four of the haunted houses, but rumors are already flying about the others. Let’s take a look at what’s been announced so far:
- The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare. This all-new creation is inspired by the enormously popular After Hours album by the pop group The Weeknd. In this macabre haunted house, slashers go on the rampage, carving smiles into unsuspecting faces and performing extreme plastic surgery on the unwary. This could truly give you nightmares!
- The Horrors of Blumhouse. This house of horrors resurrects a popular Halloween maze from Universal Studios Hollywood. It’s a double feature of terror based on the body-swapping movie Freaky and the horror film The Black Phone about a kidnapped boy who’s able to communicate with the victims of a serial killers. This is not your garden-variety haunted house!
- Halloween. Witness the original killing spree of the masked Michael Myers from the 1978 classic horror film. You’ll feel like you’re running for your life to escape this madman–just don’t run into the basement like all the movie victims seem to!
- Universal Monsters: Legends Collide. Those who dare to venture here will have to outrun The Wolf Man, Dracula, and the Mummy, who are on a deadly mission to recover an amulet that will break their curse. If you get in their way, you may not live to regret it!
Based on a (genuine?) leaked park map for Halloween Horror Nights, the other haunted houses will be the Spirits of the Coven, Prison, Fiesta de Chupacabras (based on the mythical beast that kills animals), Dead Man’s Wharf, Descendants of Destruction, and Bugs: Eaten Alive. Whatever they turn out to be, we would say the potential for scares and gore are pretty high here.
The five scare zones will supposedly feature a traditional Halloween, candy mutants, coven witches, scarecrows, and “deadly unrest”–a possible reference to the crime-spree madness of The Purge films produced by Universal. The live shows may be “Marathon of Mayhem” and “Nightmare Fuel;” the latter one was very popular last year so it makes sense they would bring it back. In short, Halloween Horror Nights is not for the squeamish, sensitive, or easily spooked!
Times & Tickets
Universal Studios Florida hosts Halloween Horror Nights on most nights between Sept. 2 and Oct. 31 this year, except for Mondays and Tuesdays. The hours on most nights are 6:30 pm to 2 am. Check the park calendar for the latest details.
Separate tickets are required for Halloween Horror Nights, so if your family is visiting during the day, be prepared to pony up for another ticket at night. Ticket prices vary greatly depending on the day you visit. Single-night tickets range from $74 to $98 in September and from $74 to $105 in October; the prices are the same for all ages. Multi-night passes start at $130. And these are online prices; purchasing at the gate cost up to another $50! If cost is no object and you want to get frightened as much as possible, you can buy an additional Express Pass for $110 that allows you to skip the lines. Visit the Universal Studios Florida website for all the pass options and to buy tickets. Happy Halloween!