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Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights: Is It Worth It?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. John's chapter.

Last month, my brother and I went to Universal Studios Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights, their annual event featuring haunted houses, live entertainment and scare zones on select nights running from September to November. Whether you’re drawn to iconic horror films and TV shows or are interested in Universal’s original concepts, anyone who loves Halloween should add Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights to their bucket list.  

Universal Studios features ten new haunted houses each year; some are inspired by popular movies and shows while others are original houses. This year, they had houses based on “Stranger Things 4”, “The Last of Us”, “The Exorcist: Believer” and “Chucky.” The others are original houses, meaning that they are designed by Universal’s creative team and are not based on a licensed property. This year, their original houses included “The Darkest Deal”, “Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate”, “Universal Monsters: Unmasked”, “YETI: Campground Kills” and “Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins.”  

Surprisingly, we got through all ten houses despite going on a Friday, which is one of the busiest nights with the longest wait times. From the dedicated scare actors to the immersive set designs and effects, each house delivered a unique horror experience. Though all the houses were incredible, my favorite was “Stranger Things 4”. This house transported guests to Hawkins, Indiana (and the Upside Down) by taking visitors through the story of season 4 and featuring iconic moments from the show. 

Halloween Horror Nights has five scare zones which are designated outdoor areas throughout the park that feature different themes and costumed characters to frighten guests as they walk by. My favorite was the “Vamp ‘69: Summer of Blood” scare zone, inspired by the Woodstock music festival, but with a bloody twist. It was more fun than scary, which was refreshing after walking through the darker scare zones. 

Each year, Universal Studios features one live performance during Halloween Horror Nights. This year, the show was called “Halloween Nightmare Fuel: Revenge Dream” featuring magic, fire dancers, aerialists and more. With only four showtimes each night, the theater gets packed quickly and it’s hard to find a good seat unless you arrive early, but it’s certainly a show you do not want to miss! 

Here are a few tips to make the most of your time at Halloween Horror Nights:

  1. Give yourself time for activities other than the haunted houses: Five rides are open during Halloween Horror Nights and the wait times are significantly lower than during regular park hours. Bonus tip: All five rides have single-rider lines, and though your group may be separated it shortens wait times immensely. 
  2. Download the Universal Studios app: The app displays wait times for all of the houses and rides, allowing you to quickly check which lines are the shortest instead of looking for a wait times sign in the park. 
  3. Bring an umbrella or poncho: Florida’s weather is unpredictable and it can start raining at any moment, regardless of what the weather app says. Wait times for the houses are long and almost entirely outdoors, so be prepared for rain to ensure that you won’t spend the rest of the night soaking wet! 
  4. Pack a portable charger: Despite the chargers that are available for purchase throughout the park, bringing your own portable charger will allow your phone to stay charged throughout the night (and save you $30). Bonus tip: Download a game like “Charades!” on your phone to keep you and your group entertained while you wait in line! 

So, is Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights worth it? Yes! This was my second year attending the event and it was just as good (if not better) as the first time. I highly recommend visiting at least once, especially for those who love Halloween!

Katera Dobson

St. John's '26

Katera is a sophomore at St. John’s University, born and raised in Queens, New York. She joined Her Campus in her freshman year and is currently the Senior Writer. When it comes to writing, she primarily focuses on the topics of film, theater and books. Outside of Her Campus, she can be found baking, reading, and going to the movies.