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building at Halloween Horror Nights with sign
building at Halloween Horror Nights with sign
Original photo by Bellanee Plaza
Culture > Entertainment

Halloween Horror Nights 2023: Ranked

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.
The last of us house at Halloween Horror Nights
Original photo by Bellanee Plaza

Halloween has officially started: costumes, horror movies, and, most importantly, haunted houses! People have already begun celebrating the creepy occasion with Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. The annual event kicked off Sept. 1st and will last until Nov. 4th. With ten brand-new houses and five frightening scare zones, you’ll never run out of spooky sights. After going a few times this year already, here are my house and scare zone rankings:

bloodmoon: dark offerings

Although this is the house I am ranking last, the bar for all houses this year was incredibly high, and Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings had fantastic scares. This house transports you into a dangerous countryside filled with people desperate to maintain their harvest— even if it means spilling blood.

stranger things 4

What this house lacks in scares it makes up for in set design and overall atmosphere. Fans of the show will not be disappointed with the intricate details spread throughout the house, from a replica of Vecna’s lair in the Upside-Down to a peek into the facility where Eleven defeats One.

the last of us

The Last of Us house brings you into the world of the hit video game and TV show, taking you through the wreckage and carnage caused by Clickers. The further you get through the house, the less human the Clickers become. The reason I put this house above Stranger Things is because the Clickers add a new terrifying layer to houses usually made from already popular media.

Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins

This house perfectly captures what this year’s theme is about. The eclectically gory set design was a thrill to go through, with a surplus of circus freaks along for the ride. The original costume designs were the highlight of this house, which included a two-headed woman and a headless clown. The house also gives a nod to a Halloween Horror Nights classic character, Jack the Clown. Going through the house, you can spot Jack’s uniform with the telltale buttons going down the front, as well as a silhouette of the character later on in the house.

Universal Monsters: Unmasked

Every year, new Universal monsters are chosen, and every year, my expectations are exceeded. Not only did this house provide incredibly creative jump scares (like a monster coming down from the ceiling in bungee cords), but each room provided something different, transporting you through the lives of the Phantom of the Opera, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the Invisible Man.

the exorcist: believer

I can confidently say that this house is the scariest. With the movie releasing in theaters Oct. 6th, this house highlights just how dark and gruesome experiencing an exorcism is. You’re transported in and out from the house to the pits of hell, following the story of how two girls get possessed by demons.

Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate

Although this house did not cultivate many scares, the set design alone more than makes up for it. Each room immerses you further and further into Merlin’s cave, leaving you with an exciting adventure full of dragons, goblins, and a myriad of magical creatures. The best part of this house is choosing your own ending, and seeing which side won: the blue or red dragon?

Yeti: Campground Kills

Yeti: Campground Kills completely exceeded my expectations. This house takes place in a campground overrun with yetis. The yetis themselves were terrifying but paired with original jump scares (like a yeti hand trying to grab you through the ceiling), this house may make you rethink your next camping trip.

Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count

As a fan of the show, I might be biased in ranking this house so high. The walk-through, although not too scary, was incredibly fun. Throughout the house, Chucky, who takes over after finding out that Universal isn’t actually killing its patrons, taunts and tries to kill you. With a kill count that gets higher the deeper you go and gruesome scenes taken straight from the show, the Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count house is a thrill to go through.

The Darkest Deal

This house has the perfect mix of set design and terror, with a tragic story about an aspiring musician who sells his soul for fame. The house takes you through what happens to the musician, as well as what happens to others with the same fate. The last room takes you to the musician’s final destination, embellished with hellish creatures covered in rock and fire. With terrifying costumes and showstopping scenes, this house takes first place.

Halloween Horror Nights building with spooky stuff
Original photo by Bellanee Plaza

Ranking the sets of houses and zones this year was very difficult, as the bar is set higher every year. From ghouls to gods, Halloween Horror Nights 2023 will surely give you the fright of your life!

Sarah Perez is a second year staff writer for Her Campus UCF. Studying English with a certificate in Editing and Publishing, she loves to read almost any genre. When she isn't reading, you can find her crocheting or drawing.