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Review: Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studies Hollywood

On September 16th, I was finally able to go to the opening night of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood! The event runs every weekend from now until the first weekend of November (the 4th), and tickets are still available– UCLA students get a discount on select dates, too! The event runs from 7 pm to 2 am each night, allowing the atmosphere to only get spookier as time goes on. I’ve gone twice in the past couple of years, but this year is not to be missed! There are more mazes than ever, and a ton of them are based on movies that haven’t even come out yet— giving you a special preview nobody else will see! Below is a photo of one of my favorite mazes, inspired by American Horror Story: Roanoke.

My night started with the red carpet, where we got to meet some of the creative directors of HHN, horror movie stars, and celebrities who just love horror. Surprisingly, a lot of the stars said they were actually really afraid of scary movies! Everyone was so excited to be there and it was so fun seeing the stars of some of my favorite shows and movies, like This is Us. My friend even saw Austin Butler, but no sighting of Vanessa Hudgens #sad.

Once 7 o’clock rolled around, it was time to enter the park! This year, there are 9 mazes and 3 ‘scare zones’ based off of some of the most famous horror franchises in Hollywood, like American Horror Story, The Purge, and Saw (seen below). There is also the Terror Tram, a maze that runs through the Universal Backlot and allows you to actually walk around the Bates Motel and other famous sets.

My personal favorite maze was inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The Jack Nicholson masks were weirdly accurate, but just inaccurate enough to be really unsettling. I loved the way that it followed the plot of the film and ends in the snowy hedge maze, with the temperature lowered to 30 or 40 degrees. I wasn’t sure how they would be able to make The Shining into a good maze, because the movie didn’t scare me very much, but they went above and beyond and the creative director, Eli Roth, showed some serious dedication to the maze (and all the others).

My other favorite maze was based off the new Insidious movie, which comes out early next year. The film and the maze take place in a New Mexican house in the 1950s. There are tons of things that don’t make sense just yet, but I can’t wait to see the movie and figure out how all of the aspects of the maze fall into place.

Four of Universal’s most popular rides– Transformers, The Mummy, Jurassic Park, and The Simpson’s Ride– stay open for the night, giving you the opportunity to switch off from horror to regular amusement park fun.

I had so much fun at HHN this year and definitely recommend it to anyone who even remotely likes horror. There’s no better excuse than a terrifying Halloween extravaganza to get cozy with your crush, or just have an exciting time with your girlfriends. Tickets can be purchased here, and buying tickets in advance is recommended- they usually sell out (because the event is so amazing)! There are a few options for tickets other than regular admission:

  • Front of the Line, which gives you one-time priority access to all the attractions
  • All-New R.I.P Tour, which gives groups of 14 unlimited priority access to all the attractions, a gourmet buffet dinner, drinks, and valet parking
  • After 2 p.m. Day/Night Combo, which allows admission for the normal park in the daytime, and HHN at night

  • Frequent Fear Pass Visit multiple times throughout the 29-night event.

Several discounted options are available as well! Aside from Killer Deal Nights, which can save you up to $30, college students can get a student pass and revisit the park every Thursday for one price! HHN is one of the most extreme Halloween events in LA and is definitely not to be missed.

Photos by B. Goldsworthy

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