Tips to Experience Halloween Horror Nights Like a Pro
Since I’ve been attending Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights for nearly two decades now (and I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon), I wanted to share some tips to help you get the most out of your visit this year.
I remember the first time I experienced the event (circa. 2001). The scares, the haunted houses, the adrenaline rush—it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It’s so fun and terrifying at the same time. I quickly became addicted and haven’t missed a year since.
These tips have helped me and my friends a TON. I hope they’ll do the same for you.
BEFORE YOU GO…
1. Have a Game Plan
There’s a lot to see and do at Halloween Horror Nights, so it helps to plan ahead. What are the haunted houses you really want to experience? Which scare zones must you hit? Which attractions do you want to ride to take a break from the screams? Check out the event map, talk it out with your friends and come up with a list of the must-dos.
2. Make Sure You’re Well Rested
Halloween Horror Nights kicks off at 6:30p on event nights and closes in the wee hours of the morning. You don’t want your fatigue to be the reason you head home early! Take a nice afternoon nap, grab a coffee, or whatever it takes to help you feel rejuvenated for the event.
3. Dress Comfortably (And Check Your Footwear)
I can’t stress this enough. Remember, Halloween Horror Nights is a very intense event, and we all react differently to being scared (some run, some crouch, some freeze and some flail). Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for whatever your coping mechanism may be.
And wear comfortable shoes. The only thing worse than being stalked by a horrifying chainsaw clown is trying to escape them in a pair of shoes you regret wearing.
4. Be Mindful of Your Hair Style
This may seem kind of random, but this ties to tip #3. You’re going to be pretty active during your visit, so make sure you’re rocking a hair style that works for you in the horror environment. Sometimes, I wear my hair away from my face so I can see everything that’s happening (and it keeps me cooler).
5. Try to Carry as Little as Possible
If you can, try to carry only the essentials with you during your visit, like your car keys, wallets, diaper (if you’re really that scared). You won’t want to lug a huge bag around all night. This will also help you move a little quicker through the Security line.
WHILE YOU’RE HERE…
6. Take a Picture of Where You Parked
Because your memory is going to be jam-packed with all of the frights you experienced—and it’s really important to find your car at the end of the night.
7. Visit the Park During the Day
If you visit Universal Studios Florida during the day and have an admission ticket for Halloween Horror Nights that evening, you’ll have a huge advantage over guests who are only attending the event. When the park closes for daytime operation and begins the switchover to Halloween Horror Nights, you’ll actually be held in a designated area in park until the event opens. Then, once it starts, you’ll be released into the event – so you’re already in park while others are just starting to enter the front gate. This will help you get to those haunted houses a little bit quicker.
8. Arrive Early
If you choose not to visit the park during the day, I highly recommend you arrive early. Give yourself time to park, go through Security and venture through Universal CityWalk to Universal Studios. You can knock out some of the haunted houses pretty quickly if you’re one of the first inside the event.
9. Go Against the Grain
Halloween Horror Nights is sensory overload and often times, guests stop at the first haunted house or scare zone they see. Don’t be afraid to do the opposite. Once you get into the park, consider going straight to the back and to the furthest house. There’s a good chance that the wait times are going to be shorter.
10. Enjoy the Scare Zones
A lot of people rush through the scare zones – and I get it. You’re being stalked by scareactors and you’re just trying to make it to the other side. But try to find a spot where you can just watch the action in the streets. Sometimes, there are special show moments in the scare zones that you may miss if you just rush through. Plus, it’s SO entertaining to watch other folks get scared.
11. Take Time to Ride the Rides
People come to Halloween Horror Nights for the scares…but make sure you take a moment to experience some of the attractions as well. The wait times are often shorter during the event than they are during the day. Plus, the rides will provide you a nice break from the screams.
12. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Remember how I was talking about coping mechanisms earlier? Well, one I see pretty often is people covering their eyes. If you can, try not to do this. There are a ton of details and easter eggs you’ll miss if you aren’t looking. Trust me – no matter how scared you are, try (your best) to keep your eyes open. Besides, who wouldn’t WANT to get a good look at the scareactors that are preying upon them? Okay, maybe not…
13. Stay Hydrated and Grab Food
You’re going to scream…a lot! And screaming takes a ton of energy. Make sure you drink water (or whatever your beverage of choice is…I won’t judge!) throughout the night to stay hydrated. And grab food—you don’t want to be hangry. You can either grab dinner prior to your visit or take advantage of all of the eateries in the park. To really amp up your night, consider a Scareactor Dining experience.
14. Play a Game While You’re Waiting in the Queues
One way to make time go by a little faster while you’re waiting in a queue is to play a mobile game. Check out our new TERROR TRIVIA game in The Official Universal Orlando Resort App. You can test your knowledge on this year’s haunted houses and all things Halloween Horror Nights.
15. Take Photos
If you didn’t post about it, did it really happen? Make sure to capture the moments and take selfies and photos throughout the event. The visuals help when you’re recounting your experience with your friends. And they make great profile pics. Make sure you tag us with #HHN28!
And for all my first timers out there, here’s a recap of tips specifically for you!
There you have it, some of my top tips to get the most out of your Halloween Horror Nights visit. Any tips you would add? Let me know in the comments below.
If you haven’t already, choose an event night Sept. 14 – Nov. 3. Grab your tickets and I’ll see you out there!