A beginner’s guide to Halloween Horror Nights: Things you need to know before you go


It’s time to start planning things out and preparing yourself for Halloween Horror Nights. Wait, these things actually take preparation? Well, you don’t have to prepare, but it’s highly recommended that you do! Arming yourself with knowledge about the event, ticketing, and several other things can make your night smooth as glass. Not planning ahead can easily ruin your evening.

If you’ve never been to Halloween Horror Nights before, this guide is perfect for you. If you’ve been, this is probably a great refresher for you! Stay tuned for another guide with even more details about the event is the next few days.

What is Halloween Horror Nights?

Halloween Horror Nights, commonly referred to as “HHN”, is Universal Orlando’s Halloween event that is usually held at Unviersal Studios. The event changes from year to year, so if you miss one year, I’m sorry to say, it’s gone! Visit the official Halloween Horror Nights website by clicking here.

Is this event for kids?

No, no, and no! This event is in no way intended for young children. Teens may be able to handle the event, but if you have young children that are easily scared, stick with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney’s Magic Kingdom or Seaworld’s Halloween Spooktacular at Seaworld. Your kids will get scared and they will more than likely cry.

I went to the Studios/Islands, how do I get into HHN?

Easy, purchase a Halloween Horror Nights ticket. Halloween Horror Nights is a separate ticketed event and is not included in your admission to Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure. However, several rides will be open for your enjoyment during Horror Nights.

Universal Orlando offers different ticket combinations, including “Scream Early” and “Stay & Scream”.

Where can I buy tickets?

You can buy them online by clicking here and pick them up later at the park or you can purchase them when you get to the park.

What is “Scream Early” and “Stay & Scream”?

Scream Early is an upgrade for your Horror Nights ticket. It costs around $20 more on top of your ticket, but it allows you to enter Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure beginning at 3pm.

Stay & Scream is when you are in Universal Studios before the park closes and you have a Horror Nights ticket. Take your HHN ticket to the New York area or Kids Zone at 5pm (park closing) to wait in a holding area. You will have to wait for about an hour, but they let you out into select houses 15-30 minutes before they start letting folks in the front gate. This works with annual passes, single day tickets, and Scream Early.

Rain is forecasted for the night I’m going, can I get a rain ticket if I want to leave?

No. If it rains, stick it out and see the rest of the event. Universal will not give you a rain ticket to come back to Halloween Horror Nights. Universal sells ponchos in several gifts shops and can come handy when you need it. If you do choose to leave, you will have to buy another night’s admission to go back to Halloween Horror Nights. Universal Orlando does not offer refunds on tickets to Halloween Horror Nights.

Are costumes permitted?

Unlike Seaworld and Magic Kingdom’s Halloween event, costumes and masks are not permitted. Why? This is to help avoid confusing park guests and scareactors. Let the professionals do the scaring and have fun.

Is alcohol served? 

Yes, alcohol is served at Halloween Horror Nights. They even offer special blinky cups that change yearly for around $10 with a refill price of around $7.50. Each year they also have a signature drink at the event (this year is “Dead Walker”) and also serve jello shots in line (sometimes) and in the streets. Universal may or may not request your ID for alcohol purchases, so be sure to bring it with you just in case. People will get drunk and some will get obnoxious. Your best bet is to ignore them and if it’s really bothering you, report them to someone who works at Universal. They will handle the issue.

If I’m under 21, can someone buy alcohol for me?

If you are under 21, you are not permitted to drink at Halloween Horror Nighs, even if someone else who is over 21 is willing to buy a drink for you. It is against the law to purchase alcohol for a minor and doing so could get you banned from Horror Nights, or worse, arrested.

When is the best night to go?

The “best” nights to go are “non-peak” nights (Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays) as crowds are typically lighter. Also crowds are typically lighter around the beginning of the event. The closer you get to Halloween, the busier the event gets. There is really no “best” night to go. You’ll end up standing in lines regardless of what night you go, but instead of waiting an hour or longer, you might wait 45 minutes on a non-peak night.

What is Express? Do I have to buy it?

Express is Universal’s “Front of the Line” system. It costs extra and price varies depending on the night you are going. If you are going to HHN multiple nights, express is not required (but is an option) as you will have plenty of time to see the event. If you are only spending one night at the event, you’ll either need to plan your trip very well or you’ll need an express pass to help shorten your waits. You won’t completely skip the lines, but it will reduce how much time you spend in line. Express starts at $39.99 and could cost you as much as $89.99.

Where can I go for more information?

You can find all the information you need right here on Behind the Thrills. Click here to read more about Halloween Horror Nights. You can also visit the official website.