Sep 21, 2023 - Things to Do

What to know about Horror Nights before you go

A group of four friends scream at the sight of a performer dressed as "Stranger Things" baddie Vecna.

"Stranger Things" baddie Vecna scares visitors. Photo: Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

Halloween Horror Nights is back at Universal Orlando Resort, and there are a few things to know in order to get more "boo" for your buck.

What's happening: Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) goes through Nov. 4, and requires separate tickets starting at $79.99.

  • HHN features "scare zones" (where costumed actors can come up to you on stilts or with chainsaws while you're walking the park), live entertainment (with literal nightmare fuel), themed food and merchandise and β€” most importantly β€” haunted houses.
  • There are houses with original new stories and also houses inspired by Universal franchises.

To help you fit the right amount of terror into your trip, here are my picks:

Most all-out fun: Universal Monsters: Unmasked

  • Moody candlelit halls, performers appearing unexpectedly and classic characters (like the Phantom of the Opera and Invisible Man) that make you nostalgic β€” before you're screaming again.
  • Gory highlight: A combination of props and people made it look like a victim had their insides ripped out by a monster.

Best 2023 update: "Stranger Things"

  • Yes, "Stranger Things" haunted houses have been at Universal for years, but this one had the highest-quality set design and most intense eye contact from actors, inspired by iconic scenes from the last season.
  • Frightening sounds: The "Stranger Things" theme song and shouts of "Chrissy, wake up!" start things off thrillingly.

Missable: Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count

  • If you've seen one Chucky doll, it feels like you've seen them all β€” and this haunted house didn't have as much variety as the others.
  • That said, there were some funny animatronics that earned laughs, if not shrieks.

Thought bubble: It's worth considering express passes if you want to see more than two or three houses during your visit and you're willing to splurge on a Halloween treat (they start at $139.99).

  • They're not part of a haunted house, but don't forget to check out the captivating Death Eaters in Harry Potter World.

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