Event Review – Halloween Horror Nights 31 is one of the best years in event history
For nearly 15 years I have attended Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort (I was lucky enough to experience it at Islands of Adventure) and I have to say this year is one of the best. If you don’t know what HHN is, it’s the premier Halloween event in the US with 10 haunted houses, five spooky areas and two shows plus hundreds of spooky performers. It’s mecca for anyone who starts the countdown to Halloween on November 1st.
From a house full of bugs to a street full of kids consuming too much “sugar”, this year has it all. Of all my years of visiting, this year is one of the strongest. As we learned from Lora Sauls, Senior Director of Creative Development and Show Direction for Universal Orlando Entertainment Art and Design, this year is all about the holiday that started it all, Halloween. Instead of having lots of cheap houses and scary areas like in the past, the main theme is October 31st, the best night of the year. This is done by celebrating everything that comes to mind when you think of all New Year’s Eve, including universal monsters and scary stories that make you check your closet before bed.
I could break down every house and every spooky area, but we’ll do that in a few videos on our Youtube channelinstead, I want to give you my two MUST DOs for the event.
This house might be one of my all-time favorites, even though I kept calling it “Dead Man’s Wharf”. With incredible visuals and a haunting score, I would visit this set even without the scares. In 2016, the fear zone of Dead Man’s Wharf (see, it was stuck in my head) gave guests their first taste of the aquatic horrors that await them in a small fishing town, but this house really does a job. amazing for transporting guests from the heat of an Orlando night to a spooky pier where you won’t find the Gorton fisherman. Like I said, the visuals and the score are enough to get lost in this massive story, but if you want to know the real backstory, I suggest you check out the Discover Universal Podcast which sets the context for what will undoubtedly go down as the best house of the year.
Macabre! A Halloween Tale
Now, as anyone who’s ever heard my opinion of World of Color at Disney California Adventure knows, I’m not a big fan of fountain shows, but “Ghoulish!: A Halloween Tale” is definitely a MUST DO at HHN This year. This show is pure fun, from the pre-show announcements that don’t take themselves seriously to the visuals that really get you into the spooky mood of the season. Coming back to celebrating Halloween, this lagoon show really captures the camp of the night. With skeletons and pumpkins flashing above the mist screens and buildings surrounding the lagoon, everyone is having a real fun time. My favorite part has to be how they really bring it all around, ranging from the campy early Halloween music to the more contemporary music of The Weeknd, which also has a home this year!
I will say that being a resident of Universal Orlando has spoiled me on Halloween horror nights with my Frequent Fear Pass, but after experiencing the RIP Tour, where a guide walks you through each house and gives you stories of everything, if you are traveling to visit I would recommend this option above all else. For dates, prices and everything else you need to know, be sure to visit the official event website and we’ll see you in the fog!