EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog was originally published in September 2022 and then underwent updates and editing in September 2023 to remain current and relevant.
Whether you peep slasher flicks through the slits between your fingers or you’ve got a zombie apocalypse bunker in your basement, Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) has your name on it.
Halloween Horror Nights occurs every year throughout September and October. The specifics change every year — new haunted houses, new flicks and shows to feature, new entertainment — but certain basics remain the same. Let’s walk through everything you need to know about the annual haunted happening.
WHAT TO KNOW
WHEN: The event runs select nights and every Thursday through Sunday in September and October, plus the scariest night of them all — Halloween. Check the specific dates here.
TICKETS: HHN requires a separate ticket than regular daytime theme park admission. There are several ticketing options: General Admission, Universal Express pass for a shorter wait time in line, After 2 PM Day/Night, R.I.P. Tour, and the popular Frequent Fear and Ultimate Fear Passes to be scared again and again. Peep this year’s prices here.
WHO TO BRING: Sorry, parents, but you might want to leave the little ones at home for this one. It’s not recommended for kids under 13 — too scary!
WHAT TO WEAR: Masks and costumes are not allowed at HHN. Remember, you’re there to be scared, not to scare. Beyond that, we recommend comfortable, walkable shoes, a long-sleeve layer for those chilly LA nights, and your favorite horror movie t-shirt. Let that freak flag fly (in sensible footwear)!
WHAT TO DO
PHEW, okay, now onto the fun stuff. We know exactly why you horror lovers are here: the HAUNTED HOUSES, duh.
Each year, Universal brings the most iconic scary movies, TV shows, and pop culture phenomena to life in the form of haunted houses and the Terror Tram — an exclusive experience where guests can walk the infamous studio backlot. In the houses, you’ll get to completely immerse yourself in a maze-like series of jump scares with Hollywood-level production value. In other words: You’re the victim. The houses change every year, but recent themes have included some of the top names in horror TV, movies, and even music. Some tips:
- Bring a Buddy. Whether you need a hand to squeeze or someone to gush over the thrills with, HHN is way more fun with friends.
- Get There Early. The closer to Halloween, the more popular the event gets. We recommend purchasing tickets early (they do sell out!) and arriving at 7 p.m.
- Watch the Flicks. You’ll appreciate the intricate details of Halloween Horror Nights so much more with whatever they’re based on fresh in your mind. We highly recommend a horror binge-sesh before your trip to HHN so that you can appreciate the intricate details of each haunted house and Terror Tram experience.
Check out this year’s haunted house lineup here.
Thought you were safe outside the haunted house? Think again. In the Scare Zones, psycho murderers, monsters, and the undead roam, intent on making you scream. So, yeah, you’re basically in a haunted house when you’re not even in a haunted house. More tips coming atcha:
- Snap a Photo. If you’re quick with your camera, you might catch a pretty epic jump scare on film. Also, don’t be that person that uses a flash and draws more attention than a chainsaw-wielding scareactor. Be sure to visit the photo ops in Universal Plaza and outside Terror Tram to pose with a scareactor.
- Stay Alert. If you’re a total wuss, that is. The scareactors always get you when you’re least expecting it. Alternatively, could always throw your date in front of you as bait for the monsters.
See what’s in store for this year’s Scare Zones here.
Can’t handle being on edge for an entire evening? Neither can we. Even the biggest horror buffs need a breather between all the near-death experiences. Luckily, you can take a break and stay entertained with high-energy performances to pulse-pounding music.
- Download the USH App. With the official Universal Studios Hollywood app, you can get the most up-to-date showtimes to make the most of your hours at the park. That way, you can check wait times for haunted houses, Terror Tram, rides, and show times.
Download the Official Universal Studios Hollywood Mobile App for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Data and other charges may apply; check with your wireless provider’s rate plan for details.
Check out this year’s entertainment slate here.
We’ve been so excited to talk about Halloween Horror Nights that we forgot to mention…there’s the rest of Universal Studios Hollywood to explore, too! Select rides stay open during the event, including fan-favorites like Revenge of the Mummy — The Ride, and more. So if getting stalked by a chainsaw-wielding humanoid isn’t thrilling enough, Universal Studios Hollywood has backup options.
Get an up-to-date list of the Universal Studios Hollywood rides and attractions here.
WHAT TO EAT
Why shouldn’t your taste buds get in on the Halloween excitement, too? Horror Nights also extends to menus across Universal Studios Hollywood — and through CityWalk, too. Each year, restaurants serve up spooky treats and movie-themed dishes to add to the Halloween fun.
The chefs at Universal Studios Hollywood get in on the fun and create elaborate, in-park food and drink offerings that often tie to a specific haunted house. The HHN food offerings are what deliciously creepy dreams are made of. Alternately, many of the year-round eateries throughout the theme park remain open during Halloween Horror Nights, so you have plenty of options.
- Eat Early. We recommend getting to CityWalk before the theme park opens for the evening. That way, you can maximize your scares! CityWalk has tons of delicious options, from Toothsome Chocolate Emporium to Antojitos Cocina Mexicana. Alternately, you can pop out of the park to hit CityWalk for dinner mid-evening — just make sure you get a hand stamp for easy re-entry.
Take a peek at the literal dozens of dining opens in the theme park and at CityWalk right here.
That’s it for the basics of Halloween Horror Nights! If you’re a first-timer, you’re all set for your first scare-tastic experience at the Hollywood theme park.
HHN fanatics — and yes, we know you’re reading this — sound off in the comments with your favorite hacks, tips and must-do activities!