If you don’t know much about Halloween Horror Nights, it’s an annual event at Universal Orlando Resort (2018 is the 28th year, which is why you’ll see the hashtag HHN28 used a lot on social media), where for a limited time, the streets come alive with murderous, terrifying characters, or ‘scareactors’, haunting scare zones around the park and also inhabiting individual mazes (haunted houses). Inspiration for the scare zones and houses is taken from modern and cult classic horror and sci fi films and TV shows, plus you’ll find incredible original concepts inspired by various eras or genres of films. Visitors can walk through the scare zones – areas of the park taken over by terrifying, realistic characters and walk through the incredibly detailed and realistic mazes. Want to know more about the houses and scare zones at Halloween Horror Nights 2018? Here’s everything you need to know!
Why is it so popular? Well firstly, the special effects and attention to detail are amazing – it’s literally like being inside a horror film and people flock from all over the world to experience the event; secondly, think about the unique delight/thrill that comes with being a little bit scared in a safe environment: like the way you feel after a jump scare in a horror movie. Everyone shrieks, then there’s a ripple of laughter through the cinema. It’s addictive.
So how does it work? The park briefly closes at around tea time, ready for the creative teams to set to work and transform the park ready for the influx of HHN visitors. When you walk in, you’re immediately immersed in incredibly creative sets, and encounter all sorts of creatures and characters who interact with the visitors (don’t worry, they never touch you!).
What are the plans for this year? One of our favourite events of the year is the Halloween Horror Nights media preview. It’s a chance to catch up with the ridiculously talented and very lovely Mike Aiello, the Senior Director of Entertainment Creative Development at Universal Orlando Resort, and the equally lovely UK Universal Parks and Resorts team and find out all their devious plans for the coming Halloween Horror Nights event. Such is the interest in finding out about the mazes and scare zones, that every year when I say I’m going, I get loads of Twitter DMs and messages from HHN rumour sites and devotees saying ‘please will you tell us what Mike announces? I won’t say it came from you, I promise!’. But nope, my lips are sealed until I get the all clear, especially for the super exciting final mazes, details of which are often held back for announcement later. This year, the interest has reached fever pitch even earlier than usual, with the announcement that there will be a Stranger Things maze, and there’s a really cool 1980s theme running through most of the haunted houses and scare zones at Halloween Horror Nights 2018…
HHN28 Scare Zones
I love everything about Halloween Horror Nights, but walking through the scare zones is one of my favourite things. It’s adrenaline fuelled fun and I’m usually screaming my head off within about ten minutes of getting through the gates. What will you experience if you visit this year?
1 Vamp 85: New Year’s Eve – in this brilliant 80s themed are,a, a sequel to the brilliant original Vamp 55 from 2016, you’ll be visiting a high school New Year’s party like no other, because you’re not the only one waiting for the ball drop – this party has been taken over by vampires, and you’ll find the usual high school characters: material girls, goths, punks and of course metal heads, making the streets of New York run red with blood!
2 The 1988 Chiodo Bros film, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, will come alive right by the lagoon, so you’ll find terrifying clowns in a great fun environment, throwing acid cream pies and playing creepy gags. Don’t get zapped by their ray guns or you could end up being turned into a festering pile of rotten cotton candy – or worse! I can’t wait for this one.
3 Revenge of Chucky – this seriously frightens the pants off me. Chucky is one of the creepiest characters ever to inhabit a horror film and he’ll be stalking the streets of Universal Studios. Expect to wander through a twisted toy fair where you’ll encounter a series of toys that Chucky has possessed, plus you’ll come face to face with a huge version of Chucky himself. Shudder.
4 Twisted Tradition is another original concept, in which an ancient evil has been reawakened, twisting Halloweeen characters into something terrifying and hideous: expect rotten pumpkins and more, all intent on finding their own human sacrifices.
5 The Harvest, themed in a dilapidated old barn, is the first zone you’ll experience when you enter. The ancient building holds horrors from each house. Foul creatures lurk between the hay bales, ready for a harvest of blood and screams.
1 Trick ‘r Treat: based on this 2009 cult classic film (that actually went straight to DVD), and after the success of last year’s beautiful/deadly scare zone, little Sam is back this year, punishing those who break the rules of Halloween. Walk through Mr Kreeg’s house, come face to face with terrifying werewolves… and remember, never blow out a pumpkin!
2 Stranger Things: get set to be transported right back in time to 1980s Hawkins, Indiana. The maze will play out like you’re in one of the episodes of Stranger Things, encountering demigorgons, interpreting the fairy lights, and getting drawn into the Upside Down. There’s an incredible soundtrack promised for this super exciting maze too.
3 Slaughter Sinema: this original concept is themed after a B-movie drive in marathon, you’ll find characters from horror movies from the late 70s and early 80s. Every room in the maze will be different, so you’ll experience everything from a biker bar to a barber shop and more. Expect characters from some seriously kitsch B movies, like these bloody thirsty aliens from Amazon Cannibals from Planet Hell!
4 Dead Exposure – Patient Zero: this incredibly creative zombie maze, based on the terrifying original concept from 2008, will see a pitch black maze, highlighted in UV paint and flashed intermittently with UV light. Based on the streets of Paris, the City of Lights will be plunged into darkness as hordes of terrifying, flesh eating zombies swarm the streets.
5 Carnival Graveyard: Rust in Pieces – this house is based on a creepy old abandoned salvage yard where pieces of old carnivals are left to rot, but something sinister is festering amongst the debris…
6 Seeds of Extinction: this maze is set in a post-apocalyptic planet earth, where humans have been completely wiped out and nature has reclaimed the earth, leaving something monstrous to spread across the planet. Expect predatory plants that are hungry for meat, strangling vines, razor sharp thorns and more as you explore.
7 Poltergeist!: one of the biggest announcements of HHN28 is that the Steven Speilberg classic, Poltergeist! will feature as a maze. You’ll be taken through the possessed home of the Freeling family, experiencing the graveyard underneath the house, coming face to face with ghostly apparitions, and experience iconic scenes from the film, including the flickering TV screen, and the pool filled with floating corpses. As you cross into the ‘light,’ things get even weirder, with floating furniture, vanishing walls and more. It’s technologically brilliant and I can’t wait to experience it!
8 Halloween 4 – the return of Michael Myers: the jumpsuit is back! Michael Myers has escaped a prison transfer and headed back to terrorise Haddonfield once more. This maze will see visitors dropped right into Michael Myers’ path – will anyone survive?
Experience this nightmare come to life on select nights from Sept. 14 to Nov. 3. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers joins the event line-up, featuring more haunted houses than ever, five scare zones and a powerhouse show. It’s the 30th anniversary of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, so make sure to watch it before you come to the event.
9 The Horrors of Blumhouse: I’m SO chuffed about this one as The Purge is one of my all-time horror franchises, and we absolutely loved Happy Death Day too (I like my horror with a smattering of humour). I imagine there’ll be a common theme of masked murderers running through this house, where you’re bound to encounter not just the Babyface Killer from Happy Death Day, but also various murderous Purgers as you move through the house.
And finally, the 10th house has now been announced:
10 Scary Tales – Deadly Ever After: in this haunted house, you’ll find your best loved storybook characters embroiled in a twisted fantasy realm controlled by the Wicked Witch of the West. Names have been released of some of the different sections in the house, and with titles like ‘Revenge’, ‘Toupée’ and ‘Splatter’, we can only imagine how nightmarish the journey through this house will prove. Hold onto your (witches) hats!
The Academy of Villains – this brilliantly choreographed and super talented dance troupe will be performing at HHN28, placed in a full stadium venue. Expect cyber punk/80s/Bladerunner themes and don’t miss them!
This year, Halloween Horror Nights 28 will take over Universal Orlando Resort on selected nights from September 14th to November 3rd: : September 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 23, 28, 30, October 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 31 and November 1, 2, 3.
You need a separate ticket to enter the event from your normal daytime park ticket, and I highly recommend the brilliant Attraction Tickets Direct who offer a Frequent Fear Plus Pass to Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights priced from £97 per person. The pass allows unlimited admission to the evening event on all applicable dates
HHN holiday package
Enjoy seven nights at Universal Orlando Resort with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled Virgin Atlantic flights from London Gatwick direct to Orlando, with accommodation at Universal’s Aventura Hotel from £1165pp. The price is for two adults and is based on a Skyline view room on a room only basis with car hire included. The package includes a 3-Park Bonus Ticket for access to Universal Studios Florida,
Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay AND the Halloween Horror Nights Frequent Fear Plus Pass Ticket – offering multiple nights of admission from September 14 th through to November 3 rd . Virgin Holidays is a member of ABTA and is ATOL protected. To book:, 0344 557 3859 or visit one of our individual retail stores or one of the 110 stores located in Debenhams and Next stores nationwide or visit www.virginholidays.com.