After canceling the original celebration in 2020 due to COVID-19, Universal Studios Florida kicks off the annual Halloween Horror Nights event on Sept. 3. This year marks the event’s 30th anniversary.
“It feels great to finally return. I was so sad last year when it was canceled because my friends and I always have such a blast. We love all things horror so it is fun to feel like you are in the movies,” senior McKinley Corey said.
To celebrate the past 30 years, the event pays homage to their previous horror icons. One haunted house named “Halloween Horror Nights Icons: Captured” features icons such as Jack the Clown, the Storyteller and the Caretaker. This house marks the first time in the event’s history where multiple icons are featured in one house. The icon most heavily taking over the house varies between nights.
Two out of the five scare zones also pay homage to the past 30 years. One scare zone called “30 Years 30 Fears” focuses on various monsters of past events. The other draws attention to Jack the Clown’s brother, Eddie Schmidt. “Lights, Camera, Hacktion: Eddie’s Revenge” puts visitors on the set of a horror film that Eddie directs, using “real” monsters.
Reminiscing on the past is not the only purpose of the Halloween event. The other haunted houses and scare zones resemble a typical year of Halloween Horror Nights.
Houses based on intellectual property include “The Haunting of Hill House,” “Beetlejuice,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Bride of Frankenstein Lives.” The event also presents five other houses based on original ideas. Original houses include “Welcome to Scarey: Horror in the Heartland,” “Case Files Unearthed: Legendary Truth,” “The Wicked Growth: Realm of the Pumpkin,” “Puppet Theatre: Captive Audience” and “Revenge of the Tooth Fairy.”
“I am super excited for ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ because it is one of my favorite shows that has almost no recognition. I am excited for more people to watch and love the show,” Corey said.
Moving away from haunted houses, some other scare zones at the event include “Seek and Destroy” and “Gorewood Forest.” The last scare zone called “Crypt TV” is based on short monster videos from the company of the same name.
Despite canceling the event last year, Universal still created several haunted houses to tide daytime guests over. Included with regular park-admission, “Revenge of the Tooth Fairy,” “The Bride of Frankenstein Lives” and “Beetlejuice” were available to Universal guests.
Now that nighttime events have resumed, single-night tickets start at $70.99 plus tax. Four types of multi-night tickets are available.
Typical Universal safety precautions are in place for the event. Universal encourages guests to wear masks while indoors, social distance and wash their hands often.