How to Plan an Epic Halloween Horror Nights 2022 Date Night

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In Orlando the haunting season tends to start a little early. The spooks at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) kicks off September 2, running until October 31, 2022. The spooky Halloween season begins early around here, and this year is another special moment for Halloween Horror Nights.

**Universal Orlando Resort has added two new event dates – Tuesday, October 11 and Monday, October 24**

In its 31st year, it is the perfect time to celebrate all things Halloween. So the overarching theme for Halloween Horror Nights 2022 (HHN31) is Halloween itself.

Halloween Horror Nights 2022 Announcements

10 houses have been announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2022. Including 4 based on movies and pop culture:

  • Halloween – Come face to face with Michael Myers and go back to where it all began. Step into terrifying moments from the 1978 horror classic, Halloween.
  • Universal Monsters: Legends Collide – you’re about to get caught in the middle of an epic battle between The Wolf Man, Dracula and The Mummy, together for the first time ever.
  • The Horrors of Blumhouse – Enter the worlds of two horror masterpieces from Blumhouse as you face the most terrifying moments of Freaky and The Black Phone.
  • The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare – travel into the mind of singer-songwriter The Weeknd to visit the twisted fantasies that inspired his hit album.

The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare haunted house is coming to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights 2022. The Weeknd's music videos will serve as inspiration for The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare house, but taken a step further.
The house will have three main scenes:

  • After Hours Club: an industrial warehouse
  • Las Vegas-themed After Hours Hotel
  • After Hours Station, a subterranean metro tunnel that recalls the locale last seen in The Weeknd's disturbing After Hours short film.

Horror Nights 2022 Tips

  • View the full lineup ahead of time
  • Visit on a weeknight
  • September is less crowded than October
  • Plan extra time to enjoy the scare zones
  • Take a break and watch the lagoon show
  • Save time with early admission
  • Splurge on an Express Pass
  • Book a guided tour
  • Fuel up with signature food and drinks
  • Don't forget to ride some rides
  • Talk about your expectations and comfort level

Read on for our guide on making the most of a date night, or should we say dare night, at Halloween Horror Nights 2022.

Note: Admission to Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights is NOT included with regular park admission. You will need a separate event ticket in order to attend. Also, parking is NOT free until after 10pm, so be prepared to pay full price.

 

Check out the full Halloween Horror Nights lineup

The headlining houses are worthy of the buzz, but you won't get the full experience if you overlook the incredible scare zones, shows, and original concept houses. Be sure to review the full list of Universal Orlando's HHN houses, scare zones, shows and rides in advance.

HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS HOUSES (2022)

Focusing just on the Halloween Horror Nights houses can sometimes lead to disappointment due to the long wait times. Plan out 3-4 must see houses, including at least two original concept houses (ones that aren’t based on a movie or TV show). The original concept houses tend to have shorter wait times and the Universal Orlando's creative design team has more freedom with HHN house designs.

  • Halloween
  • Universal Monsters: Legends Collide 
  • The Horrors of Blumhouse
  • The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare
  • “Spirits of the Coven” – Enter an unsettling 1920s speakeasy only to discover that they are the main ingredient of witch’s brew
  • Bugs: Eaten Alive” – Face a putrid, skin-crawling infestation of spiders, roaches, flies, bees and more
  • “Fiesta de Chupacabras” – Escape or become prey to a no-longer mythical, fanged creature
  • Hellblock Horror” – Attempt to survive visiting hours for horrifying monsters serving time
  • “Dead Man’s Pier: Winter’s Wake” – Endure a petrifying winter thunderstorm in a seaside village ruled by an undead fisherman
  • “Descendants of Destruction” – Encounter bloodthirsty mutants living in a post-apocalyptic subway system

TIP: The original concept houses tend to have shorter wait times, especially early in the evening and towards the end of the night. “Dead Man’s Pier: Winter’s Wake” has received great reviews early on, definitely put this one on your list.

The Weeknd After Hours Haunted House 2022 - Image credit Universal Orlando Resort
The Weeknd After Hours Haunted House 2022 – Image credit Universal Orlando Resort

HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS SCARE ZONES (2022)

The spooky scare zones feature intricate themes without the wait times and the enclosed space of a house. Many repeat guests cite the scare zones as their favorite part of HHN. There are five scare zones for 2022.

  • Encounter The Pumpkin Lord and all his devious subjects in “Horrors of Halloween”
  • Reap the wrath of scarecrows who will stop at nothing to harvest their souls in “Scarecrow: Cursed Soil”
  • Experience a terrifying 1950s Halloween parade-gone-wrong alongside bloodthirsty trick-or-treaters in “Sweet Revenge”
  • Venture through an ominous Halloween thunderstorm within a ghastly cemetery in “Graveyard: Deadly Unrest”
  • Escape an evil sorceress bringing forth an army of ravenous monstrosities in “Conjure the Dark”

You'll be greeted to Halloween Horror Nights 2022 with the “Horrors of Halloween” scare zone, featuring The Pumpkin Lord. “Sweet Revenge” with its parade theme is the most fun scare zone and you may find yourself wanting to go back through a few times. It's in the New York Area.

The Pumpkin Lord character greets guests in a gruesome way at Halloween Horror Nights 2022 Horrors of Halloween Scare Zone
Halloween Horror Nights 2022 Horrors of Halloween Scare Zone – Image credit Universal Orlando Resort

STAGE SHOW + LAGOON SHOW

There is also an elaborate and impressive stage show featuring fire, pyro, and aerial performances at Halloween Horror Nights returning this year. Halloween Nightmare Fuel makes a hot impression and offers a place to sit for a bit and be entertained together.

The lagoon show is rethemed for 2022. This new show follows the Grim Reaper on the undertaking of what happens beyond the grave – all set to eerily-remixed music by some of today’s most iconic artists.

Who knew water fountains and projections on water could give you goosebumps? You may want to cuddle together for this one. This larger-than-life show takes place in Universal Studios’ lagoon using projection technology, fireworks, lasers, and a killer soundtrack.


How to save time at Halloween Horror Nights

The lines for the most popular Universal Orlando HHN houses can get as long as three hours, with average wait times around at least an hour or more for popular houses based on movies and TV shows. Alternatively, the original concept houses are full of detail and unique experiences, and tend to have lower wait times – not a bad Halloween Horror Nights shortcut!

Halloween Horror Nights officially kicks off at 6pm on most nights and generally runs until 1am. Take breaks, enjoy the experience, and show those scary fiends they are no match for the power of love!

A Halloween Horror Nights Tradition Mel's Die-In in bright neon lights
A Halloween Horror Nights Tradition Mel's Die-In – Image by Jodi Caballero

EARLY ADMISSION

If you have regular park admission to Universal Studios Florida for the day as well as for Halloween Horror Nights that night, you won't be required to exit the park and come back in for HHN. You’ll just need to head to one of the holding areas.

For this early admission option, you must enter the park before the official park closing for the day.

After about 45 minutes to an hour from park closing, the holding areas are opened up and at least one house in the immediate area will be available to experience with little to no wait.

It is wise to map out the event ahead of time and determine which part of the park has one or two houses you want to see the most so you can utilize the proper holding area. You should be able to get through one house right away and then get in line for your next house with little wait time.

EXPRESS PASSES

The alternative to early admission is the Halloween Horror Night's Express Pass – and it is going to cost extra. The prices range from $89.99 all the way up to $159.99. The question always is “is it worth it?” And there’s no easy answer to that. Will you get through more houses in less time? Yes. Will it eliminate all waits at all the houses completely? Not so much.

A few important notes: Halloween Horror Night Express Passes do sell out on peak nights, including weekends and dates in mid to late October, so make your decision about purchasing Halloween Horror Night Express Passes well in advance. If you choose to go on a peak night, some wait times can be as long as 2 hours or more for the most popular houses. An Express Pass for Halloween Horror Nights 2022 does not guarantee you won’t have to wait in line. On peak nights, the line for the Express Pass can still be up to half of the posted wait time.

READER TIPS:

“As a team member, express passes are the way to go. They have hundreds of people that do the stay and scream and get in early (they open certain houses 15 minutes early). When the event actually starts, many lines can be longer than an hour.” [email protected]

“We always splurge and get the Express Pass. It’s double the price but so worth it. Definitely hit all the houses you really want to see first, then enjoy the rest. The Killer Klowns scare zone is the absolute best!!!!!!” – @mustangcaryn

Halloween Horror Nights 2022-Universal Monsters graphic with dracula wolfman and the mummy
Halloween Horror Nights 2022-Universal Monsters | Image credit: Universal Orlando Resort

GUIDED TOURS

If you're able to splurge, Universal offers a special R.I.P. Tour where you'll join fellow fans on a guided VIP tour of Halloween Horror Nights 2022. The tour includes VIP entry to all houses along with other perks. R.I.P. tours begin at $299.99/person and require separate event admission. If you can swing it, this is a pricey but fun way to ensure you won't have to wait in line and will be able to see all of the houses.

VISIT ON A WEEKNIGHT

I recommend visiting Halloween Horror Nights on a non-peak night (such as a weeknight and in September or early October) and that you take advantage of early admission if eligible. It is also recommended that you enjoy the scare zones and shows and a ride or two to get the full value of your event ticket.


Fuel up on signature food & drink

Over the years the good people at Universal Orlando have learned that special events require special food and drinks. The Halloween Horror Night food and beverage should not be overlooked. There are multiple food and beverage kiosks throughout the park.

Some of the food and beverage offerings for 2022 include:

  • Major Sweets Ice Cream Sandwich (inspired by “Sweet Revenge” scare zone): Candy-corn sugar cookies filled with sweet corn ice cream (vegetarian)
  • Lil’ Boo’s Spicy Pumpkin Bun (inspired by “Horrors of Halloween” scare zone): A steamed bun filled with spicy butternut squash influenced by the beloved Halloween Horror Nights character (vegetarian)
  • Garlic Philly Cheese “Stake”: Tender shaved beef served on a black hoagie slider roll with caramelized onions, peppers, sautéed mushrooms, muenster cheese sauce and roasted garlic aioli
Orange colored steam buns Lil Boo Bao Halloween Horror Nights 2022
Lil Boo Bao Halloween Horror Nights 2022 | Image credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Returning fan-favorites:

    • Pizza Fries: Fries piled high with sausage, pepperoni, marinara sauce and loads of cheese. Also available this year are Vegan Pizza Fries – topped with marinara sauce, vegan cheese, vegan pepperoni and vegan sausage crumbles.
    • S’mores Fries: Sweet potato fries drizzled with melted chocolate, graham cracker crumbs and marshmallows
    • Traditional Twisted Taters (vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options)Fried spiralized ribbon potato thinly sliced and skewered with season salt, garlic parmesan, sour cream & chives, or ghost pepper seasoning options. Guests can also enjoy the variations Blood ‘n Guts Twisted Tater – smothered with chili and roasted red pepper queso; and Fiery Twisted Tater with Queso (vegetarian) – complete with white cheese sauce and sprinkled with flaming hot crunchy cheese puffs, and ghost pepper seasoning

Kill your thirst with these cocktails:

  • Save Your Tears Signature Cocktail (inspired by “The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare” haunted house): This signature drink mixes bourbon, peach brandy, single-pressed lemon juice, agave nectar and bitters – topped with peach bursting boba and served in a souvenir cup
  • Burning Skull: Includes tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, mango nectar, pineapple juice, smoked chili bitters, jalapeno and basil concentrate, shaken and served in a light-up molded skull cup
Burning Skull Cocktail in a refillable cup Halloween Horror Nights 2022
Burning Skull Cocktail in a refillable cup Halloween Horror Nights 2022 – Jodi Caballero

Beers

  • Pecan Pie Cider: this cider on draft is the perfect pairing for desserts
  • Lacto Kooler: a Berliner Weisse, sour beer in a fun, hologram-like can
  • Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale: a returning favorite from last year. Infuses pumpkin pie spices, natural cinnamon, nutmeg, and real pumpkin

Check out Universal's foodie guide to Halloween Horror Nights for more details.

Ride some Horror Nights rides

Take a break from the horror to ride some rides. Some of Universal Studio's top attractions are open during HHN. This is a great way to experience rides with very low wait times and without having to pay regular park admission.

The following five rides are usually open during Halloween Horror Nights:

  • Transformers: The Ride 3D
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley (Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts)
  • Men In Black Alien Attack

Pro-tip: Type the code “666” into Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit for a special spooky song to play while you're riding this roller coaster.


OTHER HELPFUL HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS TIPS

 

Talk about your HHN comfort level

Perhaps one of you is more enthusiastic about being scared. Perhaps you're both a little hesitant. Or maybe you're both brave and ready to face the Halloween Horror Night scare zones and dark, loud houses together. Whatever your tolerance level for scary stuff may be, it is best to get it out in the open upfront. This way you're both on the same page and prepared to be supportive of each other if needed.

It is fun to push yourself and conquer your fears, but you also don't want to end up making each other uncomfortable without realizing it. The best way to have a date night at Halloween Horror Nights is to be supportive and understanding of each other’s comfort level.

Map it out

Halloween Horror Nights is a different experience and layout even if you've been to Universal Studios. In order to maximize your time, it is best to review the official Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights map – which is available to view halfway down the Halloween Horror Nights things to do page.

Take note of the location of your must-see houses and scarezones. Start in the back of the park and work your way back to the front.

Make it a getaway

Consider making your trip to HHN an overnight getaway. Universal Orlando has a great variety of resorts that are perfect for couples. Cabana Bay Resort offers a “Universal Monsters Gallery of Legends” – featuring a collection of immersive photo opportunities inspired by the terrifying trio of Universal's classic Monsters that guests will face at the event – The Mummy, The Wolf Man and Dracula.

The pop-up is open from 2-10pm during Halloween Horror Nights, and is free for Universal Orlando hotel guests. Guests must show their room key. Cabana Bay guests will receive priority access, and guests staying at other Universal Orlando hotels will wait in a standby line.

Feature image credit: Jodi Caballero


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