Ultimate Halloween Horror Nights 30 Guide, Part 1: Planning

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Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) is the country’s premier Halloween event, Golden Ticket Award winner for over a decade. While Disney’s After Hours Boo Bash at Walt Disney World focuses on family-friendly activities, Universal embraces its horror roots to create an edgy, adult-oriented event.

In this two-part series, we will cover all you need to know about HHN 30. Part 1 focuses on planning, operating hours, ticket options, discounts, and warnings. Part 2 covers touring tips of the haunted houses, scare zones, and shows.

Additional Reading

Halloween Horror Nights is a huge event that transforms Universal Studios Florida into a completely different park. The event is so large we have split our previous yearly Halloween Horror Nights article up into several pieces. We suggest reading these posts in addition to this part 1 and 2 series:


What Day Should I Visit?

Your date (or dates) for visiting HHN will likely depend on several factors: when you are traveling to Orlando, when you have off work, when are your friends available, what are the ticket costs, and more. Picking the correct night can make all the difference in the underworld – an evening with low crowds results in short to non-existent lines while a highly attended event will lead to… well something very scary.

The following nights are the least crowded at HHN:

  1. Weekdays in September
  2. Halloween Day and subsequent days after the holiday
  3. Friday early evenings in September
  4. Sunday late evenings in September
  5. Weekdays in October

Comparatively, the following nights are the most crowded and with the longest queues:

  1. Saturdays in October
  2. The week leading up to Halloween
  3. Saturdays in September
  4. Friday late evenings in October
  5. Opening weekend (September 3 – 4)

We suggest the following rule of thumb: the more a single night event ticket costs, the more crowded that night is expected to be.

Operating Hours

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 30 runs on select nights September 3 through October 31. Excluding the first two weeks, Horror Nights take place every Wednesday through Sunday night (plus Tuesday, October 26). On event days Universal Studios Florida closes at 5:00 p.m. and reopens for HHN at 6:30 p.m.

Ticket & Pass Options

HHN requires its own event ticket – normal daytime park admission and Universal Orlando Annual Passes are not valid. Single-day event tickets start at $70.99 plus tax online while a one-day ticket starts at $122.99 plus tax at the gate. Tickets purchased online can be printed out at home, scanned from a phone, or picked up at Will Call. We suggest purchasing your tickets online to save a considerable amount of money.

Guests attending more than one night can save money with a multi-day pass:

  • Rush of Fear Pass: $129.99 plus tax, valid for admission the first four weeks of the event (September 3-4, 9-12, 15-19, and 22-26).
  • Frequent Fear Pass: $159.99 plus tax, valid for admission for every event night Sunday through Thursday plus the first weekend (Friday, September 3, and Saturday, September 4) of the event.
  • Frequent Fear Plus Pass: $189.99 plus tax, valid for admission every event night Sunday through Friday plus the first and last Saturday of the event (September 4 and October 30)
  • Ultimate Frequent Fear Pass: $284.99 plus tax, valid for admission every night of the event

Universal Halloween Horror Nights Express Pass

Halloween Horror Nights Express Pass allows guests to bypass stand-by lines for houses and attractions to dramatically reduce wait times. Express Pass starts at $69.99 plus tax per guest and grants access to the Express queue for each haunted house and attraction once that night. In the past waits for the most popular houses have soared above three hours on the busiest days; Express can reduce waits by at least half.

Universal sometimes sells a heavily discounted (usually half that day’s price) Express Pass for the final three hours of the event. These Half Price Express Passes are available first-come, first-served based on availability. This is a fantastic option for guests who arrive late or are on a budget. Check locations that sell Express for availability and pricing.

Multi-day passes featuring Express Pass are also available. The pass includes HHN admission (see descriptions above) plus one use of Express Pass at each haunted house and attraction per night.

  • Rush of Fear Pass with Express: $399.99 plus tax
  • Frequent Fear Pass with Express: $459.99 plus tax
  • Frequent Fear Pass Plus with Express: $509.99 plus tax
  • Ultimate Frequent Fear Pass with Express: $729.99 plus tax

Note: Express Passes offered to guests staying at deluxe Universal Orlando hotels are not valid during HHN. Express Pass is not a valid admission into the event.

Scream Early, Behind the Screams, and RIP Tours

Universal offers a Scream Early ticket for guests who only have an HHN ticket. This special ticket grants one-time admission to USF starting at 3:00 p.m. to experience the park and participate in Stay and Scream. The ticket is $30 per person plus tax and can be purchased online.

Daytime Behind the Screams tours offer a guided, lights-on look at the haunted houses. Knowledgeable guides take guests through select houses to learn the behind-the-scenes secrets, stories, and incredible effects. This is a great choice for guests who wish to experience the event without the scares or nighttime festivities. Tours are offered for three or six house options with pricing starts at $79.99 plus tax per guest. Tickets can be purchased online, theme park admission and event admission are not included.

Do you crave no waits at all? If money is no object, guided RIP Tours provide guests immediate access to all the houses and preferred show seating. RIP Tours pricing varies by night, ranging from $199.99 to $369.99 plus tax per guest; tours are purchased online. Private RIP Tours are also available; call 866-604-7556 for pricing and more information. Admission to HHN is not included.

Annual Passholder Offers

Universal Orlando offers special events, discounts, and merchandise for Annual Passholders during HHN.

  • One free Horror Nights ticket on select dates for Premier Passholders
  • Exclusive Passholder entrance into Universal Studios Florida prior to the start of the event for Stay and Scream
  • Exclusive merchandise & pins at the UOAP Lounge
  • Discounted single-day event tickets in September starting at $64.99 plus tax
  • 5-10% discount on RIP tours

Guidelines, Accessibility, and Warnings

  • Halloween Horror Nights is not Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (or Disney’s After Hours Boo Bash). This event is for mature audiences and features fake violence, gore, the macabre, dramatic irony, sexually suggestive themes, loud noises, and theatrical fog. Children, pre-teens, or teens who would not be able to handle an adult Halloween party or R-rated horror movie should not attend.
  • Face coverings are encouraged inside at the event but costume masks are prohibited.
  • Costumes of any kind are not allowed, but themed t-shirts and face painting are allowed.
  • Food, beverages, photography, videography, or any light-emitting devices are not allowed in houses.
  • Physical contact of any kind with scare actors is prohibited; the safety of Universal Orlando Team Members is paramount. Violations of this last rule can lead to expulsion from the event, banning from Universal Orlando, and criminal charges.
  • HHN houses are fully accessible by wheelchair; electric wheelchairs and ECVs are not permitted through the houses, guests must transfer to a wheelchair.
  • Service animal walking areas are available in KidZone and next to Men in Black.
  • Strobe lights and fog are heavily used in scare zones and houses. Some houses use fake smells that could irritate some.
  • HHN is LOUD, bring earplugs if you are sensitive to sharp or loud noises.

If any of these warnings give you pause then reconsider going for your own health and safety.

Have we scared you away yet? No? Well, good — in part 2, we will cover the best tips for touring Halloween Horror Nights.

What are you looking forward to the most at Halloween Horror Nights 30? Leave your comments and questions below!

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Joseph Matt

Avid amusement park and video game fan. Enjoys picking up rare beers at breweries, exploring cities, cooking, and sports.

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