Are you thinking about doing the Halloween Horror Nights Unmasking the Horror Tour at Universal Studios in 2023?
If so, you’re in for one of the most amazing experiences at HHN.
To make the most of your lights on tour, here are some invaluable tips and secrets that will ensure you have an unforgettable time.
I’ll also give you all of the ghastly details of the three houses for your trip.
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What is the Halloween Horror Nights Unmasking the Horror Tour?
The HHN Lights-On Tour is an opportunity for you to go behind-the-scenes and get an up-close look at all the haunted houses featured at Halloween Horror Nights.
Unlike the nighttime event, where screams and scares may distract you, this tour allows you to fully appreciate the intricate details and craftsmanship of the haunted houses.
Where Does the 2023 Unmasking the Horror Tour Start?
Before your Unmasking the Horror Tour starts, you will meet in the former Blue Man Group Soundstage, which is in Soundstage 18.
Once you get there, you will check-in at the lobby and wait for all of your group to show up before you get started.
On my past solo HHN Lights-on Tour experience, I was able to arrive early and hangout before my tour started.
I also recommend that you do the same and arrive in enough time to check-in and get settled. Don’t forget to arrive at least 35 minutes early.
What’s Included in the HHN Unmasking the Horror Tour?
On my experience we were able to get these lanyards for free before our tour.
Halloween Horror Nights Lights-On Tour: 3-House Tour versus 6-House Tour
Before we get into the house tour experience, I want to give you the difference between the 3-House Tour and the 6-House Tour.
Something to note for both of them is that you do not get to pick what houses you will get to see on your visit. They are predetermined by the Universal Orlando Team Members.
HHN Unmasking the Horror 3-House Tour Breakdown
The 3-House Tour lasts about three hours and starts at $119.99. On this HHN tour you get to explore the following houses:
2023 HHN Unmasking the Horror 3-House Tour Options
- The Last of Us
- Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins
- The Darkest Deal
2022 HHN Unmasking the Horror 3-House Tour Options
- Fiesta de Chupacabras
- Spirits of the Coven
2021 HHN Unmasking the Horror 3-House Tour Options
- Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives
- Revenge of the Tooth Fairy
- Case Files Unearth: Legendary Truth
HHN Unmasking the Horror 6-Hour Tour Breakdown
The 6-House Tour last about six hours and starts at $169.99. On this tour you will get to explore:
2023 HHN Unmasking the Horror 6-House Tour Options
- Blood Moon Offerings
- Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count
- Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate
- Stranger Things
- Yeti: Campground Kills
- Universal Monters Unmasked
2022 HHN Unmasking the Horror 6-House Tour Options
- Universal Monsters: Legends Collide
- Blumhouse: Freaky & The Black Phone
- Bugs: Eaten Alive
- Descendants of Destruction
- Dead Man’s Pier: Winter’s Wake
- Hellblock Horror
2021 HHN Unmasking the Horror 6-House Tour Options
- Welcome to Scary: Horror in the Heartland
- Puppet Theater: Captive Audience
- Wicked Growth: Realm of the Pumpkin
- The Haunting of Hill House
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre
- HHN Icons: Captured
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2023 Unmasking the Horror 3-House Tour House Review and Secrets
Now that you know what to expect, let’s go over the breakdown of each maze on the 3-house tour.
1. The Last of Us
This Halloween Horror Nights house was one of the more anticipated ones for my group.
However, we were not allowed to take many photos of this Intellectual Property.
I did try really hard to get the most photos that I could so that you could see all of the cool props in The Last of Us HHN house with the lights on.
Unfortunately, there were only three to four rooms (from my memory) that I was allowed to take pictures of.
Storyline of The Last of Us HHN House
This video game, by Naughty Dog and PlayStation, takes place in a world that’s been completely destroyed.
It’s like you’re right there with Joel and Ellie, the main characters. They’re trying to survive in a world that’s been completely wrecked by a super scary fungal virus.
This virus turns people into these really freaky creatures called the Infected.
In this Halloween Horror Nights house, you’ll encounter all sorts of these insane creatures like the Infected Runners, Stalkers, and Clickers.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also this group of not-so-nice humans called The Hunters. They’re all stuck in this Pittsburgh Quarantine Zone, fighting to escape and stay alive.
It’s a wild ride, my fellow Hipster!
Secrets of The Last of Us Halloween Horror Nights House
The team at Universal joined with Naughty Dog and you can see that in every detail of the house.
If you’re a fan of this game, then you’ll see so many familiar things from your own game experience directly inside this HHN maze.
I’m referring to all of the street art, and even that Firefly emblem. Plus, they included a few subtle references to elements from the game, such as the:
- Station where you can upgrade your arsenal
- Meds/pill boxes
- Graffiti on the walls
- Bullet holes
As you can see, there’s lots of open space in this house to showcase the magnitude of this franchise and the over-the-top set design and scares!
In one of the final scenes you come face-to-face with the Bloater as Joel is trying to take him out.
Overall, this house is made for the fans of The Last of Us and anyone who’s into HHN houses that feels more like a production.
2. The Darkest Deal
Now I’m going into the second house that was on the 2023 Unmasking the Horror Tour at Universal Studios, The Darkest Deal.
From the beginning of the announcement from Universal, I was interested in the “selling your soul to the devil” concept that you hear in folklore surrounding celebrities.
Storyline of The Darkest Deal HHN House
Imagine a scenario where the talented blues musician, Pinestraw Spruce, finds himself at a significant intersection – both metaphorically and literally!
At this particular crossroads, he comes face-to-face with a truly wicked entity known as The Collector.
The Collector presents Pinestraw with an offer: the chance to achieve musical greatness, but at an immense cost.
Pinestraw will have the opportunity to perform for a captivated audience, showcasing his extraordinary talent.
However, there’s a catch – once his performance concludes, The Collector will appear to claim his soul, leading him down to the underworld.
Pinestraw won’t be the only one facing this spine-chilling predicament.
Other musicians have also experienced the horrifying consequences of seeking fame through The Darkest Deal.
Secrets of The Darkest Deal Halloween Horror Nights House
The exterior of this spooky house is the Barrel House in its current state, a place where Pinestraw used to have fun until it all changed.
At the start of the haunted house, there is a particularly fascinating scene where you enter a simulated cornfield.
A Pinestraw Spruce figure is positioned there, alongside an actor assuming the role of The Collector.
An intriguing interaction takes place where Pinestraw signs away his soul, showcasing the setup of the haunted house right before your eyes.
Scarecrows and Cornfields at Halloween Horror Nights
According to my tour guide, Kelly, there is a widely known tale about corn and Halloween Horror Nights.
Every time they have planted corn for the event, a powerful hurricane has coincidentally struck.
The initial occurrence happened in 2004 for a scare zone called Field of Screams.
The second instance was in 2017 with Scarecrow the Reaping, which is located in the same area as this haunted house.
Since then, organizers have decided to abstain from planting real corn at the event.
More Tragedy to Unmask in This Halloween Horror Nights House
Now we’re on to the next room that serves as the entrance where we admired the performance of Pinestraw Spruce.
Inside this haunted house, you will find a variety of interesting items especially with the references to Dr. Oddfellow.
One particular connection to Oddfellow is seen here by the presence of characters and monsters wearing masks adorned with Dr. Oddfellows’ symbol on their foreheads.
Additionally, the bourbon bottle (and this scene in general) is directly linked to the Case Files Unearthed Haunted House from HHN 30 in the Kitty Kat Club section.
The Collector’s Mausoleum AKA 27 Club
Now we have reached the mausoleum section of the haunted house.
Here, you will encounter the eerie revelation that other musicians who have accepted the collector’s deal have met a tragic end and transformed into spooky zombies.
Interestingly, Kelly shared a fascinating fact about these musicians – they all passed away at the age of 27.
The number 27 holds great significance in the music world, as it is associated with the infamous “27 Club” where numerous renowned musicians, including Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, and Jimmy Hendrix, tragically perished.
Pinestraw Spruce also met the same fate at the age of 27.
Things Get Darker…
Next is the transition part of The Darkest Deal house.
During the run of the house at night you can’t really see it, but there’s actually a big old alligator in this maze that lets you know you’re somewhere down in the Delta.
After spotting the alligator, you’ll see Pinestraw’s mother engaged in the act of stirring a rather repugnant concoction within a pot.
Time for The Collector to Cash in On His Investment…
This upcoming section will transport you to the vibrant streets of New Orleans.
Prepare yourself to enter The Barrel House, a room characterized by its spaciousness.
What makes it truly fascinating is that The Collector can be found throughout this haunted house, even incorporated into the designs letting you know that he’s always watching.
Check out the Southern Delight Spirit that’s showcased here. One has a design resembling a devil character.
Additionally, you can see an old man calmly sitting in the corner with his instrument.
At this point in the haunted house, you are transported to the past, specifically to the lively club atmosphere of The Barrel House.
It is here that you will witness the collector claim the soul of Pinestraw Spruces. That’s the end of Pinestraw Spruces’ story, or is it…
3. Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins
This is one that I was the most excited to go through for HHN 32!
There is tons of stuff to see inside and there are a lot of Jack the Clown references. This also had one of the cooler facades that we could actually take pictures of.
Storyline of Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins HHN House
“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Dr. Oddfellow’s unusual exhibition, a peculiar assortment of strange curiosities that are certain to give you a shiver.“
Here you will transport yourself to the eerie atmosphere of the Dust Bowl era in the 1930s, where you will be captivated by a realm filled with grotesque animals and wicked creatures.
Prepare yourself as you step into Dr. Oddfellow: Twisted Origins – but be cautious, as the cost to partake in this hair-raising journey is high, as it nourishes the doctor’s eternal strength through souls.
Secrets of Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins Halloween Horror Nights House
In the HHN 2023 storyline, the central figure is Dr. Oddfellow, who derives his immortality from the zodiac dimension.
Additionally, Dr. Oddfellow fuels his Cane of Souls with the captured souls from his circus. Now it’s time for us to explore the oddities located behind the circus!
Notice Jack the Clown Hiddens Gems at Dr. Oddfellow’s Circus
At this house we received an invitation to attend a post-circus show, which takes place after the main event.
This is kind of a clever ploy by Dr. Oddfellow to deceive people so that he can steal their souls.
If you happen to visit the Dr. Oddfellow’s Circus, you will notice several wanted signs posted near the entrance, with one of the most noticeable being for Jack Schmidt.
This is the real name of the clown character, Jack, who is the most famous Icon of Halloween Horror Nights.
Jack the Clown plays a significant role in the story of Dr. Oddfellow and is actually a member of his traveling circus.
Jack was drawn to Dr. Oddfellow’s Circus because of Oddfellow’s demented ways which Jack could relate to since they both had an affinity to destroying people.
However, Jack’s method of destroying people is atrocious as his demonic ways are geared towards children…
You’ll see a lot of wanted posters in the queue for this HHN house but one to note is Dorothy Richmond which I think could be a reference to Chance, who is Jack’s infamous partner in the HHN lore.
But that’s just my wishful thinking 🙂
Entering into Dr. Oddfellow’s Circus
Upon entering the big top, it becomes clear that you have reached the renowned Dr. Oddfellow’s Circus.
Within its walls, you are confronted with the sight of unfortunate individuals transformed into eerie hybrids of humans and animals, presenting a spectacle of grotesque proportions.
Some of the creatures in the house came from the American Werewolf in London haunted house from 2013.
As you would expect, this HHN house had several references to Jack the Clown and previous Halloween Horror Nights.
One notable reference is the big clown face at the entrance and resembles the facade of the Fear House, Jack the Clown’s house from 2000.
Another reference is the large Jack in the Box with a prominent green J, representing Jack the Clown.
Don’t forget to check out the Cane of Souls that you’ve seen Jack the Clown carrying in past HHN events that he stole from Dr. Oddfellow.
You can also see Dr. Oddfellow carrying the Cane of Souls in his main scare zone at Halloween Horror Nights 32.
Hipster Power Tip: On my previous Unmasking the Horror Tour, I mentioned that each year Universal puts a different animal that they hide throughout the haunted houses. One year I went it was butterflies and this year it’s frogs. It would be hard for you to see them when the house is live at night.
Learning More About Dr. Oddfellow
We then had the opportunity to capture photographs inside Dr. Oddfellow’s carriage, which was an incredibly fascinating space.
There was an abundance of captivating items to observe here. Immediately on the left side, was his book containing a collection of ruins and symbols.
Additionally, there is an intriguing note displayed on the wall, referencing both October 31st and November 4th.
I’m not sure what those dates mean but I’m going to keep an eye out on the HHN social media team to see if they say anything.
One of the ruins was interpreted by my tour guide, Kelly, which she said was translated: “Never Go Alone.”
She also noted that you can see the two hats in Dr. Oddfellow’s room that showcased his past life and his future life.
The past was the time he roamed throughout the Jungle of Doom looking for zodiac power (you can see this with his jungle hat) to become the ultimate ringmaster with his top hat representing him now.
This room was also filled with numerous small decorative objects and curiosities to discover.
One particular item that has made appearances in numerous haunted houses throughout the years is Billy the Doll.
Super creepy and kind of reminds me of the famous doll from the Goosebumps book, Night of the Living Dummy.
And that’s the origin story and house for Dr. Oddfellow!
What to Know Before Your Halloween Horror Nights Lights-On Tour
One thing you should note about both tours (3-house and the 6-house) is that they do NOT include your Halloween Horror Nights ticket admission, nor do they include your admission to any of the Universal Orlando Resort theme parks.
So, once you’re done with that tour, your host will escort you outside of the park and you can go to the main gates to get back in.
2023 Unmasking the Horror Tour Photo Policy
Before we got started our HHN Lights-On Tour, we were told that we were not allowed to take photos in certain areas.
We were not allowed to take ANY videography or audio recording AT ALL and whatever photos we did take, they would tell us when it was okay to do so.
So, unfortunately you’re not able to see all of the houses in their fullness on this article, just the select rooms that they allowed us to take photos of.
What Should You Do if You Have to Make Changes to Your HHN Unmasking the Horror Tour
According to Universal Orlando:
Should the number in your party decrease, you would like to increase the number, change your tour date or cancel your tour the VIP Experience Office must be notified at least 48 hours prior to your scheduled tour date.
Additional spaces and/or tours cannot be guaranteed. Any changes made to your tour order less than 48 hours before your scheduled tour date are 100% non-refundable.
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7 Beginner Tips to Know for Your HHN Lights-on Tour
- Arrive at least 35 minutes before your reservation time
- The Unmasking the Horror Tour is not recommended for children under the age of 12
- Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult at all times
- Although gratuities are not required, they are truly appreciated so remember to bring cash
- Book your spot early as this tour is known to sell out
- Videography is not allowed but you can take as many photos as you’d like in the approved areas
- Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be doing A LOT of walking and standing
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My Final Thoughts on the 2023 Unmasking the Horror Tour at Universal Studios Florida
This was my first time doing the Unmasking the Horror Tour at Universal and I had an absolute blast!
I do recommend this tour for you if you’re a bit afraid of doing the actual event. This way you’ll know what to expect and where the scareactors will pop up at.
It’s also really good to know a bit about each house as it makes the full nighttime experience that much better!
So be sure to stick around and check out all of the HHN designs across the theme park and don’t forget to check out the HHN Tribute Store.
It is AMAZING and it’s a must, even if you’re not into Halloween Horror Nights.
If you like this article, then you’ll love these:
- Which is better, Halloween Horror Nights or Howl-O-Scream?
- First Timer Solo Tips for Universal Orlando Resort
- Halloween Horror Nights History – 1991
- My Halloween Horror Nights Solo Trip Report
- Halloween Horror Nights History – 1992
- Universal Studios One-Day Itinerary
- Islands of Adventure One-Day Itinerary
- History of Halloween Horror Nights
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
About the Author
Traveling alone to the parks has changed my life and I want to show how you can create your own solo theme park memories.
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