Are you looking for the ultimate survivor’s guide to the 2023 Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood?
If you are reading this, then that means I have officially survived my very first HHN at Universal Studios Hollywood last year!
It was such a different and fun experience for someone who is used to the terrifying event overt at Universal Studios Florida.
I learned quite a bit and I’m super excited to tell you about everything there is and how to survive your own first visit to HHN at Universal Studios Hollywood!
I have quite a bit to cover so let’s dive into the scares.
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What is Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood?
Halloween Horror Nights is a separately ticketed event that takes place at Universal Studios Hollywood on select nights during September and October.
It is filled with plenty of haunted houses, scare zones, entertainment, food and so much more!
History of HHN at Universal Studios Hollywood
Hollywood’s Horror Nights started on Oct 9, 1997, exactly 25 years ago. Meaning it started 5 years after Universal Studios Florida found success with their own version.
It tried to emulate the success of the sister park in 1992 but failed with a lackluster event.
From 2007 until 2014, Universal Studios Hollywood featured its permanent attraction, House of Horrors, each year during HHN.
But it has not been all doom and gloom for Hollywood as in recent years, it has found its stride and has steadily grown in popularity.
Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood vs Orlando: Is HHN Hollywood or Orlando better?
In a way, yes, but I feel saying yes completely would be a disservice to both parks.
Each version of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios offers each person something that will interest them.
The layout of HHN Hollywood and how the scareactors conduct themselves are different for sure as well as food and beverage offerings. And just the whole vibe in California is different.
The most similar things I found for both Halloween events were the houses.
However, even some of the same themed houses have their own twist and differences making it fun to be able to visit both events in America.
What are the dates for Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights 2023?
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood runs on select nights from September 7th through October 31st of 2023.
You can get the complete dates for this season here on Universals’ website.
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How Much is Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood?
With most theme parks these days, the price is determined by the date. The cost of HHN at Universal Studios Hollywood starts at $74.
However, you can find cheap Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights tickets on Groupon!
Also remember that the closer to Halloween you go, the higher the price of the event.
Universal Studios Hollywood offers a variety of Halloween Horror Night ticket options such as:
- General Admission
- Universal Express
- After 2 P.M. Day/Night
- R.I.P. Tour
- NEW Early Access Ticket, which provides access to select haunted houses prior to the scheduled event opening (starting at 5:30 p.m., subject to change)
- Frequent Fear Pass and Ultimate Fear Pass
For more information about each ticket type visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.
Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Dates
The HHN hours are from 7 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. but last year I was able to enter the park as early at 5 p.m. with the earliest house that opened around 6:15 p.m.
Hipster Power Tip: Get the Halloween Horror Nights After 2pm Day/ Night upgrade that gives one (1) After 2:00 p.m. Daytime General Admission to the Park, and same-day evening General Admission to Halloween Horror Nights event. The ticket includes same-day access to SUPER NINTENDO WORLD from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. plus early event access to select haunted houses starting at 5:30 p.m.
What’s Included in Your Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Ticket?
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood includes access to the haunted houses, terrifying scare zones, fun character photo-ops, exclusive food and drink options to purchase AND more!
Everything that is featured in this event can be very overwhelming, especially if you are not familiar with the layout.
Don’t worry, I will break it down for you!
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Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights 2023 Houses
Let’s start with the most obvious inclusions and that is the haunted houses.
1. The Last of Us
In The Last of Us, you’ll come across all these crazy creatures like the Infected Runners, Stalkers, and Clickers.
And if that’s not enough, there’s also this group of unfriendly humans called The Hunters. They’re all stuck in this Pittsburgh Quarantine Zone, trying to get out and stay alive.
They have to go through some pretty iconic places from the game like The Hotel Grand, which is super creepy and deserted, and a bunch of dark, gross tunnels.
It’s basically a race against time to escape and survive.
2. Stranger Things 4
Get ready to be spooked at this year’s haunted house, Stranger Things.
It’s gonna take you right to Hawkins, Indiana, where you’ll come face-to-face with the scariest new bad guy, Vecna.
This creature is on a mission to destroy the creepy Upside Down, break the barrier between both worlds and take over the real world.
Talk about a chilling adventure!
You’ll go on this terrifying adventure alongside your favorite characters from the series, such as:
- Eddie and more!
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3. The Exorcist: Believer
It all starts with a seemingly innocent purchase of a peculiar folk doll with three eyes.
Little do you know, this purchase will unleash a demonic portal, awakening sinister spirits and leading to the mysterious disappearance of two 12-year-old girls in the U.S.
After three days, the girls are found, but they have no recollection of what happened to them.
However, their behavior quickly takes a disturbing turn, indicating that something dark has taken hold of them.
4. Universal Monsters: Unmasked
Get ready to be spooked as you take you on a bone-chilling journey through the infamous Catacombs of Paris.
Sixty feet below the bustling streets, a sinister secret awaits in the form of Universal Monsters: Unmasked, a brand new haunted house that will send shivers down your spine.
As you descend into the depths of the Catacombs, you’ll discover a macabre world where millions of skeletal remains fill every nook and cranny.
But that’s not all – lurking in the shadows are some of Universal’s most notorious creatures such as:
- Phantom of the Opera
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- Dr. Jekyll and his deranged alter ego Mr. Hyde, and Dr. Jack Griffin (also known as The Invisible Man)
The Hollywood version will feature GRAMMY® Award-winning musician, SLASH, for an original score with the west coast version.
5. Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count
This haunted house will be inspired by the USA & SYFY hit series, “Chucky” that will release the iconic killer doll at Universal Studios Hollywood to terrify you!
In this house, Chucky will showcase his best kills throughout the USA & SYFY series and cult classic films.
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6. Evil Dead Rise
Go on a demented journey of the horrific yet iconic franchise from New Line Cinema.
If you’re a fan of this film series, then you know that it will be one of the most terrifying haunted mazes at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood.
7. Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America
Get ready to go through THE most horrific ghosts and creatures from Latin American folklore in the Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America.
8. Holidayz in Hell
This house is sure to be a fan-favorite this year as it will take you through a disturbing journey of your favorite holidays!
Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights 2023 Scare Zones
At Hollywood this year, there is one main scare zone with smaller, unofficial ones throughout the park.
At first glance, the themes seem a bit tame, I can assure you the scare actors truly bring the zones to life.
I have to point out that unlike Orlando’s HHN, the actors can get very close to you and can follow you on the sidewalks.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s Terror Tram 2023
The HHN Terror Tram was easily one of the highlights of my trip to HHN Hollywood.
Universal’s Terror Tram is a Halloween overlay of Universal Studio Hollywood’s Studio Tour, which runs during the daytime until 4 p.m. on event nights.
Although this is not technically labeled as a scare zone, the way it’s setup feels like an attraction and scare zone in one.
This year the Terror Tram: The Exterminatorz takes guests to the renowned Universal backlot, immersing them in a gripping storyline featuring an uprising of insects led by the cunning Larry Larva.
Their ultimate objective is to eliminate humans from the face of the Earth.
What to Expect on the HHN Terror Tram
This year is extra special as they expanded the tour with the addition of the actual Jupiter’s Claim set from Jordan Peele’s latest film “Nope.”
The set is the location where another film of his will create a walkthrough crossover experience with the tethered from “Us.”
I have ridden the Tram Tour in the past and as a big movie buff, particularly of the golden age of Hollywood, I always love this section!
What I didn’t realize in my first visit to HHN Hollywood is that a good chunk of this tour is a walking experience.
It does get hilly at some points so be mindful and there is options for those who need accessible options.
Entertainment and Shows at Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights 2023
A big part of what I was impressed with when it came to this event was the entertainment that was provided in previous years.
One of the big draws for me personally when it comes to haunt events like this are the shows or entertainment outside of the houses and scare zones.
Personally, I like to enjoy the talent that they hire outside of the houses and scare zones and it allows me to get a break from them.
Sometimes the sensory aspects of the event can be a bit much, so this allows a brief reprieve.
Unfortunately, there are no shows listed for Universal Studios Hollywood HHN 2023.
Rides Open for Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood
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Halloween in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood
This means that you’ll be able to enjoy the magic rides of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff.
As darkness falls upon Hogsmeade, the darker side of the Wizarding World makes takes over.
There’s also Voldemort’s followers, the Death Eaters, who roam the corridors of Hogsmeade threatening muggles, witches and wizards alike.
This is actually a bit scary as you are taken through a back alley filled with green fog, coming face-to-face with the Death Eaters.
But on the other side, they are really cool to interact with!
While walking through in the past, I have watched one challenge someone to a duel with the Hogwarts Castle in the backdrop.
It was such a cool thing to see!
2023 Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights Food and Drink Offerings
Admittedly, I was not terribly impressed with the HHN food and drink offerings for a bit as they seemed very limited.
Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood 2023 Food Menu
- Stranger Things food at Surfer Boy Pizza (variety of pizza flavors) Scoops Ahoy (ice cream) and 80’s themed Stellar Bar (mixed cocktails)
- Hollywood & Dine: Chucky-themed BBQ featuring brisket and Nashville popcorn chicken sandwiches, pulled pork macaroni and cheese, funnel cakes and themed drinks
- The Carl Laemmle Patio: Peacock’s Halloween Horror Bar with themed cocktails from The Purge and “Chucky” and photo opportunities with scareactors
- Universal Plaza: celebration to honor of Dia de Los Muertos featuring Latin Folklore-themed cocktails, Lil Cocina Taco Stand and a margarita bar
Here you will find another Orlando staple, Pizza Fries, as well as specialty cocktails named after some of the tracks from the After-Hours album.
Another fun treat I found were a few photo spots throughout the bar and great views!
Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights Merchandise
You will find the standard Halloween Horror Nights merchandise for the event such as t-shirts, cups, magnets, pins, sweaters, hoodies and other collectibles.
So, don’t forget to get all of your Halloween Horror Nights merchandise to remember this year’s houses!
7 Beginner Tips for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood
Now that you know what to expect at HHN Hollywood, let’s go through a few of the best tips to help you make the most of your time!
1. Stay Hydrated
You are going to be doing A LOT of walking and lots of waiting in lines, unless you get an Express Pass.
Bring your own bottle to fill up and make sure to drink throughout the evening, especially if you plan on drinking alcohol.
2. Arrive Early
You can enter Universal Studios Hollywood at 5 p.m. although the earliest houses don’t open until about 5:30 p.m. for guests with the Daytime Upgrade.
3. Check Out HHN Vlogs and Videos
Despite me going to these haunts, I’m still a big scaredy cat. Sometimes and don’t really like going into the unknown.
But mainly, I find myself watching HHN Vlogs and POV videos on YouTube to see if which houses have lots of strobe light usage, as I’m sensitive to them.
There is absolutely no shame in watching the HHN videos so you know what you are walking into, haha!
4. Get Express Passes
One of my biggest tips for this event is to invest in Express Passes.
My friend and I had Halloween Horror Nights Express Passes and they were the main reason we got through all the houses.
I left a bit earlier than my friend last year and she managed all the houses with the Express Pass and all the entertainment by 11:30 p.m. (we started at 6 p.m.).
The lines were extremely long with the highest being up to 190 minutes in the past for Halloween and the runner up being 75 minutes for La Llorona in 2022 .
How much are the Halloween Horror Nights Express Passes at Universal Studios Hollywood?
HHN Express Pass pricing depends on the date and can range from $209 for a Regular Express Pass. This upgrade allows you to go through each house once.
Unlimited HHN Express Passes starts at $249 while the After 2 PM Day/Night Universal Express starts at $329.
If you do the HHN RIP Tour, it is included in your cost that starts at $399.
5. Consider Getting the After 2 p.m. Tickets
Speaking of the After 2 p.m. tickets, this ticket lets you into Universal Studios Hollywood as well as same day admission to the event.
The price starts at $149 depending on the date and allows you to get ready for the event and ride some rides too.
6. Start Low and Work Upwards
The strategy I found best was to start with the houses in the Lower Lot and then work your way up through Lower Lot.
In the past, once I got the the Upper Lot, I would take a break with Terror Tram. I’d then worked my way through the houses in the Upper Lot.
7. Scareactor Word of Caution
The scareactors in the scare zones and houses are lawless and way different than what I’m familiar with in Orlando’s HHN.
They are very in your face, intruding on your boundaries and they WILL follow you.
Sidewalks are not safe, and they will wait for you if you seek refuge in stores or restrooms.
Due to how crowded the zones can get, they can sneak up on very easily.
My best advice is to pay attention and try not to look scared because you will automatically be a target, haha!
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My Final Thoughts on Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights
Attending Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights gave me such an amazing insight on how different and unique each event is due to the culture and climate of the locations.
I absolutely enjoyed the offerings although I have felt that the food and drink offerings could have been a bit better so I didn’t eat too much while I was there.
I’m always obsessed with the entertainment and as far as the haunted houses, I ALWAYS enjoy!
Is Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood worth it?
The scareactors and Team Members were phenomenal and I genuinely feel that you will get their money’s worth with this event.
Personally, I know when I come back to California this year, I will be adding this event to my visit!
Have you visited HHN Hollywood this year and if so, what were your thoughts? Let us know in our Facebook Group!
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
(Original Article Date: October 18, 2022/Updated by Editor on August 12, 2023)