Halloween Horror Nights

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Halloween Horror Nights
Halloween Horror Nights Logo.JPG
Universal Studios Florida
Status Operating
Opening date October 25, 1991; 25 years ago (1991-10-25)
Universal Studios Hollywood
Status Operating
Opening date 1997; 20 years ago (1997)
Universal Studios Singapore
Status Operating
Opening date October 21, 2011; 5 years ago (2011-10-21)
Universal Studios Japan
Status Operating
Opening date 2012; 5 years ago (2012)
General statistics
Season Halloween (September – October)
Owner Universal Parks & Resorts
Website Official website
Universal Express available

Halloween Horror Nights is an annual event that occurs at Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Singapore, and Universal Studios Japan. Universal Studios remains operational during the day and transitions to Halloween Horror Nights at night. The event features haunted houses, "scare zones", and live entertainments; many of which utilize Universal's characters and other licenses.

The event is not recommended for children under 12 years old because it contains themes of terror and violence, as well as strong language.


Halloween Horror Nights began at Universal Studios Florida in 1991 under the title "Fright Nights", created by Julie Zimmerman and John Paul Geurts. The event was renamed "Halloween Horror Nights" in 1992 and advertised as the "Second Annual Halloween Horror Nights". It began as a three-night event, but has now been extended to 30 nights, spanning from Wednesday through Sunday night each week.[1]

The first year, the admission price was only $19.00. "Scareactors", a term used by Julie Zimmerman to identify the performers during Halloween Horror Nights, had little experience with such a large event and were required to provide their own costumes and makeup. Julie Zimmerman orchestrated a scareactors camp called "Ghoul School," where the actors were taught scaring techniques.[2]

From 1991–2001, the event was held at Universal Studios Florida. Halloween Horror Nights moved to Universal's Islands of Adventure in 2002. In 2004, the resort experimented with a dual-park format, which connected and utilized parts of both parks. In 2006, the event made a return to Universal Studios Florida.

The Universal Entrance Decorated for Halloween Horror Nights 17

Halloween Horror Nights officially launched at Universal Studios Hollywood in 1997, although the park had featured Halloween attractions in 1986 and 1992. From 2001 to 2005, Halloween Horror Nights went on hiatus at Universal Studios Hollywood and returned in 2006.

Halloween Horror Nights XI, coming so close after the events of September 11, 2001, caused Universal to make many changes to tone the event down. Lots of gore was scrapped from the event, and blood was replaced with green "goop". The names of several houses, scare zones, and shows were changed. The original icon character "Eddie" was scrapped. Edgar Sawyer was conceived as a demented, chainsaw-wielding horror movie buff that had been disfigured by a fire. He was supposed to be a threat to previous icon Jack and the tagline "No more clowning around" was used and even seen on early advertisements and merchandise. Eddie was ultimately removed from the event before it began, although he was still appearing on that year's logo and merchandise with the official "I.C.U." tagline. As a hurried replacement, Jack would return along with a line of merchandise bearing the tagline "Jack's Back." Eddie's back-story was changed, and his name was changed to Eddie Schmidt, Jack's younger brother. He later appeared with other icons at Halloween Horror Nights XIV in Horror Nights Nightmares, and with his own house for Halloween Horror Nights XVI, "Run: Hostile Territory".[3]

The Caretaker was not the original icon for Halloween Horror Nights XII. Cindy, the daughter of mortuary owner Paul Bearer, was originally the icon of the event. In the event's premise, every land would be ruled over by her "playthings". After several child abductions in the area, the Cindy concept was abandoned and her father Paul Bearer morphed into Dr. Albert Caine, also known as The Caretaker.[4] Cindy would eventually appear in 2006's "Scream House Resurrection", and 2009's "Shadows of the Past" and "The Orfanage: Ashes to Ashes".

For 2007, Universal Studios acquired the rights to use New Line Cinema's characters Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Leatherface for Halloween Horror Nights. Universal Studios Hollywood used the characters for a second year in 2008. In 2010, Hollywood again used the characters Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, in their newer incarnation, following franchise reboots.[citation needed]

2010 marked the 20th installment of the event at the Orlando park. It was titled "Twenty Years of Fear", and it featured the "Fear itself" as the event's icon.[5]

In 2011, Universal Studios Singapore began their Halloween Horror Nights event.[6][7] The event in Orlando is currently headed by Michael Aiello, while the Hollywood event is run by John Murdy and Chris Williams.[8]

Universal Orlando Resort[edit]

Universal Studios Hollywood[edit]

Universal Studios Singapore[edit]

Universal Studios Japan[edit]

Event icons[edit]

Halloween Horror Nights has amassed a number of lead characters, known as icons. These icons usually have elaborate back-stories that involve the events' themes, houses, or scare zones. Predominantly, they have been used for promotional materials and merchandising. The first unofficial icon was Crypt Keeper, from the TV series Tales from the Crypt, a series popular at the time of his first event appearance. The Crypt Keeper returned the next year for one of the houses, but was not featured in the advertising campaign. After the Crypt Keeper, the event continued for four years without an icon. Halloween Horror Nights has had an icon, and in some cases, multiple icons, every year since, excluding Halloween Horror Nights XIV and XXII. These characters have included Jack the Clown, The Caretaker, The Director, The Storyteller, Bloody Mary, The Usher, Fear, Lady Luck, and Chance. Chance will be the icon for Halloween Horror Nights 2016. She is a new icon but used to serve as Jack's girlfriend in his shows (her role and look being inspired by Batman antagonist Harley Quinn[22]).


When the event first started as "Fright Nights",[23] there was simply one haunted house, but as the event progressed, the number has increased by up to as many as nine different houses, as of Halloween Horror Nights 2015.[citation needed]

Scare zones[edit]

Halloween Horror Nights IV was the first year to introduce a "scare zone", a name given to specific outdoor areas that feature costumed characters that fit the theme with the intent of scaring people who walk through the areas. To get to certain areas of the park, it is necessary to travel through these scare zones. In 2012, Orlando re-envisioned the scare zones as "street experiences," claiming that scare actors were no longer restricted to specific "zones." Instead, there were a number of "hordes" which would change their location in the park every 90 minutes. By 2014, the traditional scare zones returned with The Purge: Anarchy (inspired by the film), Face Off: In the Flesh, Bayou of Blood, and MASKerade: Unstitched.[citation needed]

Robosaurus in a show from Halloween Horror Nights 16

Live entertainment[edit]

Halloween Horror Nights has featured several live entertainment shows. Recurring shows have included "The Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Tribute",[24] "Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure",[25] and Robosaurus.[26]


Several of the rides at Universal Studios remain operational during the event.[27] In past event years, some rides were re-themed for the event such as Kongfrontation becoming Tramway of Doom during HHN II.

Commercials and media[edit]

Universal's Halloween Horror Nights is known for the dark tone of its advertisements and commercials. In 2010, the directors of Daybreakers, Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig, directed the commercial for Halloween Horror Nights.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sentinel, Orlando. "Universal: 2015 Halloween Horror Nights will be its longest ever". OrlandoSentinel.com. Retrieved 2016-06-13. 
  2. ^ Universal Studios Orlando, "History of HHN"
  3. ^ dR.fReAK. "Terror With a Chainsaw: Eddie". HHNvault.com. Retrieved 7 July 2010. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Pre-Fear: HHN XII". HHNvault.com. Retrieved 7 July 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ Universal Orlando Resort. "Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Florida". Universal Orlando Resort. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  6. ^ Universal Studios Singapore. "Universal Studios Singapore's Halloween Horror Nights". Resorts World Sentosa. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Fear has found a new home". RWScoop. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  8. ^ "Halloween Horror Nights 25 at Universal Orlando". 25 August 2011. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  9. ^ "Halloween Horror Nights Events By Year". hhncrypt.com. Retrieved 2016-08-04. 
  10. ^ "Haunts". HHNvault.com. Retrieved 7 July 2010. [dead link]
  11. ^ Chris Cox. "Halloween Horror Nights, Orlando – Preview". now2do.com. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  12. ^ DrGore (2007-09-18). "Halloween Horror Nights". Horror Society. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  13. ^ "New Attractions for Halloween Horror Nights! | Horror Movie, DVD, & Book Reviews, News, Interviews at Dread Central". Dread Central. 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  14. ^ "Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios – Florida Events and Festivals". Places Around Florida. 2008-09-22. Archived from the original on 2014-07-29. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  15. ^ Fritscher, Lisa (2008-11-01). "Halloween Horror Nights 2008 – A Phobic's Guide to Halloween Horror Nights 2008". About.com. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  16. ^ Matt (2009-10-26). "New scarezone added to Halloween Horror Nights – Feedback wanted for next year's event – Orlando Attractions Magazine". Attractions Magazine. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  17. ^ Ricky Brigante (2012-10-23). "New Dark Legions invade Halloween Horror Nights 2012 as Universal Orlando enhances streets with trick-or-treaters, zombies". Inside the Magic. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  19. ^ "Halloween Horror Nights 2010 Orlando, Dates, Halloween Horror Nights Theme, Hollywood, Auditions". Altius Directory. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  20. ^ "About Halloween Horror Nights (Hollywood)". Trip Atlas. 2006-06-06. Retrieved 2010-09-21. [dead link]
  21. ^ "Universal Studios Singapore". Resorts World Sentosa. Retrieved 2013-06-27. 
  22. ^ "The actors behind Halloween Horror Nights' Jack the Clown and Chance step out from behind the makeup at EDF 2016". Orlando Weekly. 
  23. ^ OrlandoSentinel.com. "Halloween Horror Nights : Halloween Horror Nights News and Photos". OrlandoSentinel.com. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  24. ^ Theme Park Rangers (September 2007). "Halloween Horror Nights shows pop with pop culture at Universal Studios". OrlandoSentinel.com. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  25. ^ BillAndTed.org (October 10, 2009). "Bill and Ted's Universal Halloween Main Page". BillAndTed.org. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  26. ^ Robosaurus. "Robosaurus – Bigger than life entertainment for the whole family". Robosaurus. Archived from the original on 2010-06-04. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  27. ^ Halloween Horror Nights (2010). "Halloween Horror Nights 2010". Halloween Horror Nights. Archived from the original on 2010-06-17. Retrieved June 29, 2010.