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Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – complete insider’s guide

Combining some of the biggest names in horror with some truly terrifying original creations from the movie studio that birthed the genre in the first place, Halloween Horror Nights is not only Southern California’s premier Halloween event, it’s now a tradition and ritual unto itself.

In this complete insider’s guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know in order to have the time of your life – er, gruesome death. From saving time and money to providing an expert, handcrafted touring plan, everything you need to know to make your family’s descent into HHN a night you’ll never want to forget is here.

Are you ready to face your worst fears?

True Fear Comes from Within

Last update
August 14, 2019

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Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – overview and explanation

Stranger Things at Halloween Horror Nights 2019
Halloween Horror Nights welcomes you to the Upside Down once again

With the studio being the birthplace of the horror genre, Universal prides itself on creating the most authentic and immersive Halloween experiences anywhere in Southern California. There is no safe space inside the theme park, forcing you to come face-to-face with terrorizing monsters and roaming maniacs. But all that’s during the night – throughout the day, you’ll still have access to all the fun and thrills of the park’s world-class attractions.

Entering its 14th year as Southern California’s premier Halloween event, 2019’s Halloween Horror Nights features 10 mazes (more than ever before!), five scare zones, and a live show.

What more do you need to be scared out of your wits?

HHN 2019 Dates

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 will kick off on Friday, September 13 and run until Sunday, November 3, covering a whopping 32 event nights.

Here is a full breakdown of all the dates for HHN:

September: 13-15, 19-22, 26-29
October: 3-6, 10-13, 17-20, 24-27, 31
November: 1-3

Busiest Dates

The busiest HHN nights, often referred to as peak nights, are October 5, 6, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, and 27.

Keep in mind that most nights in October do sell out quickly, so we highly recommend purchasing your tickets at least one week in advance.

Event Times

Horror Nights is generally scheduled to start at 7:00 pm (for general admission) and close at 2:00 am. Please note that the Terror Tram – when it’s up and running, which it isn’t for this year – does close earlier than the event itself, so check the official Universal Studios Hollywood park app or ask any team member for confirmation.

Early Entry

Early entry is available every single night HHN is running and is a great way to jump-start your touring – and jump past the crowds. Eligible attendees can enter the park at 5:00 pm, with select mazes opening at 5:15, 5:30, and 5:45. Once you arrive at Universal Studios Hollywood, you’ll be given a colored wristband at the turnstiles, denoting your early access.

Please note that the early entry period ends at 6:30, and then everything starts up officially at 7:00. (Keep in mind that these times – or the attractions themselves – are subject to change.)

How do you obtain early entry? Easy – by purchasing your ticket online, at no additional charge.

If you are an annual passholder or have purchased separate daytime admission to the park, you do not need to exit Universal Studios Hollywood to take advantage of early entry for Halloween Horror Nights; a kiosk is set up inside the entrance of the theme park by Guest Relations with employees ready to scan your tickets. This usually begins at 4:30 pm.

Please note that those who purchased Universal Express or RIP Experience passes will need to exit Universal Studios Hollywood to pick up their credentials at the main turnstiles.

So, how busy will Halloween Horror Nights 2019 be on any given night?

Generally speaking, Saturdays are always busy; on the flip side, though, the first two weeks, Thursdays, October 31, and November 1-3 are always some of the least-crowded nights.

Will The Wizarding World of Harry Potter be open during Halloween Horror Nights 2019 event nights?

Although not officially confirmed as of yet, we’re fairly certain that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will not be open for Halloween Horror Nights this year. But there are a number of tickets that include later theme-park entry, allowing you to access Hogsmeade up until 5:30 pm – which is at least something.


Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – tickets

Hell-O-Ween at Universal Studios's Halloween Horror Nights 2017
Ticket, please

Since there are several different options or permutations to Halloween Horror Nights tickets, we’re going to go step by step through each of them and explore what they are.

Before we do that, however, we wanted to point out an important factoid to keep in mind when buying your admission: the prices fluctuate throughout the event, usually depending upon the expected crowd levels for that night (the busier the date, the more expensive its ticket becomes). If you know the night(s) you’re interested in going, we strongly recommend purchasing your pass as soon as possible.

Fan Preview Event

New for 2019 is a hard-ticketed sneak-peek preview, which will be held on Thursday, September 12 – just one night before the event proper kicks off. All of the mazes, scare zones, and attractions will be made available to attendees, along with several extras thrown in for good measure:

  • Exclusive themed photo-ops with scareactors
  • DJs performing
  • Commemorative credential
  • New specially-themed food, drinks, and merchandise available for purchase

In addition to the base Fan Preview Event tickets, Universal also offers an Express variation, which not only includes Express access to all the haunted houses, rides, and show but also access to a panel discussion with the two creators of Horror Nights, John Murdy and Chris Williams. The general admission tickets cost $69 and the Universal Express version, $179; both are limited. (Yes, access to the sneak preview is also incorporated into some of the Frequent Fear season passes, which we’ll get to in just a moment.)

The gates open for the Fan Preview Event at 6:30 pm, with the proceedings officially starting at 7:00.

Single-night tickets

General Admission ($67-$102)

The first version of the general pass contains access to Halloween Horror Nights only – daytime park admission is not included. Prices range from $67 to $102, depending upon the date that’s chosen.

Universal Express ($159-$249)

The second variation includes general admission to Halloween Horror Nights, as well as one-time priority access to all haunted houses and rides and priority seating for the Jabbawockeez show. Prices range from $159 to $249, depending upon the date that’s chosen.

Universal Express Unlimited ($189-$299)

The third variation includes general admission to Halloween Horror Nights, as well as unlimited priority access to all haunted houses and rides and priority seating for Jabbawockeez. Prices range from $189 to $299, depending upon the date that’s chosen.

After 2:00 pm Day/Night ($99-$147)

Hop into Universal Studios Hollywood (after 2:00 pm) and then tear into Horror Nights that evening. Prices range from $99 to $147, depending upon the date that’s chosen.

This ticket includes daytime park admission to Universal Studios Hollywood starting at 2:00 pm, as well as admission to Halloween Horror Nights. Prices range from $97 to $149, depending upon the date that’s chosen.

Universal Express after 2:00 pm ($189-$289)

The same as above, just with Express access thrown in for good measure. Just keep in mind that this is one-time priority access to all haunted houses and rides and priority seating for Jabbawockeez.

Multi-night tickets

September Pass ($109)

A September Pass includes all 11 nights HHN is running during that month.

September: 13-15, 19-22, 26-29

Frequent Fear Pass ($179)

This version allows you to visit HHN up to 25 times, but your access is still somewhat constrained.  This is how it works: for your very first visit of the season, you can come on any night you’d like; for all of your subsequent trips, however, you’re limited to sticking to the following dates only:

September: 13-15, 19-22, 26-29
October: 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27, 31
November: 1-3

Frequent Fear Pass + Fan Preview Event ($199)

The same thing as above, with the added benefit of being able to attend the Fan Preview Event on Thursday, September 12.

Ultimate Fear Pass ($299)

All 32 HHN nights are yours for the taking, no matter whether it’s your first visit or your, well, 32nd. It also includes access to the Fan Preview Event on September 12.

Annual passholder discounts

General admission

Save up to $36 on a general-admission ticket, depending – of course – on the night selected.

Platinum annual passholder free night

If you’re a Platinum passholder, you’re entitled to one free HHN night, though there are two stipulations to this offer. Firstly, if you had already redeemed your free admission in 2018 or 2019 with your current annual pass, you won’t be eligible to do it again this year (AP members on FlexPay are eligible once your first year contract is fully completed). And, secondly, you’re forced to choose from a list of dates:

September: 13-15, 19-22, 26-29

October: 3-6, 10, 11, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27, 31

November: 1-3

RIP Tour ($279-$409 per person)

Want to take advantage of the full VIP treatment at Halloween Horror Nights? The RIP Tour includes:

  • Exclusive themed photo opportunities
  • Exclusive tour of the world-famous Studio backlot
  • Unlimited Express access to all haunted houses and select rides
  • Themed buffet dinner at VIP dining room and lounge
  • Exclusive lounge area in the Lower Lot for drinks and desserts during your tour
  • Private VIP trolley transportation to backlot haunted houses
  • Reserved VIP seating for one showing of Jabbawockeez
  • Complimentary valet parking for one vehicle
  • Special VIP entrance to Halloween Horror Nights
  • Collectible RIP lanyard

There are several things to know before you go for the RIP Tour: its duration is around five hours; check-in is 30 minutes before your scheduled tour time; and you can take advantage of early entry to select houses at no additional charge.

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – mazes

Stranger Things 3 cast

The mazes that Universal conjures with a surprising amount of detail and, in the case of intellectual properties, authenticity are the main draw of Horror Nights each and every year. And for 2019, the company is dropping a record-breaking 10 of them on attendees! (Well, 10 if one includes the Walking Dead permanent attraction, that is – which Universal most certainly does.)

These haunted houses are situated in any open space that is currently available, such as unused queue areas or the Universal Studios backlot. Unlike at the event’s older and bigger brother, Halloween Horror Nights Orlando, where guests are admitted into the haunts in a constant “conga” line, the West Coast version usually has the luxury of being able to “pulse” attendees in small groups, heightening the experience’s immersion factor – and its scares. Each house takes about three to five minutes to walk through.

Stranger Things

Location: Stage 29 in the Lower Lot, behind Transformers: The Ride – 3D

Due to popular demand, the flagship maze from last year is making a return appearance. Guests will relive all of the second season’s greatest hits, from the attacking packs of Demodogs to the unrelenting pursuit of the Mind Flayer – and then, in something of a surprise twist, they’ll venture into at least part of the just-released third season’s contents, centering around the new Starcourt Mall.

Double the episodes? Hopefully that also results in double the scares – especially considering that Stranger Things 3‘s finale’s title is “The Battle of Starcourt.”

Read the full announcement from Orlando Informer here.

Holidayz in Hell

Location: Parisian Courtyard in the Upper Lot, next to Mel’s Diner

The popular scare zone from last year’s event is back, bigger and better than ever before. Prepare to battle your way through a heart-snatching Cupid, a demented Fourth of July “killerbration,” ravenous turkeys who eat you for Thanksgiving, and – of course – a chilling Christmas, replete with trees that are decorated with dangling human body parts as ornaments.

Best of all, this new haunted house comes with its very own scare zone that’s themed to a “creepy Christmas,” which, presumably, will continue one of the very last scenes from the haunt proper.

Read the announcement

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

Location: Universal Studios backlot

Just as with Stranger Things, Universal has decided to take the popular Universal Monsters maze from last year and extend it to this year’s event; unlike with the Netflix series-based haunt, however, the company has opted to go in a different direction with the follow-up.

Called Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, this outing isn’t an original experience inspired by the 37-year-long Universal Monsters shared cinematic universe but, rather, something of a reimagining of one of its specific movies: 1943’s Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (naturally). This light remake is set in the modern day – befitting the new character designs that were rolled out last year – and starts with Frankenstein’s Monster (instead of the other way around, as it is in the film), who gets drawn into an exotic gypsy camp and meets the Wolf Man, where, presumably, the title bout between the two begins. The “path of destruction” ultimately leads through the murky Moors, a creepy cemetery, and into the “smoldering ruins of Castle Frankenstein and its icy cellars beneath.” (And, yes, Guns ‘n Roses’s Slash is once again providing the musical accompaniment.)


Location: Universal Studios backlot

The 1984 classic film is being brought lovingly to life in haunted-house form, starting with the New York Public Library and ending with the Temple of Gozer – and, of course, the battle against the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Guests will get to walk in the shoes of Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddemore as they battle against an army of “ghoulish spirits, hideous specters, and ectoplasm-dripping phantasms in every shape and size,” including the lovable Slimer and the diabolical Gozer.

Read the full announcement from Orlando Informer here.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Location: Lower Lot, in the Revenge of the Mummy extended queue

After a highly successful run at last year’s event at Universal Orlando Resort as a scare zone, the Killer Klowns from Outer Space will make their debut at Universal Studios Hollywood! Expect this haunted house to take you through Crescent Cove to an abandoned amusement park on the edge of town, where the alien clowns have landed their big top-shaped UFO and have started to harvest the unwitting residents in (what else?) cotton-candy cocoons.

Read the full announcement from Orlando Informer here.


Location: N/A

The classic 1982 film Creepshow, directed by the legendary George Romero and written by another legend, Stephen King, was successful enough to generate a 1987 sequel and, now, television series on Shudder. To commemorate all this, Universal will be bringing the property to life at Halloween Horror Nights, replicating its anthology nature and directly adapting some of the older and newer chapters both (including a werewolf tale set in World War II and the story of a maggot-infested corpse that has risen to take revenge on its descendants).


Jordan Peele’s 2019 film has already become something of a classic, and it just may now repeat the same feat in haunt form at Halloween Horror Nights. The story revolves around a series of mysterious doppelgangers known as the Tethered, who have been hidden away in a subterranean tunnel system for decades and who now wish to rise up to the surface and take their revenge against their happy and healthy counterparts – yourself included.

Read the full announcement from Orlando Informer here.

House of 1,000 Corpses

In 1999, 2010, and 2011, Universal hosted a version of House of 1,000 Corpses, Rob Zombie’s 2003 film that became an instant cult darling. For 2019, the company has invited the property back once again, this time featuring the most lavish and detailed recreation yet – prepare to retrace the movie’s steps, starting with the roadside tourist trap Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen, then progressing to the Firefly family’s abode of debauchery and depravity, and ending in the underground tunnels that the infamous Doctor Satan calls home.

Think of this, then, as the ultimate HHN homecoming (in more ways than one).

Read the full announcement from Orlando Informer here.

BONUS: The Walking Dead

Location: Upper Lot, next to Starbucks

Okay, okay – no, technically, The Walking Dead isn’t a part of this year’s Horror Nights, but this year-round haunted house was directly inspired by the television show’s long presence during the event, and it’s given extra resources to coincide with HHN. Think of it as a (permanent) bonus maze.

Read our Walking Dead guide page here.


Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – scare zones

Christmas in Hell at Halloween Horror Nights 2019
Christmas in Hell at Halloween Horror Nights 2019

Stopping you mid-breath as you walk between attractions, scare zones are essentially outdoor haunted houses set up in open areas around Universal Studios Hollywood (for example, in the backlot area of New York). The decorations and effects are usually not quite as elaborate as those seen in the mazes, but there are still many techniques employed to get screams out of guests – and the “oversized” aspects of some scare zones, allowed by their position outdoors, often make them as thrilling as the average haunted house. This is particularly true for the ghastly part of you that likes to watch other people scream their heads off!

Fallen Angelz

Location: Main Street

Main Street has been overrun with crypts, aged statues, “restless ghouls,” and “angry skeletons,” with the Angel of Death himself watching over everything from his perch.

ToXXXic Tunnel

Location: Tunnel leading to the backlot

Returning for its second year, ToXXXic Tunnel this time will be populated with the “warped and cartoonish” members of a demonic custom car club.

Spirits and Demons of the East

Location: New York Street

A shipment of religious antiquities from the Far East carries with it angry spirits who are eager to exact vengeance on “anyone who would dare steal such sacred relics.” As an added twist, these demons can disguise themselves to look like anything, including “innocent school children.”

Christmas in Hell

Location: French Street

Located just outside of the Holidayz in Hell maze, Christmas in Hell extends the thematic action, populating the area with twisted Christmas trees. Scareactors here will be decked out as Jack Frost, the Winter Witch, a giant nutcracker, and a cranky New Year’s Baby.

All Hallow’s Evil

Location: backlot

Celebrating the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain (with a dash of the Christian All Saints’ Day thrown in for good measure), All Hallow’s Evil sees the souls of the (presumably wrathful) dead return home for just one night.


Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – Terror Tram

What is called the Studio Tour during the day becomes the Terror Tram at night, exchanging production stops for a special haunted experience.

Or, at least, this is normally the case – for 2019, Universal has opted to not include a Terror Tram experience at all (in order to squeeze in two more mazes for the event – a deal which we can live with). On the bright side, however, the Studio Tour – including all of its various mini-attractions, such as King Kong: 360 3D and Fast & Furious: Supercharged – will still be operational during the day.


Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – Entertainment

Jabbawockeez at Halloween Horror Nights 2019

Halloween Horror Nights features a unique, live show inside the Castle Theater, which is home to the Special Effects Show during the day time. For this year, it’s the Jabbawockeez yet again, marking their fifth straight appearance at the event.

Not familiar with the dancing troupe? This is how Universal describes them:

Billed as one of the country’s best hip-hop dance groups, the Jabbawockeez are best known for their signature white masks and synchronized dancing, which all comes together with their unique brand of humor.

The first show is typically at 6:15 pm, with additional performances scheduled for about every hour and fifteen minutes after that (you can double check on the official Universal Studios Hollywood app). Make sure to arrive at the theater at least 20 minutes before show time in order to guarantee yourself a seat.

Also, get ready to get your groove on as Halloween Horror Nights celebrates ’80s Throwback Thursdays! Guests are encouraged to dress in their best fashion from the decade and to dance to its most iconic music (which will be delivered both via live bands and DJs).

This brand-new experience is included with HHN admission and will be offered, unsurprisingly, only on Thursdays:

September: 19, 26

October: 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31

Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – rides

Now might be a good time to go over which regular daytime attractions are – and aren’t – open for Halloween Horror Nights.

First up: those that remain open. For this year’s event, Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, Transformers: The Ride – 3D, The Simpsons Ride, and the re-imagined Jurassic World: The Ride will be on hand.

Now for those stalwarts that will be not be open for Halloween Horror Nights only: Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, Super Silly Fun Land, the Studio Tour (which includes King Kong: 360 3D and Fast & Furious: Supercharged), The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest, WaterWorld, Special Effects Show, and Universal’s Animal Actors.


Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – map

Once Universal releases the official event map, we’ll be sure to include it for you here!


Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – food

No info has been provided yet.


Halloween Horror Nights 2019 – what HHN is not

Halloween Horror Nights is not family-friendly, as the entire event features gory content as well as scary monsters – it is, as such, strongly recommended only for guests over 13 years of age. During the daytime, there are no props staged around the park, so there should be no worries about children getting scared while touring.

If you’re interested in pursuing a family-centered activity during the day before arriving at HHN for the night, you and your children can always make a quick stop at SoCal’s other themed destinations: SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California, Knott’s Spooky Farm (which is different from the HHN-esque Knott’s Scary Farm), and, of course, Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Resort.


I wanna learn more about Halloween Horror Nights!

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