Halloween Horror Nights’ 30th Year of Frights

At the entrance of Universal Orlando, there was a stand where fire would shoot out every couple of seconds to startle people and set the mood for the night.

Ingrid Moises

At the entrance of Universal Orlando, there was a stand where fire would shoot out every couple of seconds to startle people and set the mood for the night.

Ingrid Moises, Staff Writer

Our rating: A-

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Universal brought Halloween Horror Nights back once again for more screams. In general, the themes vary from year to year to keep fans on their toes as to what to expect. With haunted houses and scare zones, Halloween fanatics get to enjoy a night of fright with their friends and family.

This year, the haunted houses were definitely scarier than expected. If you are someone who gets scared easily, every house has the potential to make you scream or make your heart jump. Universal gave each house a prominent smell to add to the experience, which was crucial to the houses because this small detail made each house significantly scarier. From the smell of dead roses in “Revenge of the Tooth Fairy” to the smell of baby powder in “Puppet Theatre”, scents added an unexpected yet subliminal sense of eeriness to the scene.

I feel like the plastic screens gave the fear factor away. It is impressive that they could still make us scared even when we knew where they were,”

— senior Kylie Alvarez

“Personally, I hate the smell of dead roses because they remind me of death. So, when I walked into a house that smelled like that, I was immediately irked,” senior Caitlin Castillo said.

In all of the houses, flashing lights seemed to be a recurring theme. Monsters would lurk behind walls, shower curtains, doors and objects, revealed by flashing lights that could make you go blind. These jumpscares never got old, even if you ended up going to all ten houses. One major flaw of the jumpscares, though, was that in front of every monster there was a plastic screening as a mandatory COVID-19 safety procedure. This gave the guests a preview of where the monsters could be and essentially ruined the jumpscare altogether. Nonetheless, the cosmetology and special effects were strong enough to still terrify people.

One of the best houses was “The Haunting of Hill House”, which is based on a Netflix original series. For those who do not scare easily, this house could still make you feel a flutter in your chest. It included back-to-back jumpscares, and the plastic screenings were so discrete you could not tell when someone was going to pop out and scare you. “The Wicked Growth: Realm of a Pumpkin” was surprisingly one of the scariest houses. With a detailed and beautifully decorated exterior, this haunted house lowered your guard and frightened you once you finally got inside. Additionally, for the first time ever, Universal gathered the most famous villains and joined them in one house: “Halloween Horror Nights Icons”. This house had the most potential because it could reach a plethora of different audiences but it unfortunately did not live up to its promise.

Outside of the haunted houses, there were five scare zones throughout the park. Even though the actors could not touch you, they got exceedingly close with chainsaws, bats and knives. In the “30 Years, 30 fears” scare zone, characters from all different types of horror movies got together to terrify people in the streets. This was hands-down the most nerve wracking zone as the characters would chase and confront anyone who came near.

All in all, it is safe to say that Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 30th anniversary was a great success. The thought and dedication put into the costumes, scents, decoration and makeup is worth the trip and money spent. Even if you are not a Halloween fanatic, Halloween Horror Nights is a tried-and-true bonding experience for any group of close family and friends.