Halloween Horror Nights is an annual event hosted at Universal Studios that has been occurring for 28 years. The ticket prices start at $62.99 if you buy them online, and $114.99 if you buy them at the door. With thrill rides, open scare zones, and multiple haunted houses based on popular movies and television shows, the event has become a staple tradition for many people during the Halloween season. This year, the event’s theme was the 1980s. This meant that the majority of the scare zones and haunted houses would be based on things either taking place in that time frame, or things that were released in the decade.
The most highly anticipated house this year was by far the one based on the popular Netflix original series, “Stranger Things.” This house, along with the others, included many jump scares, great themeing, and amazing attention to detail in both the sets and the costumes. In the house based on “Stranger Things,” the actors were specifically cast to look like the characters from the show and they stayed in character the entire time. The sets in all of the houses, as always, are created to make guests feel as if they have stepped into their favorite horror movie or television show. Another great thing about Halloween Horror Nights is that the haunted houses are generally pretty large, so what you wait for in line for hours has a better pay off than just a quick scare. The scare zones provided a wide variety of scares with committed actors that wanted to have a good time while also giving guests a good scare at the same time.
However, one thing that was not expected was the huge crowd of people waiting to get in. The event opened hours after it was supposed to on certain nights, and people were waiting in almost a mob outside of the gate to get their tickets scanned. Once everyone was inside, the lines were longer than usual. The increased attendance, possibly due to the properties included in their haunted houses this year, such as “Stranger Things,” “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers,” and “Poltergeist,” created crowds that no one could have anticipated. This did not ruin the experience by any means, but it did cause many people to leave the park feeling as though they did not get to experience everything that they had to offer.
On the other hand, Scream-A-Geddon is another park set up with houses. This year saw the addition of two new houses called Demon’s revenge and Rage 3D.
Demon’s revenge feature what seemed like a cannibalistic backwoods family living in the wilderness. Participants wander through the woods with their only light source being a single glow stick that’s shared between the whole group as they walk through various slaughterhouses. This idea is cool, but the execution is rather poor as there isn’t much lighting, which makes it difficult for people in the back of a group to really see all the scary elements around them, and quests will most likely spend the time wandering blindly through the woods. This does work in the park’s favor as people are forced to walk through a room full of hanging rubber and furry pieces. The ending of the house is also ended with a chase by a man with a chainsaw.
The second house is Rage 3D, a clown themed house that made use of 3D glasses. The glasses add a nice effect as people make their way through the brightly colored house. However there are various sections that make use of bright flashing lights that may prove problematic for those with epilepsy or a low tolerance for such situations.
The characters are probably the best part as whenever they interacted with customers, be it for pictures, scares, or general park information, they stayed in character.
Overall, both events had similarities in terms of their houses and actors. While Halloween Horror Nights was the better event overall, with intricate houses and great attention to detail. But, Scream-A-Geddon still had memorable scares and committed actors that let it fall closely behind the other event.
Grace Barnett // Staff Writer
Mitchell Miller // Chief Copy Editor