Universal's website. The dates for this year's event are September 25-26, October 1-4, 8-11, 15-18, 21-25 and 28-31.
Every year, Universal's creative folks come up with brand new ideas for haunted houses and scare zones, and implement them inside the park, creating what some call a "Halloween Wonderland" full of scares.
This is a separately ticketed event. This means, of course, that you must purchase a separate admission ticket to Halloween Horror Nights on top of any other ticket you possess to gain admission during "regular operating hours".
Florida residents can get discounts on tickets, which are tiered to offer the greatest level of discount when purchasing tickets for non-peak nights, and the lowest level of discount when purchasing tickets for peak nights. These discounts are typically given by promotion codes and coupons found in Coca-Cola products and Burger King restaurants.
There is also the option to purchase a Frequent Fear Pass, which allows unlimited admission during non-peak nights for the price of one regular admission. It is available for $69.99 and is valid on September 25, 26, October 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 21, 22, 25, 28 and 29.
This is a non re-entry event. That means, even if you had to scan your fingerprint in order to use your ticket, and even if you are using a Frequent Fear Pass ticket, you will be denied re-entry to the event should you exit the event and attempt to re-enter.
Halloween Horror Nights has its own Express Pass, called the Halloween Express Plus Pass, which is priced according to whether a night is classified as peak or non-peak. In 2008, a peak night Halloween Express Plus Pass cost $70, and a non-peak night Halloween Express Plus Pass cost $40. It should be noted that a Universal Express Plus pass for use during daytime operating hours is NOT valid for use during this event. It should also be noted that the "On-Site Hotel Room Key Express" system is NOT used during this event, and even on-site resort guests must purchase a separate Halloween Express Plus pass in order to gain access to the Express lines at all houses and functioning attractions.
Please note that you may only use your Halloween Express Plus Pass ONE TIME at each haunted house and functioning attraction. Once your Halloween Express Plus Pass has been "Scanned" by an attendant, it cannot be used again for that haunted house / attraction.
Also, please note that Universal's Express Plus only guarantees that your wait in line will be less than the wait in the "regular" standby queue. Universal's Express Plus does not guarantee zero wait time nor does it guarantee front-of-line access. In most cases, you will wait no more than 5 minutes. In some cases, as with the Reflections of Fear house in 2008, you may be waiting for 20-30 minutes in the Express Plus line while the people in the Standby queue wait anywhere from 45-120 minutes.
There is increased security during this event. Please be aware of the following measures.
Current information states that there are, "No Masks or Costumes allowed." This is not Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. The purpose of this regulation is to ensure that there is no confusion between who is a costumed ScareActor and who is a park guest.
This event operates on two separate schedules, depending on whether it's a peak night or a non-peak night. Non-Peak nights operate from 6:30pm to 12:00 midnight. Peak nights operate from 6:30pm to 2:00am. All houses and rides shut down queue access at closing time. All scare zones (street scares) stop operating 30 minutes prior to closing time.
In 2008, Universal presented 8 brand new haunted houses. Each house is themed differently and features many costumed ScareActors, who audition for this event, and are trained to deliver good scares and startles.
The Scare Zones:
Some streets are converted into themed Scare Zones, where costumed ScareActors roam and attempt to scare random guests. In 2008, there were 6 of these.
Random Street Scares:
In certain areas, there may be "random street scares". In 2008, the "Chainsaw Drill Team" was scaring people in the streets of San Francisco and the "Zombie Drill Team" was scaring people in between Men In Black and The Simpsons Ride.
Rides in Operation:
Some rides are operated during this event, but not all rides are open and operating. In 2008, you could ride The Mummy, Men In Black, and The Simpsons Ride during the Halloween Horror Nights event. All other rides and attractions that function during daylight hours were closed during the event.
For an additional fee, you can go on an RIP tour (the Halloween name for a VIP tour). Each tour group holds up to 12 guests. Tours are classified as "private" or "non-private". A non-private group means you and your party are placed with as many other people as necessary to form a group of 12 and then proceed to tour the houses, scare zones and shows. The cost of a non-private RIP tour is $150 per person. Please note that this expense is separate from Halloween Horror Nights admission, and admission to Halloween Horror Nights is not included with your RIP tour. The RIP tour gives you and your group front-of-line access to all of the haunted houses and shows for the evening, and takes about 4 hours to complete. As for Private RIP tours, there is a flat rate for this (approximately $1,500) and these Private tours accommodate up to 12 guests.
Due to the high volume of guests who come to this event, wait times on peak nights can be as high as 2 hours (120 minutes) per haunted house. On non-peak nights (not including Sundays, which are rapidly becoming as busy as peak nights), most haunted houses will have a 5 to 25 minute wait.
Do I Really Need a Halloween Express Plus Pass?
Based on my experiences in 2008, I would recommend you ask yourself this question: "Do I only have this one night to experience Halloween Horror Nights?" If so, purchase a Halloween Express Plus Pass. In 2008, I saw that even Sunday, a non-peak night, was growing in popularity. An Express Plus pass was not absolutely necessary when attending on a Wednesday night; but, once again, it's better to be safe than sorry. Also, please keep in mind that there is a set number of Halloween Express Plus Passes that will be sold, after which Halloween Express Plus Passes are "Sold Out". As such, if you wish to purchase a Halloween Express Plus Pass, please do so online as soon as you know which night you wish to attend this event. The sooner you purchase, the better your chances of getting one. In some cases, peak night Halloween Express Plus passes sell out almost 2 weeks before that night's scheduled operation.
Universal sells alcoholic beverages during the Halloween Horror Nights event, as well as during the regular operating hours of the two theme parks and CityWalk. Universal has a strict zero-tolerance policy about consumption of alcohol by minors. Should you so much as allow a minor in your party to take a single sip of an alcoholic beverage or HOLD your beverage for you for a second, you will likely be confronted by security (including local police), escorted off Universal property, and given a trespass warning that bars you from re-entering Universal Orlando property for 1 year from date of issue.
Several counter service and vendor booth restaurants are open during the Halloween Horror Nights event. The fare is standard "Carnival" fare (i.e., hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, etc.). Healthier options are available at some of the regular counter service restaurants that are open during the event.
Wear athletic shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking and standing in line. This is a theme park, after all.