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The Halloween Horror Nights event in Orlando is a Halloween event presented annually at Universal Orlando. Beginning in 1991 in Universal Studios Florida with only one house, it has continued annually to become one of the largest Halloween events in the United States. In its later years the event has split time between its original park and the more recently built Islands of Adventure. Universal's design team has created nine original Icons for the event and have also used many of the Universal Monsters. Recently, deals have been made with various film companies to bring horror based IP's (Intellectual Properties) into the event.

History Edit

Halloween Horror Nights began at Universal Studios Florida in 1991 under the title Fright Nights but was re-christened Halloween Horror Nights in 1992, advertising it as the "second annual" event. It began as a 3 night event but has since evolved into an over 30-night scare-a-thon spanning late September through the first weekend of November. Although it normally only operates from Thursday to Sunday, an occasional Wednesday occurs during what scareactors dub "Hell Week", known for its large crowds and the increase of alcohol related incidents.

From 1991-2001, the event was held at Universal Studios Florida. Halloween Horror Nights moved to Islands of Adventure in 2002. 2004 was an experiment with a dual park format, which opened parts of both parks. Guests were funneled through backstage areas and the soundstages, where most of the haunts are built. In 2006, the event made a return to Universal Studios Florida where the event continues through its 27th year in 2017.

Each year's event, though unique, has certain characteristics in common with other years, these include houses, shows, scarezones, event icons, and event phrases. Depending on the park in which the event is held, certain popular attractions that are regularly open during business hours are also opened during the event to help alleviate the crowds.

Event Icons Edit

Halloween Horror Nights has amassed a number of Icons, nine of which were original creations by the Universal Design team. These Icons were characters with elaborate back stories that involved the event's theme, houses, or scarezones. Predominantly they have been used for promotional materials and merchandising.

Borrowed Icons Edit

  • The Cryptkeeper, from TV's Tales from the Crypt (a series popular at the time of the 90s) was the very first Event Icon for the event. He served as the head honcho for "Halloween Horror Nights V." He returned the next year, but didn't return after the series had been canceled. After the Cryptkeeper came three years of the event without an Icon
  • Imhotep/The Mummy- He served as the main icon of "Last Gasp."

Original IconsEdit

Unused IconsEdit

Islands of Adventure Edit

When the event moved to Islands of Adventure for Halloween Horror Nights: Islands of Fear where it stayed until 2006, new opportunities arose along with new complications. Every island of the park was to be converted into a scarezone with its own house, however, Seuss Landing is used with express permission from Audrey Geisel, widow of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), who approved of its construction and the attractions within, and has rights over what occurs during the events. The park was restricted to simply darkening this island and playing the music backwards. Strobe lights and fog were inserted in some sections, but actors were restricted until 2005.

Marvel Super Hero Island was first used as a scarezone in Halloween Horror Nights: Islands of Fear. In its incarnation, Island Under Siege it would be taken over at night by the Marvel villains. The Superheroes were either dead or had been defeated, while Carnage, Scream, an army of chainsaw gangs, supervillans, scarred police officers, and the Punisher, roamed the streets. Flamethrowers, broken-down cars, and junkyard debris littered the streets. The main attraction was Maximum Carnage, Carnage's haunted house. The island came under fire for its portrayal of the heroes. Props implying that well known superheroes had died upon them inside the Maximum Carnage attraction were used. Universal has not focused the island on its Marvel heroes since, and instead used the area as a generic cityscape with bikers, mutated residents of a toxic spill, and more innocuously, a party zone with stilt walkers dressed as Dracula and Frankenstein.

Event Phrases Edit

Each year, except for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th, Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights has had its own unique subtitle and/or marketing slogan.

The EventEdit

Since 1991, Universal Studios Florida has held Halloween Horror Nights annually. The first year the event, known as Fright Nights, was held for three nights, and featured one house and a number of special shows. Since then the event has grown such that the latest, Halloween Horror Nights 27, was held for 34 nights and included no event icon, nine houses, two shows, and five scarezones. The Dungeon of Terror was the first house at the event held in the queue of the newly built JAWS attraction. The second event introduced the annual Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure show and also began to use the soundstages on property for houses. The fourth event introduced the use of scarezones to bring roaming street scare actors together for easier scares, while the fifth and sixth introduced the concept of an event icon, although an unoriginal character at that point. The event icon would return for the tenth event, this time an original creation, and since then four other original icons have been used. The twelfth year moved the event to the newly built Islands of Adventure, while the fourteenth experimented in a dual-park format. The fifteenth year was the first to bring an elaborate back story for the full event, interconnecting all of the houses, scarezones, and shows, while the sixteenth returned the event to Universal Studios Florida exclusively. The seventeenth year introduced an exclusive deal with New Line Cinema to bring three horror icons to the houses. The 18th year featured the first icon that is both an IP and a Uni original.

List of events Edit

Fright Nights (1991)Edit

Main article: Fright Nights

Haunted House Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights II (1992) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights II (Orlando)

Haunted Houses Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights III (1993) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights III (Orlando)

Haunted Houses Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights IV (1994) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights IV

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezone Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights V: The Curse of the Cryptkeeper (1995) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights V

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights VI: Journey Into Fear (1996) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights VI

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezone Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights VII: Frightmares (1997) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights VII: Frightmares

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezone Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights VIII: Primal Scream (1998) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights VIII: Primal Scream

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezone Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights IX: Last Gasp (1999) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights IX

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezone Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights X: Not Afraid of the Dark? You Don't Know Jack (2000) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights X

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights XI: I.C.U (2001) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights XI

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights: Islands of Fear (2002) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights: Islands of Fear

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights 13 (2003) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights 13

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights XIV: 2X The Fear (2004) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights XIV

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights: Tales of Terror (2005) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights: Tales of Terror

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16 (2006) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights: Carnival of Carnage (2007) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights: Carnival of Carnage

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezone Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights: Reflections of Fear (2008) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights: Reflections of Fear

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights: Ripped from the Silver Screen (2009) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights: Ripped from the Silver Screen

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights: Twenty Years of Fear (2010) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights: Twenty Years of Fear

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights 21 (2011) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights 21

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights 22 (2012) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights 22

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezone Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights 23 (2013) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights 23

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights 24 (2014) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights 24

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights 25 (2015) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights 25

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights 26 (2016) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights 26

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights 27 (2017) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights 27

Haunted Houses Edit

Scarezones Edit

Shows Edit

Halloween Horror Nights 28 (2018) Edit

Main article: Halloween Horror Nights 28

Haunted Houses Edit

Haunted House Locations Edit

Main article: Haunted House Locations for Halloween Horror Nights Orlando

With two amusement parks full of rides and a number of soundstages between the parks, Universal Orlando has found a number of places to host their haunted houses each year. The first house, Dungeon of Terror, was hosted in the empty queue of the, then down for refurbishment, JAWS ride. Since then a number of ride queues, soundstages, specially built buildings, and even walkthrough attractions themselves, have been utilized to host haunted houses. Soundstages were first used in 1992 and have been used for every year since 1995. Known for their greater detail, the event has grown to include three soundstage houses each year. With the move to Islands of Adventure in 2002, a new building, known as Carnage Warehouse, was built to host houses, hosting three in the years since. In the same vein, two sprung tents were built behind the World Expo section of Universal Studios Florida in 2006 and have hosted 11 houses each since that time. The first walkthrough attraction used was the Bates Motel, a recreation of the motel from the film Psycho. It was used for houses based on the movie before its demolition. Since then, the Jurassic Park Discovery Center, the Triceratops Discovery Trail, and Poseidon's Fury have been used, needing to be closed to regular park-goers during the day. A number of other buildings, including a seasonal restaurant, have also been utilized, with each location offering a unique experience for guests.

Article (overview on events prior to 25 Jack) Edit

Through the fears: Universal marks 25th Halloween Horror Nights Edit

Dewayne Bevil

It's the silver anniversary for Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, and that's appropriate because the event has been giving guests gray hairs for much of that time. As the latest edition of HHN kicks off this weekend, let's look back at 25 highlights of the past and this year's event.

•In the beginning, it wasn't Halloween Horror Nights at all. In 1991, the first year, Universal called it Fright Nights, a three-evening affair with a single haunted housecalled Dungeon of Terror. Tickets were $12.95, purchased in advance.

"It was a test to kind of find out an event like this would be something that people would want to see and attend. And here we are, 25 years later," says Michael Aiello, who attended as a guest that first year and is now director of creative development for Universal Orlando's entertainment team.

•In year two, Universal added "Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure" show, which remains an HHN mainstay; Robosaurus, a four-story-tall mechanical dinosaur with an appetite for cars; and the Rat Lady. The park advertised for people willing to wear Victorian garb and play dead in a coffin as real live rats — dozens of them — crawled on them. They received 500 applications. The next year, Roach Man was added.

•By 1994, there were 250 scareactors — Universal-speak for its frightful characters — and "Price Is Fright," a game-show spoof hosted by Beetlejuice.

•Universal creative types see 2000 as a pivotal year. That's when Jack the Clown debuted, ushering in the event's Era of the Icon. "That character really changed the landscape of how this event is perceived, marketed and viewed by the guests," Aiello says.

•By means of introduction, Jack agreed to an interview with the Sentinel. "I want them [guests] to know I'm perfectly harmless. Clowns are nice. Benevolent. Magnificent. We only want to meet them. We only want to see their bright, shining, fat, tasty faces here at Universal," he said.

•In 2007, Jack took over with a Carnival of Carnage theme, outranking even Jason of "Friday the 13th" fame and Leatherface, the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" baddie. "People just kept wanting to see Jack year after the year," Aiello says.

•HHN has had its share of star power, but our favorite back-in-the-day celeb moment is this: Britney Spears and then-beau Justin Timberlake with Jack the Clown. For more screaming stars, see our photo gallery at OrlandoSentinel.com.

•Halloween officially moved from being an October thing into a September thing in 2005. HHN began Sept. 30, its first non-October start date.

•Chain saws have been a recurring terrorizing technique, frequently in the form of the Chain Saw Drill Team. "They are back in a big way," says show director Laura Wallace of HHN 2015. "We have two great roaming groups of maniacal chain-saw teams. They'll roam two sides of the park so you'll never know where they're going to be."

•The Gory Getaway package, which included an HHN ticket and a night in a hotel near Universal for $39, came in 1995.

•Possibly the least horrifying HHN feature is "Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure," a stage show that skewers current pop culture. Famous folks getting a little come-uppance ranged from Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan to politicians (Obama, McCain, Trump) and an innocent-looking O.J. Simpson.

•In 1995, ''Knights of Hell,'' shown on a 45-foot-by-90-foot water screen over the lagoon with pyrotechnics, lasers and stunts, was presented as a less-scary option for guests.

•The Festival of the Dead Parade arrived in 1996, with the Crypt Keeper as grand marshal, floats and an army of scareactors.

•Billboards promote Horror Nights, but it hasn't always been pretty. In 2008, the Bloody Mary character, with dripping blood and shattered glass overlooking public roadways, prompted protests by moms in that "What about our children?" way. The Sentinel editorial board even urged the company to rethink. Universal stood firm and Mary lived on.

•In 1998, playing off the popularity of "Titanic," Universal created a Frightanic house. "According to the story line, the Frightanic has just docked in San Francisco after a bizarre voyage to Hawaii in which the ship passed through another dimension and returned in a state of perpetual decay," the Sentinel wrote. Features: water sprays, flickering lights, low ceilings, narrow hallways and a corpse in a dentist's chair, plus "the smell of burned tooth enamel."

•HHN's first 3-D house appeared in 1999. Creature Feature achieved the effect using "special paint" and 3-D glasses.

•Mashups are key for 2015. For instance, the houses called Body Collectors — Recollections and Run: Blood, Sweat and Fears use elements from past mazes. "We get to find out where Body Collectors come from. It's an origin story," says show director Charles Gray.

•Look for old fiendish friends and flashbacks in the Icons scare zone. "We're taking the kills that they did in their commercials: The Director is going to electrocute someone in a bathtub — exactly what he did the first time we saw him on the commercial for that HHN," Wallace says. "The Caretaker is going to do a live autopsy and rip the heart out of someone right in front of you. The Storyteller, of course, will cut the tongue out of someone who is not listening, and then the Usher is bludgeoning a head with his flashlight for not paying attention to the rules."

•Universal's "psychoscareapy" creation will be seen in the streets for the first time this year. "This street is going to be bloody. Bloodier than anything we've ever seen before. Those psycho patients have embarked and been unleashed into a very traditional Halloween party and they cause mayhem," Wallace says.

•It's round four for "The Walking Dead." AMC's zombie drama is back for a record fourth year running. "Last year we made it big. … This year we're building up. You're going to go in and see these very tall, very high ceilings that are amazing," Gray says. In addition, you may get wet. "This is the first time we've had actual scareactors in waist-high water attack you as you go through," he says.

•In 2001, the post-9-11 era kicked in and metal detectors were added for HHN to the entrance of the park.

•News events have affected the event from time to time, including a string of unrelated child abductions in 2002. That temporarily shelved Cindy, the daughter of a mortuary owner. Since then, she has appeared in at least three houses.

•In 2002, HHN moved next door to Islands of Adventure. In 2004, the event was split between IOA and Universal Studios.

•In 2003, Universal introduced the Frequent Fear Pass, which saves repeat visitors some cash. The program has expanded with many options, including the bulky Frequent Fear Plus + HHN Express Plus.

•Four years after HHN started, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party was thrown for the first time at Disney World. The kinder, gentler event, complete with trick-or-treating, was initially scheduled for one night — Oct. 31 — at Magic Kingdom. marks 25th Hall

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Pictures Edit

See alsoEdit

External links Edit

Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
Event Additions: 1991  • 1992  • 1993  • 1994  • 1995  • 1996  • 1997  • 1998  • 1999  • 2000  • 2001  • 2002  • 2003  • 2004  • 2005  • 2006  • 2007  • 2008  • 2009  • 2010  • 2011  • 2012  • 2013  • 2014  • 2015  • 2016  • 2017  • 2018