Halloween Horror Nights 30: Mayhem, maniacs and monsters come to fright

Halloween Horror Nights 30, photo provide by Universal Orlando
Halloween Horror Nights 30, photo provide by Universal Orlando /

Tradition has it that 30th wedding anniversaries are celebrated with a pearl, representing purity, honesty, and wisdom. For its 30th anniversary, Halloween Horror Nights 30 is celebrated with mayhem, maniacs, and monsters. While Jack is back and orchestrating surprises at every turn, he isn’t the only terrifying figure lurking in the dark. From scare zones to haunted houses, the fog has settled over Universal Orlando and everyone is excited to let the fears creep into their minds.

On September 3, the first night of Halloween Horror Nights 30, Universal Orlando opened its gates to the cheering crowds. As Jack welcomed his fans and the sun began to fade, the lure of what awaits in the dark called everyone. After having to wait a year for this experience, the anticipation for this annual event was even greater.

Even though all the details of the various houses, scarezones, food, and more had been revealed, stepping into that immersive experience cannot be described in words alone. The tremble of the hand, the lump in the back of the throat, the slight doubt with that first step are felt at once. Yet the calling cannot be resisted, that insatiable desire to go forth needs to be quenched. Yes, you want to be one of those maniacs.

Which Halloween Horror Nights 30 houses should you hit first?

Anyone who has ever been to this Universal Orlando event has a theory on the best method to navigate the various houses. It might be starting at the back of the park or the front. Some people opt for the RIP Tour if that option is within their budget. But, just like visiting a theme park on a regular day, it is best to have a plan before stepping through the arches.

The 10 haunted houses are filled with both original content and favorite stories that people know and love. Some are a little less frightening and others might make you wish for a flashlight to guide the way. The unease of the first step might lead to a quick sprint to make it out the door.

Of course, the Haunting of Hill House is probably the one of most anticipated houses. The Netflix show has been transformed into a walk-through experience that will have fans wanting to go back time and again to see all the little nuances.

All the characters that people hope to see make an appearance. Without giving away all the details, the experience is unnerving. Whether it is a darkened hallway or William Hill’s ominous presence, a red glow seems to be beckoning you to step over that threshold.

On the other spectrum, the Beetlejuice house is meant to be a good time. Like the movie, there are some scary elements, but it is more about the laugh blended with the scream.

All the favorite scenes from the movie are included but from a different perspective. And, yes you might be singing at some point through the journey.

But, fare warning with the Beetlejuice house. If you do not do well with depth perception or visuals that play with your mind, bring a friend. Don’t be the person who stops on the journey.

Which original Halloween Horror Nights 30 original houses bring the fright?

Given that Jack is back for Halloween Horror Nights 30, the Icons house definitely needs to be on the top of the list. The whole team is back together. From Jack to Chance to the Director, their morbid minds have combined for the ultimate fright.

While the scare is woven into the story, the details in each vignette were amazing. From floor to ceiling, (yes there is a floor element), it might be best to go through this house multiple times to catch all the items. Each turn reveals another twisted tale.

The scariest house is Wicked Growth: Realm of the Pumpkin. While some might joke that it is the revenge of the pumpkin spice latte, this house makes you never want to go back into a pumpkin patch again. It is creepy and ready to entangle you. Be cautious where you step next.

For longtime fans of Halloween Horror Nights, the Welcome to Scarey: Horror in the Heartland is a fitting homage to scare zones of the past. This version of Carey, Indiana is definitely not the field of dreams.

For a very creative approach to a haunted house, the Case Filed Unearthed: Legendary Truth is more like a film noir experience. It is best to try to listen to all the details. This house implores guests to really pay attention.

The Puppet Theater: Captive Audience plays on a deeply rooted fear of puppets. While the troop has turned the audience into the players, this performance comes with a very high ticket price. And, if you weren’t afraid of gnomes before, you might want to rethink putting one in your garden.

Also, Revenge of the Toothfairy and Universal Monsters: The Bridge of Frankenstein Lives returned this year. While there are a few changes from last year’s offering, there are many similarities.

Overall, Halloween Horror Nights 30 is more than just screaming in the night. It is ruckus good time for all. Just remember, don’t go alone. But if you do, Jack might welcome you into his tribe of maniacs and you might never leave again.

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Halloween Horror Nights 30 runs through October 31, 2021, at Universal Orlando. It is a separately ticketed event and is recommended for guests over 13 years old. Universal Orlando has recommended health and safety parameters for the event.