It may only be August, but it is definitely time to start making plans for celebrating Halloween. Now, you may think that Halloween should be focused only on those activities that children can do – but au contraire my friends! Halloween can be a time to start seeking the weird and wonderful in the world, finding spooky attractions that can frighten even the stoutest of hearts.
Enter – Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando.
If you are anywhere near these two sites of theme park fun during the months of September or October it is definitely worth the expense to pop in and see all of the fun that they have brewed up for the season!
Both parks now have Harry Potter worlds open to the public, so the visit to these parks is worth your while no matter whether or not you choose to be a part of the Halloween fun.
However, if you have the chance to go see Halloween Horror nights, you may be frightened into submission, but never disappointed.
For the last 13 years I have gone almost every year (first in Orlando, now in Hollywood), taking part in the frights that are outside of the haunted houses – primarily because I barely survive the chills and thrills that are inside these fantastical exhibitions.
The haunted houses are on a level above any that I have ever witnessed, with movie level costumes and effects, as well as live performers whose job is clearly to seek out those who are easily frightened – like myself – and work all kinds of frightening magic on them!
Even walking the streets through the park can be a horrific – I mean thrilling – experience.
Performers cleverly blend in to the crowd, but reveal themselves at moments of vulnerability to be vampires, zombies, or even chainsaw wielding ghouls.
One of my favorite scares occurred in Orlando when the event was held in the Islands of Adventure which was the second park in the Universal Complex, was near the Jurassic Park ride performers were dressed in what can only be described as earthy alien costumes and would appear from the bushes. Similar to sniper gear, these costumes made from some of the best thrills of the night.
One of the events that has now ended was the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure, which was a show that reviewed some of the pop culture highlights of the previous year and presented them with a strong sense of tongue in cheek. However, despite being a part of the show for 27 years, starting in the second year of Halloween Horror nights, in 2017 the show came to an end.
I will never forget a performer dressed as Magneto from the X-Men with hands extended as if flying on his iconic metal, all the while standing on a cart and being pushed by someone dressed entirely in green screen tights that even covered his face. Classic.
According to Patrick Braillard who was quoted in the Orlando Sentinel the last year of the production, the reason for eliminating the show was “We are an ever-changing event," he said. "And it's subjective, for sure. People are going to have different opinions, and it's going to be a debate topic over whether or not 'Bill & Ted' should stay in [HHN] 28, 29 and 30. … But I think we're doing our guests a huge disservice if we don't constantly evolve and elevate this event and change it year in and year out. I think that's why you're seeing different pieces and parts come and go. I think it's a great opportunity for guests to experience a different and new and revitalized event."
Well, there you have it. My favorite part of the event did get taken out, but as the new Bill and Ted is currently being filmed, who knows? Maybe I will once again see an iconic figure – such as the girl from The Ring doing her best to disrupt the two time travelers – making a new appearance. Then again….Halloween is always a time of surprise and mystery.
Meanwhile, the 2019 event will favor a number of different popular films. Jordan Peele’s Us will make an appearance, as will Netflix’ Stranger Things. Killer Klowns from Outerspace, Creepshow, and Frankenstein and the Wolfman are all highlighted in the experience. Ghostbusters also appear to agonize – I mean thrill – the audience. The event will really be amped up by the Holidaze in Hell attraction, while the classic year round Walking Dead experience will be heightened by the zombies who appear outside as well as inside the walk through.
Tickets are available in Hollywood for select nights starting on September 13 and running through November 3, and on select nights in Orlando from September 6 through November 2.
If you find yourself looking for a little upgraded Halloween experience, plan a getaway to Orlando or Hollywood – from which you may never return…Mhua ha ha ha ha ha
Photo Credits: Universal Hollywood