HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS
One of my favorite times of the year is finally back among us: Halloween. I love walking around my neighborhood looking at houses fully decked out with Halloween decorations. This year on the actual Halloween day I am going to do something I have never done before: passing out candy. I am sorry if I gave you the intention that I would be doing something spectacular, but it is a first for me since I am usually the one who is out and about on this day.
One event I never miss during this time is the Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios in Hollywood. This year marked my third year in a row that I went, and I love this event more every time I go. One of my best friends laughed at me when I told him this since he remembers me all to well back in the day, when I was too scared to even step foot into a haunted house. Boy, times definitely have changed.
The Horror Nights in Hollywood started twenty years ago and have become an established event. Each year, for about a month and a half, Universal Studios gives residence to various spooky characters from famous horror movies. This attraction is definitely not for the faint-hearted, as the monsters walk freely around the park, trying to scare the masses of people. The event also hosts several mazes, with each of them dedicated to specific horror films.
This year, the park hosts seven mazes in total with the following themes: Saw, The Shining, Ash vs. Evil Dead, American Horror Story, Insidious, The Horrors of Blumhouse, and Titans of Terror. In addition, visitors can ride on the Terror Tram, or take part in the Walking Dead attraction, which the park hosts year round. Several rides are also open during the Halloween Horror Nights, including the Transformers ride, which is an amazing 4D experience you don’t want to miss.
(Part of the outside of the Saw maze)
(Outside of the Ash vs. Evil Dead maze)
(Part of The Walking Dead Attraction)
I personally got very excited when I heard about the Saw maze. I really can’t watch such graphic movies anymore without having to puke and facing terrible nightmares the following night. For some reason though, the mazes don’t freak me out as much. I am mostly amazed at how detail oriented and lifelike Universal builds them every single year. You really do feel like you are at the scene of the particular movie.
The Saw maze was pretty good, but not my favorite one this year. I have to admit that I had never heard of Ash vs. Evil Dead before, but the attraction was amazing! It was pretty scary, and I jumped and screamed several times when the horrific characters came out of nowhere. Bless my sweet friends who bore with me while I was jumping all over the place out of fear. Especially my one friend hasn’t had it easy the past two years she attended the event with me.
Last year, I accidentally hit her in the nose with my elbow when I jumped backwards after being scared by an American Horror Story character. We were already exhausted from having to wait more than two hours to get into this attraction, and then I had to top it off by actually hurting her. I felt horrible, to say the least. But you’d think I would have been better at getting it together this year. Nah, I am embarrassed to say so, but unfortunately, you are wrong.
We had agreed that this year, I would be the one walking behind my girlfriends, so I wouldn’t be able to hit anyone of them with my elbow by accident. Well, I was successful at not hitting my friends. But unfortunately, I still wasn’t able to control my body. When we bravely made our way through the Titans of Terror maze, one of the spooky characters came at me out of the dark. I started screaming and jumped forward, my arms circling in the air and getting a hold of my friend’s net sweater she was wearing and pulling it down.
She first thought that one of the characters had touched her, which is actually not allowed due to one of the park’s regulations. She turned around and looked into my apologetic face, realizing that it was me yet again who hurt her. Gosh, I really can’t control my body when I am freaked out. From that point out, I was holding my hands whenever we walked through a maze and made sure to keep a distance. I really can’t say if she would go a third time with me to the Horror Nights.
All in all, it was a night full of fun, my friend forgave me, and I am already looking forward to next year’s event. If you would like to check it out yourself this year or at some point in the future, I have some tips that might be helpful:
- Try to go early. The wait for mazes can go up to more than two hours during peak times. Universal offers early entry at 5p.m. My friends and I went at 5:30p.m. the first weekend the event was open in mid September, and the longest we had to wait one time was 55 minutes. Other than that, we never waited longer than 30 minutes.
- If you can, go ahead and purchase a front of the line pass. This gives you mostly instant access to the attractions without having to wait in the main lines.
- Don’t bring any liquids when you go. Universal Studios Hollywood has a security checkpoint, and they will make you throw out any liquid items you posses. One year, I had to throw out my body mist spray because it wasn’t allowed.
- Check the wait times for attractions online on the Halloween Horror Nights side. That way, you are always up to date and can see which mazes might have shorter waiting times than others.
I hope you all are going to have a spooky Halloween, no matter how you celebrate!
Images: Anne-Kathrin Schulte, pixabay.com
Anne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.
If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.