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Halloween Horror Nights Survival Guide

My friends and I go to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood every year and for 2018 I’m going to rank the best mazes. Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood is sure to please fans in 2018. There are eight exciting mazes, five scare zones, the Terror Tram experience, the Jabbawockeez show, and three Universal Studios rides open. 

With all these things to experience, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and decide which attractions you want to see the most. Planning a route is also important at Universal Hollywood due to the travel time between the upper and lower lot. This guide will help you plan your own trip while offering extra tips and tricks to help you enjoy HHN in 2018.


Krampus creature HHN Hollywood 2018


Tip: If time is an issue due to long lines, I recommend skipping all the rides that are open all year long and focusing on the mazes that are only open during Halloween Horror Nights. This means you can skip The Walking Dead, Jurassic Park Transformers and the Simpsons.

This Guide Includes the Following:

Best Days To Go
HHN Wait Times
How to Manage the Lines
HHN Mazes Ranked Worst to Best
Locations of Rides, Mazes and Scarezones
Tips and Tricks
Common Questions
What’s Changed in 2018 at HHN

Best Days to Go

The best days to go are weeknights (not Friday) and Sundays because most people want to go on Friday and Saturday nights. People also stay out later on Friday and Saturdays so the crowd stays longer at the event. Many nights are sold out, but every Friday and Saturday in October will likely sell out.

Dates that are in September and November are also good days to go in order to avoid the crowds.

HHN Wait Times

The HHN wait times for each attraction will vary drastically throughout the night and there are a couple ways to monitor the wait times. However, both ways are not always accurate so I recommend checking out any ride that has a wait time of 30 minutes or less listed.

HHN Hollywood AppThere are digital boards throughout Universal Studios Hollywood that list each attraction and give the estimated wait times. This is a good way to keep an eye on the lines, but they tend to be more accurate when reporting longer lines.

The digital boards often don’t report accurately on mazes with lines that are 5 minutes or less. While I was at HHN, the boards were reporting 30 minute wait times for Trick ‘r Treat and we found it had zero people in line when we almost walked by it.

The same thing happened for the Purge, Poltergeist and the Blumhouse maze between 1 – 2 AM. The boards kept reporting lines thirty minutes or more when it took 0 – 10 minutes to get through the lines.

You will see signs for the Universal Studios HHN App throughout the park, often while waiting in lines. The app lets you monitor wait times during your visit and keep track of which mazes have the shortest lines. My iPhone wouldn’t let me download it without connecting to wifi due to the size of the app, so you may want to download it ahead of time.

How to Manage the Lines 

– The easiest way to manage the lines is by purchasing an Express Pass (formerly Front of the Line Pass). This lets you go to the front of the line for each attraction once. Having an Express Pass means there is plenty of time to hit all the mazes, rides, trams and the Jabbawockeez show at least once during the night. If you can’t get an Express Pass, there are tips below to avoid the three hour nightmare lines.

– Friday and Saturday nights are the worst nights to go. They will have the biggest crowds and the longest lines throughout the entire event. Especially Friday and Saturdays in October.

– Thursdays and Sundays are better days to go. Even if the event sells out, people tend to leave earlier which allows you to go through mazes with shorter lines during the last hour.

– Longer lines doesn’t always mean the maze is better. Often it’s just a more relevant and popular topic. The Stranger Things maze is an example of this. It has the longest lines most nights, but isn’t ranking #1 on most maze reviews.

– Short lines doesn’t mean the maze is bad, it just might not be as relevant a topic. The Universal Monsters maze is an example of this. It’s a great maze, but there isn’t a lot of excitement about the topic of classic Universal monsters.

– Universal sold after 11pm Express Passes for $60 the night I went (Sunday). To me this seems like a rip off when combined with the cost of a normal ticket. Keep in mind on Thursdays and Sundays the lines will usually get shorter after midnight on their own. 

– Download the App ahead of time to monitor the wait times no matter where you are in the park.

– I recommend staying until the park closes to enjoy more mazes with little to no lines. Many people are leaving or have already left the park, so the lines can be very short or nonexistent during the last hour of operation.

– Also, going to the lower lot during the last hour of operation will let you hit the most mazes in the shortest time. There are 5 mazes on the lower lot so you can bounce back and forth between them. I was able to go through Trick ‘R Treat for the third time, Purge two more times, and Poltergeist again in the last hour. We could’ve hit Poltergeist and Blumhouse again but our feet were really hurting so we decided to stop. Snack and save up some energy for that last hour.

– The park has a soft closing. The mazes close on time, but they keep the shops open late to visit while exiting the park. 

Mazes Ranked HHN Hollywood 2018

My friends and I have an annual tradition of meeting at HHN, but about five years ago the long lines started becoming unbearable. 

After the second year of three hour lines, we decided staying from open until close and only getting into three mazes just wasn’t worth it. It was time to change our tradition or upgrade to the Front of the Line pass (aka the Express Pass in 2018). Since then we have done Front of the Line passes every year and it’s been great.

This year was no different. We all purchased our Express Passes online, in advance and had plenty of time to go through each maze, the Terror Tram, the rides and even the Jabbawockeez show.

Here are my rankings from worst to best of the 2018 Mazes, including the Terror Tram, at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood.

9. The Walking Dead


Walking Dead Entrance Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights


It’s surprising to see the Walking Dead rank last on any list, but this is definitely the least exciting maze to walkthrough. The Walking Dead is a Universal Studios attraction that is open all year round, but they add extra scare actors for HHN. If there is a long line skip this one because you can always come back during normal Universal hours and experience it. However, if the line is short, go for it.

8. Horrors of Blumhouse: Chapter Two

I was a huge fan of the 2017 Blumhouse maze which featured Purge, Sinister and Happy Death Day experiences in one awesome encounter. The Horrors of Blumhouse 2018 version features the Truth or Dare and Unfriended films, but it was a disappointment for me. A lot of the Blumhouse maze was jump scares with bright lights behind the figures jumping out at you. However, they repeated the same scare tactic so often that it was a bit boring. If the line is short go for it because it’s still fun if you’ve seen the movies. However, if time is an issue I recommend going for a different Universal Halloween maze.

7. Terror Tram – Hollywood Harry’s Dreamtime Storiez

The Halloween Horror Nights Terror Tram is usually my favorite part of the night, but 2018 was a bit different. Hollywood Harry, the crazed clown, is back again this year along with scary scarecrows. Overall, the theme was scary and the characters were great. However, the time spent encountering monsters seemed shorter while the time spent in line during the terror tram experience was longer. Basically, it was a fun scare experience but it was too short and having a line in the middle of the terror tram encounter took away a lot of the excitement.

6. Poltergeist


Skull Monster in Poltergeist Maze HHN Hollywood 2018


The Poltergeist maze wasn’t especially scary, but it did a great job of telling the story from the film. It’s pretty spooky to walk through the storyline from Poltergeist and feel like you are part of this epic film. Universal Halloween Horror Nights didn’t miss any of the classic scenes you would expect from a Poltergeist encounter and they added some extra effects to scare everyone. I enjoyed the Poltergeist maze, but the other mazes are so great that Poltergeist scored sixth on the rankings list.

→ If you have never seen the old Trick ‘r Treat movie, I recommend switching Poltergeist to #5 and moving Trick ‘R Treat to #6 for planning your trip to HHN Hollywood.

5. Trick ‘r Treat


Trick-r-treat maze HHN Hollywood


I really enjoyed this maze and loved the great Sam characters used throughout it. However, it seemed to have the shortest lines so I don’t think other people enjoyed it as much. My friends had never seen the movie, which I think made the maze less fun for them. If you can’t watch Trick ‘r Treat, listen to a podcast or at least Google it so you know the basic storyline. Check out the School Bus Massacre scene on You Tube if you want a place to start.


Sam embodies the Halloween spirit and has been called the Santa Clause of Halloween. The HHN Trick ‘r Treat maze did a great job of representing the movie using iconic imagery and amazing recreations of Sam.

Going through the maze and the scare zone made me crave a Trick ‘r Treat sequel!  

4. Stranger Things

The Stranger Things maze is probably the most anticipated maze at HHN Hollywood in 2018. The excitement and energy is high for this maze, even while waiting in the long line. The night I was at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, this was the attraction with the longest lines all night. I don’t think any maze is worth waiting three hours, but if you can get a shorter line, the Stranger Things maze is worth it for fans of the show. The iconic imagery from the TV show is fantastic and the demogorgons were scary enough to make the maze fun.

3. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

Third place was a very tight race between the Stranger Things maze and Halloween 4. Stranger Things lost because you need to be a fan to really appreciate the maze and there are constant long lines. I usually love the classic horror movie mazes because I really enjoy how they really focus on the villains. This maze features a lot of rooms with a masked killer ready to attack. Even if you haven’t seen the Halloween movies in decades, you can still get terrified each time Michael comes for you. The Halloween 4: Return of Michael Myers maze shares a name with the film, but shouldn’t be judged based on the quality of the fourth Halloween movie.   

2. The First Purge

I really enjoyed the Purge movies and loved the First Purge maze. In fact, this is the only maze I went through three times. (See my tips about bottom lot for last hour of the night.) The maze was frightening like the films, but not because of ghosts or creatures. HHN did a fantastic job of making humans terrifying in this Purge experience, instead of counting on bright lights and startle effects. If you want to get scared and are familiar with the Purge franchise, I highly recommend hitting this maze.

1. Universal Monsters


Universal Monsters Maze HHN Hollywood


I wasn’t very excited about the Universal Monsters maze when I arrived at Universal Halloween Horror Nights. Frankenstein and the Wolf Man just didn’t sound like a big deal when I could be going through the Purge, Trick r Treat, Stranger Things or a Halloween 4 maze.

Since my friends and I all had a Universal Express Pass, we went through all the mazes and I’m glad I didn’t miss this one.

Universal Studios filled this Halloween maze with monsters and elevated the scare factor and eye candy. It also exits into a scare zone which is pretty cool. Surprisingly, the HHN 2018 Universal Monsters maze is the best attraction this year so don’t miss it!

Fans will be scrambling to Stranger Things and other popular titles so you might be able to get in with a short line too. I recommend making Universal Monsters a priory for 2018.

Where Stuff Is At HHN Hollywood 2018

Here are the basic locations of the mazes, rides and scare zones so you can plan your trip. I’m including the Terror Tram with the Halloween mazes because it’s essentially a longer maze. Traveling between the upper and lower lots involves a few escalators and can be a time sink so many people plan their trips around the upper and lower lot locations.

All the mazes, rides and entertainment listed below are included attractions with the Express Pass.

HHN Hollywood Mazes Upper Lot

• Hollywood Harry’s Terror Tram
• AMC’s The Walking Dead Attraction
• Halloween 4: Return of Michael Myers
• Universal Monsters

→ Jabbawockeez Show

Scare Zones HHN Hollywood 2018 Lower Lot

• Monster Masquerade
• Trick ‘r Treat
• Hells Harvest

Trick-r-treat scare zone Rules of Halloween

Universal Studios Hollywood Rides Upper Lot

• The Simpsons Ride
• Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade Closed at 5:30 so no Butter Beer : (

HHN Hollywood Mazes Lower Lot

• Stranger Things
• Trick ‘r Treat
• Horrors of Blumhouse: Chapter 2
• The First Purge
• Poltergeist

Scare Zones HHN Hollywood 2018 Upper Lot

Both scare zones in the bottom lot are solid spooky experiences. There is a lot of walking involved to get from one end to another, but they offer an alternative ride service for people who need it.


Christmas at Holidayz in Hell HHN Hollywood


I think Holidayz in Hell is the best scare zone at Universal Halloween Horror Nights this year and the Toxxic Tunnel is a scary experience everyone should walk through.

• Toxxic Tunnel
• Holidayz in Hell

Universal Studios Hollywood Rides Lower Lot

• Revenge of the Mummy
• Transformers 3D


Transformer at Universal Studios Halloween

Tips and Tricks Universal Halloween Horror Nights

→ Make sure everyone in your group has purchased the same kind of ticket.

→ Buy your tickets in advance! They frequently sell out so don’t show up without a ticket or you won’t get in.

→ Be ready to go through a medal detector before getting to the entrance. We also had an officer’s dog sniff us while in line at the metal detector. (I don’t know if it was smelling for weapons, drugs or both.)

→ Make sure you buy tickets for Hollywood HHN, not Orlando.

→ Hit the Terror Tram early because the line will get long and stay long all night. 

→ Buy an Express Pass if you can afford it so you don’t have to wait in lines or worry about running out of time.

→ Bring a clear plastic lanyard this year if you bought a special pass. They aren’t giving them out free.

→ Go to the lower lot for the last hour of operation to hit a lot of mazes with short lines. 

→ Thursdays and Sundays are the best days to go for a lower price and less crowds.

→ Skip Walking Dead and other rides that are open year round at the park if time is an issue.

→ Be ready to pay for parking. It’s about $25 for HHN parking.

→ Fyi they serve alcohol all over the park.

Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood Common Questions 

1. Is Harry Potter open during Halloween Horror Nights? No, Hogsmead closes at 5:30 each night at the Universal Studios Hollywood location.

2. What rides are open during Halloween Horror Nights? Revenge of the Mummy, Transformers 3D and The Simpsons Ride.

3. How much are Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights tickets? It depends on what day you go and what type of ticket you purchase. Go here to see the different tickets available and their prices.

4. How long are the lines at Universal Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood? The lines can vary drastically depending on what night you go, what kind of tickets you buy and what time of nights it is. The line can be less than five minutes or over three hours at different times.

5. Do they touch you at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood? No, the monsters won’t touch or grab you at Halloween Horror Nights.

Changes to HHN 2018

· Front of the Line Pass has changed to Express Pass.

· Universal selling Unlimited Express Passes in 2018. 

· The special passes are printed on a cheap paper card this year. The special passes are usually creative, thick, list each ride and previously came with a free lanyard string. They made nice souvenirs. In 2018, the passes are a cheap paper card that you have to pull in and out repeatedly to gain entrance at every attraction. (Don’t worry though, Universal is selling lanyards for $10-12 right next to the ticket booths.) I didn’t want to buy a lanyard, but the ticket is so cheap I was worried about ruining or losing it before the night was over.

· Universal Studios is selling After 11pm Express Passes inside the park for $60 this year.

· Can pay $50 to park really close. Handicap parking used to be the most accessible spots right at the front gate of the park. Those parking spots have been changed to Front Gate Parking and Universal Studios is charging $50 for anyone to park there.

Voodoo Doughnuts


Voodoo doughnuts sign citywalk Hollywood

Looking for a snack? Voodoo Doughnuts is in City Walk, right outside of Universal Halloween Horror Nights and they are delicious. These are amazing doughnuts!