Halloween News From Universal Studios Horror Nights, Disney Parks, and More!
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Halloween News From Universal Studios Horror Nights, Disney Parks, and More!

May 16, 2023

There’s a lot of monsters ready to be let out of their crypts for Halloween haunt season.

Midsummer Scream was where it was at! Last weekend, the West Coast Halloween convention kicked off spooky season with theme park announcements galore. Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights will be diving into Universal Monsters and global spooky folklore in a new original house. Six Flags Magic Mountain will step up with mazes based on The Conjuring and Saw X. And of course, Knott’s Scary Farm teased big interactive immersions coming to the haunt originator’s 50th anniversary celebration.

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Rounding out the news are Disney Parks’ Haunted Mansion festivities, Universal Studios Orlando’s own Halloween Horror Nights bringing more Chucky out to play, Alamo Drafthouse’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pizza menu, and more!

Here’s the spooky latest on cinematic experiences, Disney Parks, Universal Studios, and vacations at other fan-tastical destinations!

This event roundup, which includes activations for major studio projects, was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of writers and actors currently on strike, the films and TV covered here wouldn’t exist.

A new original haunted house was announced at Midsummer Scream’s Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights presentation. HHN creative director John Murdy was on hand to reveal a new concept inspired by Latin American horror folklore and cryptids like Mexico and Texas’ La Lechuza, Mexico’s Tlahuelpuchi, and South America’s El Silbón. We’re awaiting these takes with a bit of apprehension, but hope that enough HHN creative team members from the appropriate Latin communities are being consulted. It is, however, very exciting to see more monsters from around the world celebrated at the annual haunt event, which has previously done outstanding houses based on La Llorona and El Cucuy (the latter voiced by Danny Trejo). We also got a hint that La Llorona would be back in a special fan-meet capacity, and are also getting a scare zone inspired by mummies from Latin American horror.

The fifth Universal Monsters house will feature the Phantom of the Opera, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Invisible Man. At the presentation, Murdy previewed a snippet of an original composition from Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash, who has scored every Hollywood Universal Monsters house. “Universal Monsters: Unmasked” is scored in collaboration with Stacey Quinealty of the HHN team.

The Conjuring - Official Main Trailer [HD]

Finally, Warner Bros. is collaborating once again with Fright Fest to deliver some horror film scares. During Midsummer Scream, it was announced that Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA is getting a Conjuring maze based on James Wan’s first film in the Conjuring universe. We hope this will be a good start to more movie horror at Fright Fest. Fingers crossed for more DC villains roaming the streets too. More info here.

Another major IP was announced at Midsummer Scream as coming to the SoCal Six Flags—this one coinciding with the release of the latest installment of the Saw franchise. That’s right, you’ll be able to venture through Jigsaw’s traps as seen in Saw X at Six Flags Fright Fest. For tickets visit here.

The West Coast haunt originator is celebrating 50 years, and at Midsummer Scream announced a new Legacy Store to honor its history as well as tease new interactive features in its mazes for 2023. With the help of a special lantern—which will be available at an additional cost—interactive elements can be activated within several mazes for some extra-exclusive fun. More announcements for Knott’s Scary Farm are set to come during a special ticketed fan event on August 25, which is already sold out. Tickets for the haunt itself are now on sale and available for the run dates of September 21-October 31.

A new teal variant version of Disney Parks’ Hatbox Ghost tiki mug makes its debut at Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland resort on August 9. Guests will only be able to buy two at a time and it will come with a new Haunted Mansion-themed drink, “The Cloaked Specter.” For more info visit the Disney Parks Blog.

Disney Parks will also feature a plastic sipper version of the icon.

Probably the most sought-after immersive ticket in Los Angeles, the chilling tale of The Willows returns for another run by JFI Productions. Sign up for its newsletter to try and nab a slot here.

The animatronic skeleton-bedecked, family-friendly Halloween event will be collaborating with the Los Angeles Natural History Museum from September 28-October 31. We’re hoping for the dino-bones to get in on the action! For more, visit the museum’s site.

Hotel guests staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort will have exclusive access to a Chucky-themed photo illusion experience if they stay at the hotel during Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 2023.

Haunted Tales: Dr. Oddfellow’s Collection of Horror

The Discover Universal podcast collaborates with Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights for another year of chilling narrative podcasts that unveil the creepy backstories of some of this year’s houses. The first one is out and teases Dr. Oddfellow’s presence in this year’s original houses and scare zones (plus a connection to one Jack the Clown). Perfect to listen to in line or while you’re traveling to the event.

For some, doing all the HHN houses might be the goal of a haunt evening—but for others it might be getting to try as much of the spooky themed food and drinks as possible. It’s quite the conundrum having to pick which lines to navigate, but thankfully, to make these choices easier, Universal Studios Orlando has rolled out a Taste of Terror experience before Halloween Horror Nights begins.

In the separately ticked foodie event, HHN goers can:

Enjoy an exclusive—before event start—all you care to enjoy preview of select food and beverage items that will be featured at Halloween Horror Nights this year! (Tasting size portions)

All Non-Alcoholic beverages included

Alcohol beverages included via a hosted bar. Must be 21+ with valid photo ID to drink.

Souvenir Halloween Horror Nights light-up cup (21+ Only)

Halloween Horror Nights Coca-Cola Freestyle cup (Separate fee applies to activate)

One digital download of a photo taken at the Taste of Terror

Visit here for more info, dates, and pricing.

Check out Alamo Drafthouse’s limited-time menu for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, which features pizza, of course, along with more themed specials inspired by the film. They’re available at participating Alamo Drafthouse locations through August 24.

The imaginative musical retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth from singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and director Rachel Chavkin returns to Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre for an exclusive but limited engagement from Oct 3-15. Hadestown is the winner of eight Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. Get tickets for the Los Angeles shows here.

Season three of Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building—starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez—arrives next week. To tie into this season Hulu has teamed up with the Escape Game on an interactive room for fans in its Los Angeles and Las Vegas locations. From August 11-13, the OMITB-themed escape room will be running Los Angeles to play in-store at the Escape Game location within the Century City Mall. Or, fans can visit from August 18-20 at the Escape Game Las Vegas in the Forum Shops. There will also be an online version of the playable mystery from August 14-18. To participate in the all three versions of the game, fans can RSVP online at onlymurdersescapegame.com.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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“Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America”