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A Spooky-Good Time: Ranking The Scare Zones At Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights.

scare zones at halloween horror nights

Spooky season is afoot! As summer turns to fall, my favorite time of year approaches — Halloween. One of my favorite ways to get into the Halloween spirit is to visit Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights for an evening of fun and scares.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando
Marina Somma

The houses tend to get all the glory at Halloween Horror Nights, but scare zones can be an incredibly immersive and aesthetically pleasing place to do some sightseeing and people-watching! There are few things more entertaining than watching a small group walk right into the perfect scare and seeing them scurry away as fast as their legs can carry them. 

But how to rank these scare zones… well that’s entirely up to personal opinion! Read on to learn my favorite scare zones from this year and why I think they stand out. 

1. Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror

This scare zone, set in the depths of the jungle, provides the best immersive experience of the scare zones at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights! My personal favorite detail is the massive bats hanging above you in the trees. The location of this scare zone also works strongly in its favor, as it is quite a narrow passage, leading to a more cohesive feel. 

Walking through this scare zone, with the red lights of creatures leering down at you from the trees and the fog drifting around your legs, immerses you into the depths of a jungle in every way. 

jungle of doom halloween horror nights
Marina Somma

2. Vamp 69: Summer of Blood

Set in a 60s music festival infested by vampires, I will be the first to admit that I didn’t have high hopes as I entered this scare zone. The 60s “hippy” theme just didn’t seem to mesh with a spooky vibe to me at first. Despite this, I had to admit that this scare zone was undeniably fun

A mix of music and dancing scare actors, you just can’t shake this zone and the mood it sets! All of the set pieces tied together nicely to put you on the streets of a music festival. Simply put, this one was groovy, baby!

vamp 69 halloween horror nights
Marina Somma

3. Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged

Third place was a close race, but shipyard edged out the scare zone in the #4 slot by a hair. Set in a 40s San Francisco shipping yard, this scare zone had overall fun visuals but just felt like it was missing something. 

Stacks of errant crates line the streets and tie together the scare zone, which was one of the reasons it pulled into this #3 slot. However, this scare zone just didn’t quite wow as much as I felt it could have. 

shipyard 32 halloween horror nights
Marina Somma

4. Dark Zodiac

The overall ambiance of this scare zone almost pushed it up one slot. With that said, the set pieces and size of the zone felt a bit overstretched. The disjointed appearance and large areas of separation also impacted the immersive feel and overall story of the scare zone. 

Despite this, the scare actors in this zone shine with their performances (like they always do at Halloween Horror Nights). They keep Dark Zodiac firmly above our final scare zone. 

dark zodiac scare zone
Marina Somma

5. Dr. Oddfellow’s Collection of Horror

Dr. Oddfellow plays a part in all of the scare zones at Halloween Horror Nights this year, so his headlining scare zone falling flat was a bit disappointing. The core set piece of this zone is Dr. Oddfellow’s caravan, which is the highlight of the scare zone. It’s masterfully lit and designed and fits the theme of the scare zone perfectly. 

However, that’s about it when it comes to this scare zone. Dr. Oddfellow performs on his cart, and it’s quite visually appealing, but the rest of the scare zone lacks any immersion whatsoever. With that said, the cart alone is worth the look, and Dr. Oddfellow himself puts on a merrily festive performance.  

dr.oddfellow's collection of horror
Marina Somma

As is always the case at Halloween Horror Nights, the scare actors perform their roles exquisitely, and the set pieces always look breathtaking. Despite any flaws, there is always one thing you feel when strolling through the park, and that’s what I’m looking for most… Halloween spirit! So soak it in and enjoy that wonderful fall feeling! 

Marina Somma is the source of this story’s featured image.

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