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Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights
By Candyce H. Stapen

For the scariest Halloween ever—and one that’s the most fun—take part in Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, Orlando, FL. Now in its 19th year, the nocturnal festivities are the preeminent celebration of the season, featuring eight haunted houses and six scare zones. The safe, but sufficiently spooky atmosphere will thrill even your most blasé teenagers.

Universal Studios’ celebration takes place October 1-4, 8-11, 15-18, 21-25, 28-31, 2009, from 6:30 p.m. on. Admission requires a separate ticket.

On these nights the park is transformed. This is no mild gathering of store -bought costumed people with welcoming smiles. Universal uses its highly skilled creators, make-up artists and technicians to deliver creepy creatures and well-timed surprises. Because the after-dark chills pack a wallop, Universal Orlando recommends that teens be at least 13-years-old.

In keeping with this year’s theme-- “Ripped from the Silver Screen”—the haunted houses contain frightening characters from popular movies. Make your way through dark hallways and mazes where the things that go bump in the night include Dracula, Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, Jigsaw (from the Chainsaw movies), Chucky (from child’s Play) and the Wolfman (from a movie to be released in February). The timing and the technical savvy make the haunted houses intense.

Think you’re safe just because you made it through? Hah! Now, mingle with the “scare-actors,” street performers in six scare zones. You never know whom you’ll meet. Fog, actually a toxic green mist this season, envelops one area, adding to the mystery. In other scare zones, a chainsaw drill team runs up behind you, surprising you with that roaring, ready to whack noise. In another section, encounter corpses come back as invincible soldiers and hybrid human and beasts roam in another area. A gnarled witch animal might pop up behind you, a monster trailing ersatz blood could bump into you and a Cyclops might ask you for a cigarette.

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights puts on a ghoulish evening you won’t forget.In the morning, the park fades back to normal—at least for a little while. Fall, with its pleasant weather and doable crowds, really is the best time to visit Orlando’s theme parks and attractions, especially when you can scare yourself silly at night.

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