Four bus-loads of anticipation-driven Saint Leo University students set a course for a spine tingling adventure at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights on Oct. 28.
Traditionally, Saint Leo allows students to purchase Halloween Horror Nights tickets via the University’s personal website. Like in previous years, tickets were sold out within seconds of being posted. Some students on the waiting list were able to snag a ticket at the very last second.
“Face horror beyond your wildest dreams” was this year’s Halloween Horror Nights slogan. Nevertheless, the idea of impending terror did not inhibit students from attending the annual outing.
Buses did not arrive at Universal Studios until 8:15 and a 12:15 a.m. curfew was allotted, giving students four hours to traverse the park. Most students assumed that this would be an adequate amount of time to see enough haunted houses and rides, but became disheartened soon after seeing the waiting times, especially for the popular AMC’s “the Walking Dead” house which had a wait time of 140 minutes.
There was a total of nine haunted houses, the most popular being both the “American Horror Story” and “The Walking Dead” houses. “The Tomb of the Ancients” and “Ghost Town: The Curse of Lighting Gulch” had the least waiting times with 40 and 30 minutes respectively. However, as the night progressed, even those lines hit close to or reached the 60-minute mark.
“I disliked the waiting time and that we did not get to spend a longer time there,” said Romario Williams, a freshman and computer science major.
The quality of each house made it worth the wait. The sounds, special effects, and ghouls lurking in the dark waiting to deliver the jump scares made the experience feel all too frighteningly real.
Even outside of the houses, students were not safe from the scares. Each street also had several Scare Zones of various themes, from “Survive or Die Apocalypse” to “The Lair of the Banshee.” The streets were filled with hordes of theme-related scarers, who both spooked and took pictures with many bystanders.
The theme park’s organizers planned the event well. Scarers were stationed throughout the park and outside of each house, except for “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Lunatics playground 3D: You Won’t Stand a Chance,” making it impossible to escape from the crawling creatures of the night. The street was filled with smoke and colored lights, giving the atmosphere an eerie and supernatural feeling. A spooky soundtrack also helped to set the mood.
Halloween Horror Nights is a must go, especially for international students who do not normally get this experience back home. Romario Williams explained that it was his first time celebrating Halloween. He loved how the houses were set up, but personally did not find the “Scare Zones” that scary.
“They didn’t really scare me because I’m not easily scared, but I saw them scare a lot of persons,” Williams said.
Those who love all things spooky would definitely enjoy the overall Halloween Horror Nights experience. Be sure to check out this, and some of Florida’s other popular Halloween-themed attractions before the big night comes and goes.