Edit – September 23, 2016: Attendance for the event has been spectacularly high with yet another sold out night, so please bring patience to you once you reach the event. Universal has also moved Early Entry to 5:15 PM for select mazes. Please check @HorrorNights for an updated list of which mazes are available for Early Entry.

In addition, we’ve heard that Terror Tram has been experiencing problems with guest flow, with some of our readers waiting for up to an hour to exit the maze. Please plan accordingly.

Edit – September 17, 2016: Given yesterday’s debut of Halloween Horror Nights 2016, we’d like to update you on how to best navigate the event with new information based on our experiences last night.

First and foremost, Front of Line is highly suggested. Given yesterday’s record-breaking performance and the projected attendance for this year’s event, Front of Line will give you a significant advantage over General Admission ticket holders. If Front of Line is not an option, we strongly recommend you to take advantage of Early Entry. On opening night, four mazes were offered for Early Entry. Please note that these options can change on given night.

  • The Exorcist: 6:15 PM
  • Freddy vs. Jason and American Horror Story: 6:30 PM
  • Krampus: 6:45 PM

We urge you to do the Early Entry in that order.

Be sure to follow @HorrorNights on Twitter each night of the event to find out what mazes are being offered and the time they will open for Early Entry participants. Please remember that while there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to accomplish everything Horror Nights’ entire roster through Early Entry, this strategy will provide the best opportunity to be successful.

Also keep in mind that the entrance to Early Entry begins at the front gate alongside the holding pen for those who are already in the park and have a day-night combination ticket. For those planning to enter the event through the park entrance, do keep in mind that you’ll have the opportunity to split off from those wishing to experience the opening ceremony. There is no special entrance in front of the park for Early Entry at the time of this revision.

In just two weeks, Halloween Horror Nights 2016 will open its gates for another year of haunts, spooks and scares to the general public. Of course, this also means it’s time for our annual Halloween Horror Nights guide on how to successfully navigate the night with the hopes of completing this year’s mazes and show in one visit.

Editor’s note: This article is a living document, and will be updated as the event progresses to reflect guest behavior. Be sure to check back before the date of your visit for all the latest information and updates.

Arrive early, and pursue Early Entry

First thing’s first: the event begins promptly at 7:00 PM with the ceremonial opening scaremony. Guests typically line up at around 6:00 PM (and as early as 5:30 PM) to reserve their space near the front of the park’s entrance corridor. However, while the opening scaremony is a highlight for many fans, we suggest taking advantage of Universal’s Early Entry entrance.

Signs near the main entrance will guide you to the location of the early entry. You must enter through the Early Entry entrance by 6:00 PM in order to take advantage of the 6:15 PM opening for select mazes (check @HorrorNights on Twitter for daily roster updates). Early Entry is highly recommended if you wish to pursue the most efficient route for experiencing Halloween Horror Nights, and our experience has shown that Early Entry patrons can shave hours off their time spent in queues. Plan to arrive a few hours before 6:00 PM to enter into the Early Entry queue and listen for announcements.

With that in mind, here’s our game plan:

Head to the Lower Lot first, then proceed to the Metropolitan sets

Proceed to the Lower Lot first, and head towards The Exorcist (located in the Revenge of the Mummy queue) and Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield (located in the Jurassic Park extended queue). Once you’ve completed the Lower Lot, you’ll want to then head to the Metropolitan sets, home to Krampus, Freddy vs. Jason and American Horror Story – all of which can be done interchangeably in the order you most prefer. Make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes, because you’ll be walking from Transformers The Ride 3D to the Metropolitan sets.

All aboard the Terror Tram!

Terror Tram: Survive The Purge – Halloween Horror Nights 2015 at Universal Studios Hollywood

Once you’ve finished with the backlot and Lower Lot mazes, head back up to the Upper Lot and make you way to the Terror Tram. Please note that the Terror Tram closes early each night with day-specific hours: Thursdays and Sundays at 11:15 PM, and on Fridays, Saturdays and Halloween Night at 11:45 PM. With this year’s Eli Roth theme, the Terror Tram is expected to garner a longer wait time than in year’s past.

Once you’ve concluded with the Terror Tram, catch a viewing of Halloween Horror Nights’ only show – the Jabbawockeez. And if a dance show isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps grab a bite at Springfield. You’ll need to prepare for the last section of the night – the Upper Lot.

Finish your night with the Upper Lot

The Upper Lot houses three horror related experiences, which are composed of two mazes and a large scare zone. We recommend heading towards the WaterWorld queue first, to experience The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Blood Brothers. After that we recommend heading towards Universal Plaza to experience this year’s ultra-scare zone based on The Purge: Election Year.

Lastly, we suggest you make The Walking Dead Attraction your last stop since this is an attraction that you can experience during your daytime visit to the park. While the nighttime version will undoubtedly be more intense, the primary premise of The Walking Dead Attraction will remain the same, and with precious time at your disposal, it might be helpful to save this maze for the end.

Finally, Halloween Horror Nights concludes at 2:00 AM every night, so if you have time, try to experience The Simpsons Ride, Revenge of the Mummy, Jurassic Park in the Dark, and Transformers: The Ride 3D. All other shows and attractions – including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – will not be open.

Always remember – this document is a living document, and will be modified as we learn more about crowd behavior as the event progress. While we can’t guarantee you’ll accomplish the entirety of Halloween Horror Nights in one night, we believe this roadmap may offer you the best chance.

As always, we always suggest purchasing your tickets online just as a precaution in the likelihood that the event sells out. The park stops selling Horror Nights-specific Front of Line passes at 6:00 PM each night.

We’ve also added below just a few more helpful tips if you’d like to continue reading.

Additional tips and tricks

  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, WaterWorld, Animal Actors, Special Effects Show and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem will not be open during Halloween Horror Nights.
  • Thursdays and Sundays are generally less crowded than Fridays and Saturdays. Dates in November are also especially light.
  • Purchasing your ticket online can allow you to save off the cost of general admission
    • September 16, 23, 29 and October 2 offers savings of $30.00
    • September 17, 24, 30 offers savings of $25.00
    • October 1, 6, 9 and November 4 offers savings of $20.00
    • October 7 and November 5 offers savings of $15.00
    • October 8, 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30 and 31 offers savings of $10.00
    • October 14, 21 and 28 offers savings of $5.00
    • There are no discounts on October 15, 22 and 29
  • The price of a Front of Line pass fluctuates depending on the date of your visit:
    • $139.00 – September 29, October 2, 6 and November 4, 5
    • $159.00 – September 16, 17, 23, 30, October 9, 30 and 31
    • $169.00 – September 24, 29, October 13, 16, 20, 23 and 27
    • $179.00 – October 1
    • $189.00 – October 7 and 28
    • $199.00 – October 8, 14, 15, 21, 22 and 29
  • …and of course, be sure to stay hydrated throughout the night and wear comfortable clothing.

That wraps it up for this year’s guide. If you have any questions or additional tips, please comment below and we’ll change this article accordingly.