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Halloween Horror Nights vs. Howl-O-Scream

Photo courtesy of Universal Studios
Photo courtesy of Universal Studios

The sound of screams come from the front of the line as groups of people move through a house littered with bones, blood and nightmarish creatures.
This isn’t a regular house — it’s a haunted house.

Actors are dressed up in old garbs or covered in grime and want nothing more than to scare the guests walking through thin hallways.

This is Universal’s Halloween Horror Night’s and Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream in a nutshell. Yet, both are completely different in pricing and theming, and choosing one of these Halloween events can come down to those two factors.

Universal Studios in Orlando runs through select Wednesday through Sunday dates starting Sept. 16 and then ends  on Monday, Oct. 31.

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The prices vary per year, but tickets usually run cheaper Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

According to its website, those days are priced at $55.99-$59.99 while Friday and Saturday prices run from $66.99-$82.99.

Howl-O-Scream tends to be the least expensive, but this year it’s on a similar scale to HHN.

Similar to HHN, the dates and prices vary each year. They start the event Sept. 23 and end it  on Oct. 30.

Busch Garden’s runs its event Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with only two prices for each of those days. Thursday, Friday and Sunday is $65.99 and Saturday is $70.99.

Prices are usually what push people to make a choice, but before buying a ticket, choosing an event comes down to what experience is wanted.

For 16 years, Howl-O-Scream has kept its themes original from its creative teams.

Nothing is from a TV show or movie, so it adds to the atmosphere of a guest being the main character of its own story.

Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens
Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens

The houses include things like Zombie Containment Unit 15, an interactive haunted house where you shoot zombies, and Motel Hell, a generic house where you go through a haunted motel.

“I prefer HHN because it’s more fun, but if you want to be truly scared then go to Howl-O-Scream. It is much scarier and a lot more horror, which is something you have to appreciate,” Colleen Saltzsieder said.

HHN bases its themes on letting you experience your favorite horror TV show or movie.

The houses this year include: “The Walking Dead,” “American Horror Story,” “The Exorcist” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

HHN includes two or three original idea houses, but usually only run with pop culture items, such as Ghost Town.

Compared to Howl-O-Scream, HHN pays more attention to the little details of the houses to make sure it gets everything right.

Attendees of HHN this year have stated that when you walk through the scene in “The Exorcist” with the vomit, the room actually smells like vomit.

Universal works with the directors of these shows and movies in order to make sure it’s perfect.

Howl-O-Scream does not have the popular house,  “Alone” this year where you experience a house by yourself, or with three friends at the most, in which you have to pay separately from the event ticket.

HHN will be having its first-ever virtual reality house called The Repository where, for a separate price, you experience a house with both a VR mask and real-life scares.

What you choose all depends on your budget and what experience you’re looking for.

These are two completely different events that are both in it for the same thing — scaring people.

Both of these events also keep certain rides open so you can go from screaming in a haunted house to screaming on a rollercoaster.

Visit HHN’s  and Howl-O-Scream’s website for more information.

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