On Thursday, October 19 at 12:30 pm, select sophomores and juniors piled onto three buses, each named after a haunted house located at their highly anticipated destination: Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN).
Upon arriving at the park after the four-hour drive, students attended the “Making of the Mayhem” show accompanied by two other schools and a HHN creator who shared some of the illusions behind the popular event. Having already been in the park before the gates opened the event to the public, the attendees were given a head start to jump in the temporarily short lines and explore the attractions that had been transformed to mirror frightening images from popular horror movies.
Students had the option to tour nine different haunted houses in addition to the attractions that were still open throughout the night. Each house was either a completely original design or taken from some aspect of a horror movie or television show.
The houses created for this year’s event are The Shining, Saw: The Games of Jigsaw, American Horror Story: Volume 2, Horrors of Blumhouse, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Dead Waters, The Fallen, Scarecrow: The Reaping and The Hive. At the event’s closing on November fourth these attractions will be thrown away, as none of the sets are reused. The design team works year round to create brand new houses for a unique experience, making HHN the most popular Halloween based event in the world.
“There was always so much happening, people were scaring you from every which way,” sophomore Gabriela Phillips said. “There was never really a boring moment, there was always something happening whether you were walking around the scare zones, going inside a house, riding rides, or watching one of the shows.”
In addition to the spooky houses, the park is littered with “scare zones” that are populated with actors in costume who sneak up on guests to scare them as much as possible. This year, the unique experience featured “scaracters” from The Purge, Trick ‘R Treat, Festival of the Deadliest, Invasion! and Altars of Horror. Other “scaracters” were clowns in possession of chainsaws, free to roam the park as they pleased.
“The best scare zone was the clown with chainsaws,” sophomore Carla Luna said. “They would follow you, jump out at you and even chase you for as long as possible.”
Despite the amount of sheer terror the students (and chaperones) experienced everyone still enjoyed themselves thanks to the meticulous preparation completed by the class of 2019 officers. The trip acts as a fundraiser for the class of 2019, with the outing being headed up by Class Sponsor Alfredo Pichardo and Class President Robin Zide who shared some of the mass preparations she participated in.
“Along with the other officers, I had to sell tickets and make sure all of the students information was in check. Also we had to stay in contact with Universal to make sure everything was in order,”junior Robin Zide said. “No class has ever done a trip like we did, which makes 2019 the first! We are so proud of all the hard work that went from getting this project from a cool idea to getting it approved to making our ideas reality.”
The trip has been such a success because of all of the hard the class officers put into it. Everyone on the trip has a great time and it’s an awesome opportunity for students to go and experience HHN.
“I think it’s a fun trip because a lot of people want to go up to Halloween Horror Nights, ” chaperone and teacher Mr. Franzone said. “It’s hard to plan a trip as a sophomore or junior sometimes so I think that’s a good opportunity for kids to go with their friends to the park.”
After a long day at the park, exhausted students arrived at CCHS around 5:30 am to be picked up and taken home to enjoy the rest of their day off.
“I thought that HHN was a great experience. If you want a good scare and to make some memories with friends, HHN is a great place to go,” sophomore Emily Ostrander said. “I will definitely be going back in the years to come.”
It is easy to conclude that this year’s HHN trip was a success, and many are looking forward to attending in the years to come.
Photo by Genna Nordling