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Coronavirus Is the Biggest Scare at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights

As if Orlando wasn't scary enough already.

halloween horror night 2019

As September comes to a close, the spookiest season is close at hand. Also close at hand? Coronavirus, which shows little signs of abating anytime soon. The continuing pandemic puts a damper on most of our favorite Halloween traditions, including trick-or-treating, getting drunk in a slutty Captain America costume (just me?), and of course, hitting up beloved institutions like Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights.

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And while Universal has canceled Halloween Horror Nights (which would have celebrated their 30th anniversary this year), they are taking steps to keep their Orlando parks in the spooky spirit. Two haunted house experiences, Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives and Revenge of the Tooth Fairy will be running during the day at the theme park, with entry included with a regular park admission ticket. The haunted houses will be open to visitors September 26-27 and October 3 through November 1.

The parks have put protective measures in place since they reopened this summer, which include required face masks, temperature checks, and social distancing. The park is also encouraging guests to use the Virtual Line experience in the Universal Orlando Resort app to secure their spot. The haunted houses are taking this a step further by physically separating the “scareactors” from guests via large plexiglass barriers.

As someone who once ran screaming out of the employee exit of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre house at HHN, I can get on board with plenty of plexiglass between myself and overzealous scareactors. Those guys take their job too seriously. I once saw a scareactor slide right into a lady and fully knock her down, then run away while she screamed and chased after them.

But as someone who is still concerned about the pandemic, I can’t help but question the idea of people crowded in by plastic walls, screaming their heads off and spraying COVID-19 into the air. Yes, they’re wearing masks, but this seems like a prime way to get coronavirus. I’m not about to risk my life so a 17-year-old getting paid minimum wage can rattle some chains at me and flash a strobe light in my face.

In addition to the haunted houses, Universal is inviting guests to come to the park in costume (sans costume masks) and will be holding trick-or-treating for kids at the Islands of Adventure. But again, I cannot stress enough that gathering in big crowds during a pandemic is a really bad idea. But some people just need to get their scare on, I guess. Stay safe and stay spooky, ghoulfriends.

(via Syfy Wire, featured image: Universal Studios)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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