It’s safe to say that Halloween Horror Nights can be a pretty intense experience, even for adults, I remember feeling pretty nervous about my first ever HHN last year (as it turns out it turned into one of my favorite events in Orlando).
Knowing when to initiate your children into the event is something else entirely, so we’ve put together a few tips to help you to understand when the best time is.
1. Start with the recommended age limit
Universal has a fairly clear warning on the website and most of the promotional material for Halloween Horror Nights:
WARNING: Event may be too intense for young children and is not recommended for children under the age of 13
This is a pretty good place to start, most kids under the age of 13 are going to feel the event is too intense. That being said, don’t feel limited by this. There are other things you can be doing to know if your children are ready.
2. Show them material from previous Halloween Horror Nights
One of the positives of us living in the age of mobile phones and recording equipment is that you can get a taste of what to expect from the event way ahead of time. If your kids are wanting to go to the event, sit down with them and watch footage of some of the past years and gauge their reactions. If they are still interested, it could be the year to take them.
Do keep in mind that every year at Halloween Horror Nights is very different, as houses, and scare zones change annually.
3. Get them watching horror movies
This is a good first step. While we aren’t saying put them in front of “Nightmare on Elm Street” or “The Ring,” starting things off with classics that have since been given a slightly lighter age rating is a great place to start. Consider thinking about classics like “Jaws” or for this year’s event, “Killer Klowns from Outer Space.” If they can watch a relatively tame horror without too much trouble then they might be ready for the event.
4. Walk them through HHN during daylight
You don’t need to tickets to the evening event to let your kids take in how some of the scare zones look during the day. If the sights of some of the sets are making them a bit uneasy, you know the time isn’t quite right to introduce them to the event.
5. Tell them what to expect
Be totally honest with your kids on what to expect from the event. Run through each of the houses that have been announced, watch the relevant movies/television shows, and tell them that there will be people wielding fake chainsaws wandering the streets in between scare zones and houses. This will get them fully prepared for the evening.
6) Start with the scare zones
While scare zones are obviously still scary, they don’t come close to the intensity of the houses themselves. Taking your kids through the scare zones during the event will give you a very quick indication if they are ready for the houses or not. Of course, the one downside to this one is that you will all need tickets for Halloween Horror Nights.
7. Only You Know Your Child
As we’ve covered, although the recommendation from Universal is to not bring a child into the event if they are under the age of 13, we’ve seen plenty of children at the event a lot younger and having a blast. You know your child better than anyone and are the best-placed person to give a judgement call.