Fear for sale: 10 ways to hold onto that Halloween Horror forever

Make the fear last with purchases that petrify

By A.D. Thompson,

If the aliens of the Invasion! Scare Zone don't abduct you, the park merch will likely abscond with at least some of your cash — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

'Tis the season for scares in Orlando, and leading the charge as always is Universal Orlando Resort, where the annual Halloween Horror Nights event has hacked headlong into the fray like Jack Nicholson with his axe in The Shining – a movie which, incidentally, inspired one of the most anticipated houses to check out this year!

HHN was born here in Orlando (Universal's sister park in Hollywood now runs its own version, as well), growing over 27 years from a smallish affair meant to draw in locals to a blockbuster festival of horror-spun entertainment.

Original content has been a big part of the event since its beginnings, but over time they've also partnered with household names in horror – from AMC's The Walking Dead to film franchises such as Halloween, Alien, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street – to create houses, walk-through Scare Zones and other features to delight with fright.

This year's concept was initially inspired by artwork for a Titans of Terror campaign for Universal Studios Hollywood — Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort 2017

Merchandise runs the gamut, from the expected to more unique items the event's fans will find collectible as time rolls on. This year's theme is Festival of the Deadliest and there's loads of items emblazoned with its signature artwork, which centers on a decorative skull design that's far more sinister than the Dia de los Muertos-style sugar skulls we all see this time of year. 

Farewell, dudes!

Fans of the long-running show will be grabbing up the merch. This is its last year. — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Many fans of the event are saddened to note that 2017 will mark the end of an era, as "Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure," a staple show for the past 26 years, makes its last appearance! Its scantily clad dancers and bawdy, pop culture-sourced humor was often a controversial, love-it-or-hate-it topic of conversation – but it was always talked about. "Farewell Dudes" merch abounds with mugs, tees and shot glasses bidding the "Wyld Stallyns" adieu.

Let's glow

Carts with cute wearable souvenirs; landmines for your wallet — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Guests will find merchandise available throughout the park, but the carnival-style carts are where those looking for fun, illuminated items – skulls, glasses, masks, devil horns and the like – are best purchased. These make for colorful, less-scary take-home items for the kids left behind while parents head out for gory, grown-up fun.

Hide out (and shop)

You'll have to navigate a gauntlet of bloodthirsty scareactors to get to the HHN Tribute Store — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

The Tribute Shop, set in a "dangerous" part of The Purge Scare Zone, is ground zero for Halloween Horror Nights merch.

But don't forget photo-ops

The store is bedecked with great photo-ops and even the check-out counter is beautifully stylized. — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Once safely inside, goodies abound. Loads of house-themed tees (Ash Vs. Evil Dead, The Shining, Saw) and other items grace the shelves of this crypt-like shop. Adorable Pop vinyls, too! But there are unique items to be had as well. 

Accessorize for your life

The perfect accessory to complete a subtle fashion nod to the season! — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

It's not all t-shirts. Ski beanies, of course, never go out of style....

Take a mask to-go

Clowns abound, along with other iconic characters from popular horror franchises — Photo courtesy of A.D.Thompson

And while costumes are not permitted for guests at Halloween Horror Nights, that doesn't mean you can't take home one of their creepy masks for future use.

Souvenirs that last beyond the season

Heads for home design. We spied one guest buying a few of these for her collection — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Choose wisely and Halloween home furnishings can be something you'll want to display all year long. These artistic skulls come in a range of styles and colors.

Statement skulls

There are devilish details in this year's logo-inspired accessories — Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort 2017

For those who are more apt to make skulls a fashion statement, this year's logo comes on other items including wallets, phone cases and even jewelry.

Have a very scary Christmas

Horror Nights fans would definitely take issue with which season is actually "the most wonderful time of the year" — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

And since, these days, Halloween marketing begins before the kids are back at school, why not let your favorite holiday bleed (pun intended) into the December season with a tree ornament commemorating your HHN visit?

Here's to. . .being terrified

Liquid Courage (left) and Liquid Fear. First one's $12.99; refills $8.99. The scareactor who nearly causes you to spill both while taking a picture is included in the price of admission. — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Universal's food and beverage team gets in on the seasonal creativity, too. And while you'll have to consume this year's signature mixed drinks in the park, the light-up cups are festive and fun to take home. On tap this year are three selections.

Liquid Courage: Bacardi tangerine rum, Malibu coconut rum, orange juice and a splash of Sprite

Liquid Fear: St. Augustine vodka, Blue Curacao, Cointreau, cranberry juice and lemonade

Midnight Madness: Half Liquid Courage, half Liquid Fear

This year's glass is divided in half, which makes for a showy drink where Midnight Madness is concerned, but use the special plastic "straw," which resembles an upside-down tuning fork. This is not a glass for tipping unless you're carefully monitoring drink levels on both sides! You'll find these 20-oz. cocktails at bars around the park. The first one will run you $12.99, but refills are $8.99 thereafter.