I absolutely love the fall, and one of the biggest reasons is Halloween. So when my husband and I decided to take a special trip together, just the two of us, to Universal Orlando this past fall – we knew we absolutely had to get tickets to Universal Halloween Horror Nights. But as excited as I was for our trip, I was also pretty nervous about the haunted houses! I needed tips for going through a haunted house! I’m not someone who typically enjoys haunted mazes – but that is so much of what Universal Halloween Horror Nights Orlando is about. I couldn’t find any tips for going through a haunted house aimed at people like me – who were truly scared about going!
I compiled the following list based on what most helped me enjoy the Haunted Houses at Halloween Horror Nights! And if you are excited to go try a haunted house for the first time yourself, I hope this list will help to put your nerves at ease!
Tips for Going Through a Haunted House:
1. Clothing matters. When I was packing for our trip, of course I thought about what would be comfortable to wear to the parks. But it didn’t occur to me then, that clothing can actually help you get through a haunted maze if you use it strategically! What do I mean? Think about it like this… most haunted mazes are very dark, and one of the only sources of light often used is a black light. If you’ve ever been in a black light, you know that certain colors (particularly white) show up very brightly. In fact they appear to glow. So if you are wanting to get through a horror maze without putting a big X on your back, it makes sense to dress in darker more subdued colors. Maybe don’t wear bright white tennis shoes. Maybe don’t wear a light colored polo shirt. Maybe don’t wear a necklace that lights up and flashes. LOL. These are all ways that scare actors will be able to pick you out of a group and be able to to see exactly where you are at any given time in the maze. Darker colors tend to blend into the maze. So you will be less obvious overall.
2. Using the “Human Shield” tactic may not be the best choice. When I first went into a maze, I felt absolutely sure that I wanted to stand behind my slightly taller husband. I kind of squished myself behind him so I wouldn’t have to be in front. And while this is a popular scaredy cat move – it actually isn’t always the best one for avoiding a lot of scares. What I found happened pretty often, is that my last husband would really take his time walking through different rooms. He was not worried about being scared, and he would often stop to take in details. And while I thought his appreciation for the artistry behind the mazes was great, it made it very hard for me to get out of rooms where I could see scare actors about to scare me! I was kind of trapped at his pace. So I experimented with trying to go into the mazes in front of my husband. And I actually found that to be more empowering, because I was in charge of how fast I wanted to exit the house! So when I got to the hallway or a room that was particularly scary for me I would just pick up the pace and walk out of it. And I wasn’t caught behind someone going slower than I was comfortable with.
Also I found that it was pretty common in scare mazes I went into, for scare actors not to scare the person in front. They would often wait and scare the middle of groups walking through. I think the scare actors wouldn’t want to give away their position right away, so they often didn’t jump out at me in the front, they jumped out once the entire group was in a room – and when I was consequently past them. So even though it may feel counter intuitive, consider being the first one in your group to enter the house!
3. Don’t make it obvious your scared. Think of this from the perspective of a scare actor… if they see someone in a group that is going to be easy to frighten, they are going to go for the low hanging fruit! Acting scared is a green light to pursue you. If it looks like you will be easily scared – and better yet you may give a scream, you are going to be a target. So do your best when going through scare zones in the park or mazes, to act a bit calmer than you actually feel. Sometimes it feels easier to look down at the floor as you walk through a maze. You may see a scare actor in your peripheral vision nearby, but you stay looking down or looking straight ahead. That is actually a really terrific way to get targeted for a scare. Now the scare actor knows that you’re frightened, and you aren’t really going to see where they are in relation to you, making a scare in your direction easier! I think it’s more helpful to keep your eyes relaxed and looking around the room. If you see a scare actor, giving them a small knowing smile, and even making brief eye contact is really helpful. It tells that scare actors two things. First, that you’re not going to be easy to scare, since you already know where they are and have seen them. And number two, that you also may not be as easy to scare, because you are not afraid to glance at them and give a smile.
That said, don’t act cocky, like you think you absolutely can’t to be scared. Because that is also asking for a scare actor to target you! Just be calm maybe keep a smile on your face as you move through the maze looking around you, rather than at the floor.
4. Laugh when the scare actors get you. Laughing when you are scared serves two purposes. On one hand it really does help calm you down. And on the other hand, it also puts less of a target on your back with other scare actors. If you give a good natured laugh when you get a fright instead of screaming, you become less of a target for scare actors up ahead of you, who will want the chance to try and make you scream again! A good natured chuckle makes you less of a target than a scream!
5. Be familiar with the theme or property the haunted house is based on. Have a movie marathon before you go, and get acquainted with any tv shows or movies that have a maze based on them. Enjoying the details in a haunted house or maze is a great way to stay calm and have fun going through a maze that might otherwise scare you. My husband and I deliberately went to haunted houses based on TV shows and movies that we knew really well as the first mazes we went into at Halloween Horror Nights. It helped for instance, to go through the Stranger Things Maze, and get a little bit caught up in feeling like we were really in Joyce Beyers living room! Being able to pick out details from a movie or TV show, can help keep you calm and add to the enjoyment of a maze. So do some homework!
6. Be aware of changes under foot. Another haunted house tip is knowing when a scare may occur. When you are walking in a maze, and you suddenly feel the floor beneath you change – take note. I often found that when I was suddenly walking on a spongey surface in a maze, that sometimes there would be a loud noise that would go off, because under the spongy carpet was a sensor that set off a loud noise. Or sometimes, when the flooring changed, some new element like mist or water might be introduced into the scene. So be aware when you feel the walls or floor change, that likely means another element of scare is about to be introduced to.
7. Embrace Spoilers. I’m sure the people that love hunted houses will hate this next tip. But as a total scaredy-cat, this helped me so much! If you are very nervous about entering a haunted house, and you discover that someone has given a sneak peek of it online – let yourself watch it! It greatly helped me to see some of the mazes that I knew we were going to go in, ahead of time. I was still overwhelmed with the details in person, and my own journey through the maze was often different than what I saw online. But just having a general idea of the maze, as well as seeing some of the scary elements ahead of time really helped me to feel prepared. My advice if you are really feeling nervous about a maze, is to give yourself a little bit of a preview by doing some research before hand.
Remember you are braver than you think. The fact that you are reading these haunted house tips is proof that you are considering doing something that scares you! That means you are brave. I absolutely LOVED going in the mazes at Halloween Horror Nights, even though I was so nervous before hand! I decided to at least try two, and then stop if I didn’t like them. I ended up going in every single haunted house at Universal Halloween Horror Nights Orlando. You can do this, and it can be so much fun!
Just try and relax and be open to the experience. And if it helps, use a few of these tips!
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