Universal Studios cancels Halloween Horror Nights

A general view of the atmosphere during the opening of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort on September 14, 2018 in Orlando, Florida.

Gerardo Mora | Getty Images Entertainment | fake pictures

Halloween Horror Nights will not be coming to Universal parks this year.

The theme park, which has locations in California and Florida, announced Friday that its annual Halloween event has been canceled due to operational restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Universal Studios Hollywood continues to face ongoing trade restrictions and uncertainty around its opening deadline,” the park said in a statement. “Universal Orlando Resort will focus exclusively on operating its theme parks for daytime guests, using the improved health and safety procedures that already exist.”

While Orlando-based Universal’s parks were able to reopen in June, California has not lifted its closing order for amusement parks. It is unclear when Universal Studios Hollywood will be allowed to resume operations and what restrictions may be imposed on the business.

Spooky theme events like Halloween Horror Nights have become incredibly popular with guests in the US and abroad, often complementing the bottom line for theme park operators like Universal, Disney, and Six Flags.

Halloween Horror Nights features haunted themed houses, scary zones, and live entertainment throughout the fall. The event takes place in the late afternoon and evening after the park’s traditional operations have ceased.

Universal saw record results from its Halloween Horror Nights events in 2018. Comcast’s theme park division revenue increased 3.5% to $ 1.5 billion during the fourth quarter of that year.

Most parks start their Halloween-themed events in early September. However, as interest in these time-limited mazes, haunted houses, and experiences grows, parks open them earlier and later.

The cancellation of Halloween Horror Nights is yet another blow to Universal’s theme park business, which has already been forced to limit attendance to maintain new safety standards during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Disclosures: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.