COVID-19 forced the cancellation of Halloween Horror Nights this year, but fans will be able to get a small taste of the event during regular park hours this weekend. 

Universal has announced what it’s calling “Halloween Seasonal Experience Testing” for Sept. 19 and 20. Two haunted houses that were supposed to be a part of HHN 30 before it was cancelled will be available — Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives and Revenge of the Tooth Fairy — to day guests at Universal Studios Florida.

Premier-level annual passholders for Universal will get the first chance to see the houses by registering for a special preview being held on Friday, Sept. 18. 

“These haunted houses will scare the daylights out of you all weekend long, with frights brought to life through twisted artistry,” Universal said on its website. 

Universal will be offering its Virtual Line reservation system for both houses, which carry the same warning as HHN itself in that they may be too intense for children under the age of 13. 

Speculation has grown about Universal holding a small HHN event, as construction of houses had continued even while the parks were shut down by the COVID-19. Rumors were being discussed in fan forums as early as one week ago. 

According to sources at Universal that spoke to Theme Park Tribune upon condition of anonymity, the decision to cancel the event came on short notice after a visit by Orange County officials raised concerns about physical distancing within HHN houses. 

Universal raised fans’ hopes last week by the appearance of two steel structures in Universal Studios Florida that are traditionally used to display wait times for houses during HHN. 

This is not the first time Universal has opened HHN houses to day guests at the park. In November 2018, the popular “Stranger Things” house was opened during daylight hours — for just one day —  after HHN had wrapped for the season. 

Islands of Adventure won’t be entirely left out of the Halloween fun. Universal announced that this weekend, guests 12 and under can get a free trick-or-treat bag and grab candy at select stores around the park.

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