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Theme parks are closed around the world with no real expectation as to when they will reopen. While the general feeling seems to be that things might start to reopen sooner rather than later, we don't actually know for sure, and so even events as far away as October have to be looked at with a pretty big question mark. Halloween Horror Nights is the biggest annual event for Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando, and even if the parks are open for business by Halloween, there's no guarantee the event will still take place. However, as of now, it appears that Universal is moving forward still expecting for HHN to take place, though not without some changes.
Considering the planning and effort that goes into Halloween Horror Nights, it's certainly within reason that the event could be cancelled this year even if the parks are open for business in October. If the prep work necessary to plan and construct the popular themed haunted houses can't be done because of the shut down, it could delay the entire event. However, Orlando Weekly is reporting that Universal still expects to be able to hold the event as planned.
That doesn't mean that the version of Halloween Horror Nights we get is going to look like the ones we've seen in recent years. With social distancing protocols likely still recommended even after things are back in business, an event that usually brings in massive crowds and often includes claustrophobic elements and up close scares might need to be rethought so as to keep a safe distance between people.
In recent years we've seen houses themed on all sorts of film and television properties, not all of them from Universal. With Disney now owning Fox, and Warner Bros. set to do their own similar event, the number of popular franchises that are available for Universal have shrunk. As such, the expectation is to see more Universal properties and original concepts this year.
For both health and business reasons, Halloween Horror Nights could look different than what we expect. Of course the other big open question is how popular it will actually be. A lot of people could potentially stay away simply in order to avoid the crowds or because personal financial situations have changed. The damage of the outbreak to theme parks is expected to last much longer than the closure period. And the economic impact to the parks could then have ripple effects that could slow the development of new attractions for the long term.