Every year at Universal Studios, Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) is held from Sept. 7 to Oct. 31. Visitors walk through the park from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. walking through the eight mazes and two shows based on various films, television, and media. One of the mazes being introduced this year is the “Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America” maze, in time with National Hispanic American Heritage Month.
The maze is based on multiple folktales of Latin American culture- the Tlahuelpuchi, La Lechuza, El Silbón, and Muerte. Sean K., a park guest who has been attending HHN since 2011, mentioned that although he knows little of Latin American culture, he is now interested in learning more about the folktales presented in the maze.
Muerte, meaning death in Spanish, is seen gravedigging and commenting while park visitors line up and traverse through the maze. The haunted house has both actors dressing up as monsters and large animatronics. Guests walk through a house where Tlahuelpuchi, La Lechuza, and El Silbón jump out to scare them in a number of ways.
La Lechuza animatronic inside the maze
In the Day of the Dead courtyard outside of the maze, there are restaurants where other popular folktale characters, La Llorona and La Catrina, walk around interacting with guests .
Nadia D and her boyfriend, Anthony Johnson, have attended every year since 2016 and were both very impressed with how Universal Studios represented Latin American culture. “I feel like I’m back in Mexico,” she stated. “It takes me back [to childhood].” “The maze tells about our culture’s folktales,” she stated. “Stuff you grew up knowing they’re not true but everyone hears the stories.” As she spoke, an actor outside the haunted house appeared to scare her with a grito, a yell that originated from a Mexican battle cry. “Everything, down to the noises. They did an amazing job.” Johnson stated that he attended Monsterpalooza, a horror-film-themed convention in June and was able to see the blueprints for the maze. “I wanted water effects or lightning effects,”
Herbert M., a security guard with Mexican-Salvadoran heritage, stated “They did a good job of their own depiction, but it’s not as intense as folktales,” Herbert stated. “It’s more family-friendly horror… I think this park has become something more of a spectacle rather than an amusement park.”
“I honestly didn’t even consider that, [Universal Studios] specifically targeting that kind of culture since I’ve heard these stories growing up,” Herbert M. stated. “Most mazes are big-time horror movies, so it was nice for Universal Studios to look out for us [Latinos].”