After screaming your lungs out and dodging monsters in haunted houses, you need to refuel. Luckily, the 2023 Halloween Horror Nights food and drink menus provide some scary good treats to do just that. Foodies will find a range of on-theme dishes and cocktails at both Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights events, but not everything bloodstained and spooky is delicious. Sometimes, a treat’s Insta-worthiness means it’s sacrificing on taste. To help you decide on what to order, we’ve ranked Halloween Horrors Nights food and drink for 2023.
This year’s HHN menu takes a lot of inspiration from the haunted houses, like a Stranger Things Mind Flayer cocktail and a fungus-covered The Last of Us corndog. However, some houses should be left alone, especially if they lead to hot dogs with bubblegum mustard and Kool-Aid pickles. Brave foodies may be into that, but for anyone who likes to play it safe, you can also try one of Halloween Horror Nights’ go-to dishes that’s made a return this year. Like Chucky coming back for yet another film, the viral pizza fries have made a comeback at HHN. These pizza-topped french fries are a dish that keeps some fans coming back year after year.
So, after you’ve nearly avoided the Universal Monsters and survived The Exorcist: Believer, stop by one of the booths at Halloween Horror Nights to pick up some of these treats and sips.
Dr. Oddfellow’s Carn “Evil” Dog
Where: Oddfellow at Universal Orlando
Dr. Oddfellow’s Carn “Evil” Dog has to be one of the most talked about menu items at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights . This red hot dog in a confetti bun has Kool-Aid pickles, bubblegum mustard, and potato sticks on top — and it’s a confusing combo. This unique offering is more ‘Gram-worthy than tasty, and is proof that just because you can, it doesn’t always mean you should. You might want to save your time and money by skipping this one.
Yuri’s Peanut Butter Jar
Where: Gramercy Park at Surfer Boy Pizza at Universal Orlando
I’m a big fan of Stranger Things; I’m a big fan of peanut butter — but, apparently, I’m not a fan of the combination of the two. Inspired by the peanut butter smuggler, who you may remember for all his crates of Jif in Season 4, Yuri’s Peanut Butter Jar is supposed to be a sweet treat comprised of chocolate cake, peanut butter mousse, and Reese’s Pieces. As delicious as it sounds, it was overpowered by the mousse; I could barely find the cake. Like… how much sweet, whipped peanut butter can a person really eat?
Little Stevie’s Stuffed Pretzel Spinach
Where: Peacock’s Halloween Horror Bar at Universal Orlando
New to this year’s Halloween Horror Nights is Peacock’s Halloween Horror Bar at both Orlando and Hollywood. I found both bars to be lackluster with not much going on, other than them being bars themed to the streaming service. There was a David S. Pumpkins lookalike running around, but unless you’re a super fan of the Tom Hanks Saturday Night Live sketch, it was more confusing than exciting. I also found the menu to be just meh with some cocktails themed to Chucky and The Purge, and at the Orlando bar, they had two stuffed pretzels.
As someone who has to get a soft pretzel whenever I see it on the menu, I ordered the jalapeño pretzel only to be given the spinach one instead. It was a dark bar, so I didn’t even realize I was given the wrong order until I bit into it. And the spinach pretzel with feta cheese was just OK. Nothing special at all, but I guess it would make a fine companion snack to one of their strong cocktails they’re serving this year.
Where: Last of Us at Universal Orlando and Mummy Eats at Universal Studios Hollywood
Inspired by The Last of Us, both Halloween Horror Nights in Florida and California have this Cordyceps Corndog. Since the zombies in the video game and HBO series are transformed through cordyceps, this Korean-style cheese dog is topped with that fungus along with crispy potato sticks, truffle cream sauce, and daikon sprouts. While this isn’t the best Korean cheese dog I’ve ever had in my life, it was satisfying. I just wish it had more of the truffle cream sauce on top to give it more flavor. If you’re in the mood for something fried, this is a good choice, but don’t wait if there’s a long line for this snack. You’ve got haunted houses to see.
Where: Stellar Bar at Universal Studios Hollywood
If you’ve got a sweet tooth or are a fan Eddie from Stranger Things Season 4, you’ll want to try this Hellfire Pop inspired by the Dungeons and Dragons club that Mike, Dustin, and Lucas are all members of. This is basically like a Push Pop, but with chocolate cake inside with layers of yellow frosting in between. There is also a surprise chocolate guitar, and the top shimmers with an edible glitter frosting that looks like flames. This treat is not only Insta-worthy, but it’s also nostalgic and reminded me of eating push-up ice cream in the summer. The only downside to this treat is that it has entire layers of just frosting, which can be too much if you’re not a fan of overly sweet treats.
Peanut Butter Smuggler
Where: Stellar Bar at Universal Orlando
Hollywood has more Insta-worthy Stranger Things cocktails, but don’t skip out on Universal Orlando’s Stellar Bar. For something nostalgic and surprising, order the Peanut Butter Smuggler. I don’t know how a cocktail can taste exactly like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but this one does. It’s all thanks to the New Amsterdam vodka, hot honey, lime juice, and raspberry and peanut butter syrups. Just a heads up, this drink is strong.
Left Behind Ravioli
Where: The Last of Us Ration Station at Universal Orlando
This was the one food I kept coming back to, and not just because I’m a fan of The Last of Us. It’s a traditional cheese ravioli doused in marinara sauce, finished off with a delicious truffle cream that doesn’t go too heavy on the truffle. The garnish is made up of tempura-fried mushrooms and pea shoots that didn’t do much for the flavor, but made for a great visual with their cordyceps-like shape. If you’re familiar with the game or the Max show, then you’ll know why there was such an emphasis on the fungus (which I tried not to think much about for fear of losing my appetite).The savory treat also comes in a FEDRA ration can that you could take home as a souvenir. (For $10 each ration, it pays for itself.)
Where: Stellar Bar at Universal Studios Hollywood
The ‘80s-themed Stellar Bar is where The Weeknd’s bar was last year, and it serves some Stranger Things-inspired cocktails. All these drinks are tasty, but if you want something with an extra bit of flair, you have to order the Mind Flayer. This bubbly drink made with gin, blue curacao, strawberry, citrus, and sprite has red licorice on top that looks like the Mind Flayer from Season 2. I found this cocktail to be refreshing, not too strong, and super Insta-worthy without sacrificing taste.
Where: Last of Us and Twisted Tater at Universal Orlando
An HHN fave are the Twisted Taters, which are fried potatoes swirled on a stick and topped with different seasonings. If you’re a fan of anything potato, these are a must. This year, for The Last of Us, Halloween Horror Nights has an Infected Tater that is topped with a mushroom emulsion and porcini powder to give it a slight cordyceps flavor. You can also get a Twisted Tater Blood n’ Guts with chili and roasted red pepper queso. Of course, there’s the option of the traditional flavors as well — Seasoned Salt, Garlic Parmesan, Sour Cream & Chive, Porcini Powder, and Ghost Pepper.
Where: KidZone Pizza at Universal Orlando and Stellar Bar at Universal Studios Hollywood
There’s a reason the pizza fries at Halloween Horror Nights keep coming back each year. They combine two of your favorite snacks in one, and you can’t really go wrong with fries topped with marinara, mozzarella, pepperoni, and sausage. They’re a great fuel for a long night of drinking, haunted houses, and scare zones.
In Hollywood, the pizza fries can be found at the Stranger Things Stellar Bar along with Truffle Fries and a Demogorgon Pizza on the menu. Anyone in Orlando will find the pizza fries at KidZone Pizza along with a vegan option and a dessert Sweet Potato S’mores Fries.
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