Death Eaters have taken over Universal Hollywood’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter

For the inhabitants of the “wizard world” in Harry Potter novels, a Death Eater is pretty much the last person they’d want to see — that is, except for the dark lord Voldemort himself, the leader of the evil faction trying to gain power over the entire wizarding world.

But at Universal Studios Hollywood this year, Death Eaters are part of Halloween Horror Nights. The terrifying annual event transforms the theme park (and its counterparts in Orlando, Japan and Singapore) into an after-hours hellscape of haunted houses and scare zones filled with chainsaw-wielding monsters trying their best to they give you nightmares. It’s so popular and anticipated that HHN regularly wins awards for the best Halloween theme park event in the country.

Universal Studios opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Hogsmeade in 2010 in Orlando (and another location, Diagon Alley, in 2014) and then opened the Hollywood version of Hogsmeade in 2016. The area is themed around the wizarding town of Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter books, located just outside Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where Harry and his friends attend magical boarding school. The grounds include wizarding shops, the Three Broomsticks restaurant, the Hogwarts Express train and Hogwarts Castle, home to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Normally, the area is a safe haven during Fright Nights, which is a level of scary that can be very intense for visitors. (The event website has a clear warning not to bring children under 13.) But this year, as you approach the entrance to Hogsmeade, you can tell something is different. An eerie green glow illuminates the usually cheerful buildings. The fog billows below. The Dark Mark, a skull insignia worn by Voldemort’s followers as a sign of loyalty, is painted on the Hogwarts tower. And cloaked, malevolent figures emerge from dark corners, brandishing their wands and threatening to hurl unforgivable curses in your direction.

“The Death Eaters are so creepy, especially with the green mist,” said theme park videographer Peter Sciretta. “I wish this happened every night here.” He and Kitra Remick are popular theme park vloggers with Ordinary Adventures, who make YouTube videos about Halloween Horror Nights and other theme park events. (Their full walkthrough of the Harry Potter Fear Zone and other HHN offerings is available here.)

“That is what I wanted [for so] many years,” Remick added to Wizarding World.

At Universal Orlando, Halloween Horror Nights take place at Universal Studios Park, but Dark Arts at Hogwarts — complete with Death Eaters and a nighttime projection screening at the castle — happen at Islands of Adventure.

While the Death Eaters are creepy, the area is still one of the less scary elements of the Halloween event: there are no severed limbs strewn around or scythe demons chasing you like there are in other horror zones and inside haunted houses. But for Harry Potter fans, it’s an exciting new addition that brings to life a different, arguably more sinister, element of the books.

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