Thriller Nights in Anaheim throws it back to ’80s and ’90s horror

Partygoers at Thriller Nights play touchscreen game-table versions of classic board games.
Partygoers at Thriller Nights at Anaheim’s Gardenwalk play touchscreen game-table versions of classic board games like “Hungry, Hungry Hippo,” “Candyland,” “Operation” and “Guess Who” on Saturday Oct. 21.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

The last time you saw Jason, Freddy and Michael Myers in the same place was probably on the shelf at Blockbuster video around 2001, but Thriller Nights at Anaheim’s Gardenwalk is getting the gang back together for Halloween weekend. The 21-and-over throwback entertainment party destination celebrates classic horror films and the nostalgia of the 1980s and ’90s with live music, themed cocktails, classic board games and classic scary movie monsters.

“This is all throwback so we have everything from the ’80s, ’90s and the 2000s, and we kind of stop there,” said Elijah Reyes, chief executive officer and director of Room 2 Party Events, the company behind Thriller Nights. “I didn’t want anything past 2010 because this a throwback party.”

Oversized photo spots at Thriller Nights at STC Gardenwalk remember horror films.
Oversized photo spots at Thriller Nights at STC Gardenwalk in Anaheim remember classic horror films of the 1980s and ’90s like “Poltergeist” and “Ghostbusters.”
(Sarah Mosqueda)

Reyes is a professional performer who has sung at various theme parks, toured with the Radio City Rockettes Christmas spectacular and booked with Broadway’s “Hamilton” touring company in 2018, performing alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda. Reyes also used his performing arts background to start an entertainment company, providing deejay services, photo booths and character appearances at parties and events. Reyes said Thriller Nights is inspired by his love of the horror films he grew up with.


“My favorite throwback scary movie is ‘Child’s Play,’” said Reyes. “I grew up with that one and it terrified me.”

Located under the House of Blues, just across from Casa De Pancho at Suite 199, Thriller Night opens a light-up bar at 7 p.m. on Friday Oct. 27, Saturday, Oct. 28 and Halloween night on Tuesday, Oct. 31 for a Happy (Horror) Hour with drink specials on themed cocktails like Freddy’s Revenge (a version of whiskey sour) and other drinks like Good Guys Juice and Pennywise Surprise until 8 p.m. Cocktails are served in pouches that evoke the nostalgia of CapriSun juice drinks. No tickets are necessary for bar access, but the real screams are in the Thriller Nights horror-themed main room.

specialty cocktails Freddy's Revenge, Good Guys Juice and Pennywise Surprise
Thriller Nights at Anaheim’s Gardenwalk is a throwback entertainment night celebrating classic horror films of the ’80s and ’90s with specialty cocktails like Freddy’s Revenge, Good Guys Juice and Pennywise Surprise.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

After 8 p.m., ticket holders can enter the main room, for live ’80s and ’90s music from bands like Moonlight Collective and Oh Goodie Band, plus deejay sets from DJ Tommy Fullove. On a recent Saturday night, Oh Goodie Band played hits like “Wake Me Up before you Go-Go” by Wham! and Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” while characters Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers took to the dance floor.

The main room also has photo spots inspired by classic horror movies, like “Poltergeist,” for guests to pose with.

“Our photo locations feature ‘Halloween’ with Michael Myers, ‘Friday the 13th,’ and we have got Chucky” said Reyes, referring to the serial killer doll from his favorite movie.

There are also touchscreen game tables loaded with popular children’s games such as “Hungry, Hungry Hippo,” “Candyland,” “Operation” and “Guess Who.”

“The interactive game tables have these classic board games from the past, which again goes back to the throwback but with an electronic twist to it,” said Reyes.

Oh Goodie Band performs at Thriller Nights at STC Gardenwalk in Anaheim.
Oh Goodie Band performs ’80s and ’90s hits at Thriller Nights at STC Gardenwalk in Anaheim on Saturday, Oct. 21.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

While Reyes has put together many events, Thriller Nights is his largest undertaking, and he wants guests to experience more fun than fright.

“I have thrown many events through the years, and this is by far my biggest party,” said Reyes, “and that is exactly what it is — a party.”

Thriller Nights is open Friday, Saturday and Tuesday (Halloween) at 7 p.m. with tickets for the main room ranging from $25 to $90. On Sunday, Oct. 29, the kid-friendly Thriller Nights Family Edition will be open from 3 to 7 p.m. and again on Tuesday, Oct. 31, from 4 to 7 p.m.. Tickets are $5 for kids and $20 for adults 18 and over. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.