This Halloween Hot Dog Might Be The Last Thing You Ever Eat

In The Last of Us, cordyceps destroyed humanity. At Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, they're on the menu.

I had just chased Ellie and Joel through the streets of postapocalyptic Pittsburgh. There were broken-down cars in the streets, destruction wherever I turned. The world had ended because of an invasive fungus called cordyceps that had adapted to survive in humans, turning them into horrifying mushroom-faced zombies whose only mission is to spread the fungus to more and more hosts. I was among the last of us.

Well, kind of. I was in The Last of Us haunted house at Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, an annual event full of attractions themed to each year's biggest horror releases on both the big and small screen. Within the haunted house, I had barely survived: Once I was off the dangerous streets, I was in the even more dangerous FEDRA facility, before descending into the perilous sewers. There were Clickers and Bloaters all around me, jumping out from every corner. Sometimes there was a mist of what definitely felt like an evil fungus being blown in my face. (Water? Let's hope.) Sometimes there was a blast of absolutely horrible odor, what I can only describe as ripe sewer. And it had all happened because of cordyceps—which was why I was so surprised to find that the park was serving them up for dinner.

Up until now, the cordyceps virus has remained fictional, a warning about what might happen if we don't start taking better care of our planet. This month, however, the Cordyceps Corn Dog is on offer at Universal Studios for $12.99. Is eating this novelty dog a little like tempting fate? Is this how the apocalypse starts, right in the middle of a theme park in Orlando? I had to find out.

The Cordyceps Corn Dog at Halloween Horror Nights, explained

The Cordyceps Corn Dog, only served at Universal's after-hours Halloween Horror Nights event, is a Korean cheese dog (a hot dog and a chunk of mozzarella dipped in corn dog batter and deep fried) topped with truffle cream, potato sticks, daikon sprouts, and actual, real-life, possibly-zombie-making cordyceps mushrooms on top. Imminent zombie infection or no, it sounded well worth it.


Despite the fact that I'm usually not a hot dog person, I placed my order at the FEDRA food kiosk. The dog was indulgent enough to satisfy a non-fan like me: The cheese was gooey and extra stretchy, and the hot dog itself was ensconced in so much sweet-and-savory batter, crunchy potato sticks, and earthy truffle sauce that I barely noticed it was a hot dog at all.

Half the fun of Universal's Halloween Horror Nights is the deliciously horrifying, devilishly creative food the theme park creates just for the event. Each of the 10 haunted houses has a food component to match. This year's Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count haunted house, for example, has a complementary food kiosk serving "Fried 'til the End" spicy fried chicken, a play on how the possessed Good Guys doll is your "friend 'til the end." And near the Stranger Things 4 haunted house you can buy a Hellfire Mini Cake layered with flame-like frosting and topped with a chocolate guitar, an homage to Eddie Munson's Hellfire Club and the iconic Metallica solo he plays before (spoiler alert) he gets killed by demobats in the Upside Down.


If eating cordyceps feels a little too risky, there are a few other The Last of Us–themed foods you can try. "The Infected Tater" is a twist on HHN's famous "twisted tater," a deep-fried spiralized potato with a mushroom emulsion and porcini powder. At another FEDRA ration station, there's "Left Behind Ravioli," aka cheese ravioli with marinara, truffle cream, garlic bread, and tempura-fried enoki mushrooms. For hyperrealism, it's served in a FEDRA can. It all might be a little dark, but hey, it's Halloween Horror Nights. That's what we're here for.