An estimated 300,000 people visit Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream each year and that’s Tampa’s park alone. Busch Gardens is owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and each year, both Busch Garden’s locations (Tampa and Williamsburg) modify the entire park to create a thrilling Halloween experience. During the months of September and October, the parks come to life at night welcoming all of those who are brave enough to enter.
If you’re willing to stand up against the scares that await you inside, then you’ll quickly see how different the theme park looks at this time. The scary décor hangs all about and theme park employees hide underneath makeup and frightful costumes. You never know what’s lurking behind each corner, and it’s an experience like no other!
Are you ready to spend a fearsome night at Howl-O-Scream? Before you do, continue reading below. Here’s everything you need to know about this terrifying event before it’s too late!
Expect Ticket Prices to Rise on Weekends and Later Dates
There’s nothing scarier than paying full price for your Howl-O-Scream tickets. If you want to find the best ticket deals, there are a few not-so-scary steps you should take. To help settle some of that high ticket price fear, you should purchase your tickets in advance.
Waiting until the week before or even a few weeks before can cost you. For the cheapest tickets, you’ll want to visit a discount ticket site rather than purchasing from the direct website. Keep in mind that the closer your visit date is to Halloween, the more expensive the ticket will be.
Tickets on weekends are also more expensive than weekday tickets. For this reason, the most inexpensive tickets will be in late September during a weekday. Be sure to check with the specific park you’re visiting as well to ensure the event isn’t already included in the regular Busch Gardens cost for a day ticket.
Prepare to Arrive at the Park Early
If the event is sold separately from the regular day ticket, then you’ll want to check the event hours. Don’t be frightened by long lines that cause you to miss precious event time. Prepare for long lines into the parking lot and into the park entrance.
Long wait times are expected, so to ensure you get to experience this event for its entire duration, arrive early, especially if bringing children along. This gives you time to park and get through the entrance without feeling rushed. Keep in mind that Busch Gardens hours for the event vary depending on the day as well.
Most of the time, weekend dates will have longer hours. Certain Thursdays throughout the month sometimes have longer hours as well. To be sure, always check the hours on the event’s website before purchasing your tickets.
Bring Your Pass and Money For Souvenirs
You arrive at the park and are forced to pay full price for all purchases made inside. Now that’s scary. If you’re already a Busch Gardens pass member, then make sure to bring your membership card with you.
This card can get you discounts on purchases made on food, drinks, and fun event merchandise. Everyone visiting the event that’s over the age of 21 should remember to bring their IDs as well for alcoholic beverages. During the event, Busch Gardens Parks creates some spooky and unique alcoholic beverages that are a must-try!
You can’t get these drinks anywhere else, so be sure to keep your ID and pass membership card handy at all times. You can also find some interesting souvenirs around the park as well, such as light-up headpieces, necklaces, and so much more!
Haunted Houses Aren’t the Only Open Attractions
You’ve mentally prepared yourself to enter some pretty frightfully haunted houses. You’ve done your research and know how many houses there are and which ones you want to head to first. Don’t get too lost in visiting only the haunted houses though.
Busch Gardens Tampa and Busch Garden Williamsburg have so much more to offer during this event other than the houses. For starters, you can get your thrills by riding some of the park’s rides that they keep open during the event. You’ll mostly find rollercoasters open while the less-intimidating rides are closed.
You can also stop and check out some scary, funny, and Halloween-themed shows around the park. When you’re ready to give your feet and your heart a rest, be sure to find a show to sit down and watch. This is also the perfect time to get all your favorite snacks in.
When you enter the park, there should be a Busch Gardens map specifically for Howl-O-Scream where you can find the times and locations of each show. You’ll also find a variety of spooky-inspired treats only available at the park during this event.
The Haunted Houses Change Throughout the Years
If you haven’t already done your research on what houses to expect this year, stop and do so now. The haunted houses change throughout the years, so you never know what to expect until the event announces it. That’s one way to keep you on your toes!
Always wait until the event is announced to then browse through the list of haunted houses. You might see some familiar houses from years past, but you’ll also find several new ones. Read through each description to get a better idea about the story behind each one.
Knowing the story behind the haunted house can make the experience that much scarier and better. Whether it’s a lost soul in the bayou looking for the way out or an angry butcher looking for revenge, the houses won’t disappoint!
Be Aware of Thrilling Scare Zones
Did you think the haunted houses were the only place you’d find some scares? Think again! Once you enter this event, you give up all your rights to a peaceful and relaxing night.
You then enter a world of horror and screams that can greet you around any corner. You’ll spend the entire night watching your back and running at the slightest noise. That’s what makes this event so much fun!
Throughout the park, you’ll find various scare zones. You don’t have to wait in a line to experience the scare zones. Instead, they’re open areas that you quickly walk through with large crowds as you would when walking around the park as normal.
Yet, these scare zones come with a bit more frights than normal walking areas. In the scare zones, you’ll find various scary décor. Each scare zone has its own theme as well. For example, you might find yourself walking through the “Little Nightmares” zone where children’s toys have become possessed!
As you walk through, you’ll see lots of scary children’s toys and you might even be followed by a larger-than-life toy as well.
Wear Comfortable Clothing and Shoes
You’re going to spend several hours waiting in lines and walking around the park. Although time flies when you’re having frights, don’t come in a pair of dress shoes or anything that’s going to leave you with feet full of blisters. You want to wear your most comfortable pair of closed-toe shoes.
These will keep your feet clean and comfy and won’t fall off when you’re riding rides. Plan your outfit for this night as if you were visiting a regular theme park and planned to spend the entire day there. Wear comfortable clothing that’s breathable to prevent sweating.
Don’t forget a light jacket if the weather’s supposed to be cold that night. Feel free to wear a tank top and purchase a Howl-O-Scream shirt to wear over it once in the park as well!
Know What Restrictions Are Put in Place
Now it’s time for the more serious topics. Both Busch Gardens parks have rules and restrictions put in place for all visitors to follow. You need to read through the rules before you visit the park.
The last thing you want to do is be frightened by a park employee denying you access to the park because you failed to follow the rules. In general, costumes, masks, and firearms are prohibited. This is just to ensure everyone’s safety while in the park.
There’s usually no flash photography in houses either, but you can always call and ask about specific rules before leaving for the event.
It’s to Get Ready For Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream
Put on your comfy sneakers and prepare to get scared. It’s time to visit Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream! Use all of these frightfully helpful tips and tricks listed above to ensure you have the best and scariest experience possible.
To learn more about SeaWorld Parks and to find discount tickets, be sure to check here often.