Howl-O-Scream returns to Busch Gardens as fall officially kicks off

Virginia News

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Now that fall is officially here, you can drink your pumpkin spice lattes without the disapproving stares from summer lovers. But more importantly for scare-fans, Halloween events are getting started.

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg has already kicked off its popular Howl-O-Scream event. Usually, Busch Gardens is considered one of America’s most beautiful theme parks, but once the sun goes down this time of year, things change a bit.

Scare actors patrol the streets and the lines start backing up at the five haunted houses and mazes. The event was canceled last year due to the pandemic, but people seem ready for the scares this year.

Matthew Edwards is the park’s entertainment manager. He says Busch Gardens is very happy to bring back the event.

“This is a fun place,” said Edwards. “It’s a great place to come do scares that are controlled. You come here knowing that you are going to be scared, but it’s in good fun. You’re expecting it.”

While the park is family-friendly during the day, the scares that begin at 6 p.m. are probably too intense for children. Edwards says the park has dialed up the frights this year.  

Howl-o-Scream features five haunted houses, four shows, and the usual Busch Gardens rides. (Photo courtesy of Thom Brewer)

“They should expect some pretty extreme scares. We’ve really started to push the envelope back into some of the more intense Halloweenness if you will. It’s very exciting, but people should be ready. They’re not prepared for what we have in store for them,” said Edwards.

While the scares are ramped up, the park says it is doing its best to protect the crowd from COVID-19.

“We do follow the CDC recommended guidelines in terms of keeping our guests and employees safe. We also have masks in all the indoor facilities,” Edwards said. “So, we are looking to make sure that we are having a good scare like we are used to in the right appropriate safe way.”

Howl-O-Scream runs at Busch Gardens Williamsburg on weekends until Oct. 31 and select weekdays as well.

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