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Busch Gardens had to post a correction Friday of a Facebook post it had shared Thursday encouraging visitors to wear costumes to the park Friday evening to increase their chances of being filmed for a Travel Channel program, as the park does not allow visitors to wear costumes.
On Thursday, the park’s Facebook page read: “Fans, the Travel Channel is going to be filming at our park tomorrow for a Halloween shoot. Wear your Halloween costumes (no masks) for a chance to be on TV.” Several commenters noted that the park’s policy says costumes are not allowed for people over age 12.
The park posted an update Friday that read: “No costumes are allowed at Busch Gardens. Our post on Facebook yesterday suggesting that guests should wear costumes, including costume clothing, face paint, masks or other themed attire, at Busch Gardens tonight is inaccurate and should be disregarded.
“We made a mistake. The park has a long-standing policy that prohibits the wearing of costumes at any time during the year. We apologize for any inconvenience this posting may have caused. Please be aware that any guest wearing a costume to the park will be turned away at the front gate.”
Almost 300 fans responded to Friday’s retraction, some supportive and some angry at the park for the mistake.
Some fans said they understood that having adults in costumes could be a safety risk and make it hard to differentiate between guests and employees. They also said making mistakes is understandable. Other fans were angry that the park would suggest the idea and then turn away guests who followed the direction.
Park spokesman Kevin Crossett said, “It was… a mistake, plain and simple. There was a miscommunication that led to the post inadvertently being distributed via the park’s social media channels. Corrective action began as soon as it was brought to the attention of the park’s leadership.”
Busch Garden’s policy is that costumes are not allowed, Crossett said. “As you can imagine, a guest’s interpretation of a costume can vary widely so the prohibition is at the park’s discretion.”
When asked why sometimes adult guests wearing costumes can be seen in the park, Crossett said that “in the majority of cases we see, the guest has covertly donned a costume after entering the park. Our security officers address these issues on a case-by-case basis.”
Busch Gardens is open on weekends, from Friday through Sunday, through Oct. 28. Howl-O-Scream events, including people in frightening costumes, begin in the evening hours. Visit the park’s website for more details.