Busch Gardens adds escape room, swing band for Halloween

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This week marks the start of the annual Howl-O-Scream festival at Busch Gardens, a Halloween-themed event that runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night through Oct. 30. (Courtesy SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment)
This week marks the start of the annual Howl-O-Scream festival at Busch Gardens, a Halloween-themed event that runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night through Oct. 30. (Courtesy SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment)

Starting Friday Busch Gardens will become a lot spookier.

This week marks the start of the park’s annual Howl-O-Scream festival, a Halloween-themed event that runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night through Oct. 30.

According to a press release from the park, this year’s festival will feature many fan favorites as well as some new additions, including No Escape, an escape room experience, and the Starfright Orchestra, a 12-piece swing band that makes its return to the park after an eight-year hiatus.

The band will take the stage at Italy’s il Teatro Di San Marco five times every Saturday throughout Howl-O-Scream. The show will feature familiar hits like “I Put a Spell on You” and “Monster Mash,” the release stated.

The escape room experience, No Escape, will be held at the Wilkommenhaus in Germany and will be available only by reservation. Each session will be limited to six players per 30-minute time block, which is the maximum length for a session. Groups of less than six may be paired with other players. All participants must be 16 years or older, the release stated.

According to the release, the park will also debut a new haunted house, Circo Sinistro, and a new “terror-tory” called Sideshow Square, which will be “crawling with creepy circus wannabes.”

Busch Gardens opens at 10 a.m. and Howl-O-Scream will begin at 6 p.m. nightly during weekends through October. The park cautions guests to consider the park’s elevated scare factor when deciding whether Howl-O-Scream is appropriate for young children.