Saturday, December 2, 2023

Photos: Howl-O-Scream Boasts Record-Breaking Seven Haunted Houses

Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Howl-o-Scream theme for 2015 is "Unearthed," in keeping with the backstory of one of the new haunted houses. (Elizabeth Hornsby/WYDaily)
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Howl-O-Scream is back and bigger than ever this fall, with a record-breaking seven haunted houses – the most the event has ever included.

From Sept. 25 through Nov. 1, the park will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and offering up frightful fun.

Though during the day the park will be similar to the family-friendly experience guests can enjoy throughout the summer, at 6 p.m. ghosts and ghouls come out to play and parents are encouraged to use discretion when considering whether to bring children into the park.

“Unearthed – Scarlett’s Revenge,” one of three new houses this year, is the event’s headlining attraction and being billed as one of the most terrifying experiences Howl-O-Scream has ever had to offer.

Robin Cowie, producer of The Blair Witch Project, designed “Unearthed,” which is located in the building that houses the “Europe in the Air” flight simulation ride for the majority of the season.

The mythology behind the new house involves a demon-witch, Scarlett, whose home was uncovered by an excavation crew after being buried underground for centuries.

“I jumped at the chance to work on this project,” said Cowie, who has been in talks with Busch Gardens about the possibility of creating a house for more than a year. “With Howl-O-Scream, we’re dealing with a crazy convergence of 360-degree storytelling, merging physical experiences and technologies to create a sort of hyper-virtual reality.”

Two other new houses, “Cornered” and “Lumberhack,” join the lineup this year. The former is styled after a corn maze, while the latter is inspired by an abandoned logging camp where a horrific accident took place, according to Busch Gardens’ promotional materials.

The three new houses join four returning favorites, “Deadline”, “Catacombs”, “Bitten and “Cutthroat Cove.”

Guests who are not quite brave enough to enter a haunted house but still want to enjoy some Halloween spirit can stick to the main paths of the park, along which five “Terror-tories” are situated.

These immersive overlays to the park’s existing hamlets are intricately themed with scare actors, extensive decorations and specialized food and beverage options.

For visitors looking for a more relaxing Howl-O-Scream experience, this year’s event features three shows, including the return of last year’s fan-favorite “Monster Stomp” revival, “Monster Stomp on Ripper Row.” “Night Beats” and “Fiends” will also be returning.

Busch Gardens is also offering a ticketed dinner theater buffet, “Blood Banquet.” Guests can partake in all-you-care-to-eat mustard-glazed pork loin, hand-carved turkey, roast beef, chicken Parmesan, bratwurst and knockwurst, pasta and a variety of sides and desserts while enjoying an interactive performance about a hotel run by the undead.

All of the park’s rides, including this year’s newest coaster addition Tempesto, will remain running for the duration of the event, providing visitors with a reprieve from the Halloween festivities – or perhaps just a different type of thrill.

Single-day tickets to Busch Gardens are $77, but locals can purchase a Fall Fun Card for the same price and enjoy unlimited visits for the entirety of Howl-o-Scream. Season pass holders get into Howl-o-Scream free.

For more ticket information and a complete list of park hours, click here.

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