Thrills & Chills Live On at Busch Gardens Tampa’s Howl-O-Scream

Who says Halloween is dead? The thrills and chills you know and love live on at Busch Gardens Tampa’s annual Howl-O-Scream event. Of course, things look a little different this year to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.

Welcome to Howl-O-Scream 2020
Busch Gardens Tampa Howl-O-Scream 2020

The scream fest is happening every weekend now through November 1. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. each night, though you can get into the park as early as 5 p.m. to enjoy the rides, drinks and food until it gets dark.

All guests are required to wear masks to attend the event, and you’ll get your temperature checked before you enter the park. All of the park employees and even the scareactors will be wearing masks as well. They did an awesome job making the masks blend into their costumes so you can’t even tell they’re wearing them. Some of them were really creepy!

Open-air scare zones will cover Busch Gardens for physically distant frights at Howl-O-Scream 2020.

Once the sun sets, get ready for a night of suspense, scares and scenes from your nightmares. This year, they have 10 open-air scare zones including six returning fan-favorites — Dia de los Muertos, Hell on Wheels, Deadly Toys, Maniac Midway, Little Nightmares, First Fear — plus four all-new scare zones: Lycan Landing, The Shortcut, The Escape and The Junkyard. These are all scattered throughout the park so you can expect to be surprised around almost every corner. A few of these are also one-way scare zones so you’ll need to stand in line to see them. Park employees will be at the entrance to these scare zones so they can space out the groups as they head in. The lines go pretty quickly so don’t let a long line stop you from checking these out. They’re packed with scare actors, creepy set pieces and special effects just like full-blown haunted houses with no roofs.

NEW Scare Zone for 2020: The Junkyard
NEW Scare Zone for 2020: The Junkyard

In addition to the scare zones, you can scream your face off on several of Busch Gardens’ awesome roller coasters. Riding these at night takes thrill rides to a whole new level. The fan-favorite “Fiends” show is back again this year. It’s a fun live show that’s on twice a night at 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. The show goes on in an outdoor amphitheater with plenty of socially distant seating.

Bier Fest is also going on during Howl-O-Scream this year so you can sample some delicious brews and grab a bite from a variety of stands set up in a special area. There’s a lot of variety here so you’re sure to find a beer you’ll enjoy.

Bier Fest set-up at Howl-O-Scream 2020
Bier-Fest at Howl-O-Scream 2020
Bier Fest menu at Howl-O-Scream 2020

Check out this video with more details on this year’s event from Howl-O-Scream Show Manager John Prast:

A few things to keep in mind this year:

  • Reservations are required as there is limited capacity for each night of the event.
  • Masks are required to attend the event.
  • Social distancing is enforced throughout the park and in line for rides, scare zones and food/drinks.

Get your tickets for Howl-O-Scream here.

Born and raised in Miami, FL. Now living in Orlando where I can enjoy the parks whenever I want! Animal lover, foodie and pop culture enthusiast. Have any restaurant recommendations? Send them my way!

About Author

Vanessa De La Vina

Born and raised in Miami, FL. Now living in Orlando where I can enjoy the parks whenever I want! Animal lover, foodie and pop culture enthusiast. Have any restaurant recommendations? Send them my way!