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Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream Halloween Celebrations 2020

Blood Asylum House [© CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Ricky Brigante, https://www.flickr.com/photos/insidethemagic]
Blood Asylum House [© CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Ricky Brigante, https://www.flickr.com/photos/insidethemagic]

At Busch Gardens in 2020, they are celebrating Howl-O-Scream for 18 select nights (4 less than last year) on:

  • September 25, 26, 27
  • October 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31
  • November 1

Now in its twenty first year, the theme for 2020 is “The Fear Is In Your Eyes”. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic is has been necessary to make some changes but Busch Gardens has managed to come up with a scheme that will allow the event to continue whilst conforming to the necessary social distancing protocols.

Busch Gardens has confirmed that the event will take place with limited capacity and plenty of open air spaces to allow them to operate their the scare zones but there will not be any walk-through houses this year.

For 2020 it runs for six consecutive long weekends from September 25 to November 1 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. In previous years it typically ran on Fridays and Saturdays for the first couple of weeks and then from Thursdays to Sundays.


In previous years the first weekend was billed as a Freaky Preview but for 2020 there is no Freaky Preview and the only ticket option is for a one event ticket with prices ranging from $29.99 to $44.99 depending upon date.

Like Universal, some children may find some of the attractions too intense and no costumes are allowed. In fact they are recommending that guests should be at least 17 to enter one house; namely Simon’s Slaughterhouse.

Howl-O-Scream dates for 2020

Busch Gardens Halloween Howl-O-Scream calendar for 2020

This is a separately ticketed event and the park opens at 7:00 p.m. and closes as 12:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 11:00 pm. a.m. on Sundays. This also gives you a chance to ride the roller coasters like Tigris and Cheetah Hunt in the dark.

Though the event does not start until 7:00 p.m. Howl-O-Scream ticket holders can enter after 5 p.m.

Some of Busch Gardens other attractions remain open during Howl-O-Scream including:

  • Falcon’s Fury
  • Sheikra
  • Cheetah Hunt
  • Kumba
  • Montu
  • Cobra’s Curse
  • Tigris

You may even find you are joined on one of the rides by one of the scareactors!

Dr. Freakensteins’s Fiends Show

Reintroduced in 2014 is the show called Fiends featuring Dr. Freakenstein and his naughty nurses which in prior years was performed at the Stanleyville Theater.

For 2020 it becomes an outdoor show at the Festival Field Stage.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay gradually releases information about their Howl-O-Scream event over a period of several months, usually starting in June. Therefore some of the information on the rest of this page still relates to the 2019 event

Howl-O-Scream Houses and Scare Zones

There will not be any walk-through houses at Howl-o-Scream this year but Busch Gardens are still planning a number of open air scare zones.

As you walk around Howl-O-Scream, do not be surprised to be chased by roaming hordes of scare actors.

Howl-O-Scream Food & Drink

As well as roaming “shot girls and guys”, there are a number of full-service liquor bars and beer tents throughout the park serving a range of alcoholic beverages including special signature potions like “Karver’s Creation” and “Evil Encore”.

As well as a food truck you can also enjoy an all-you-care to eat dinner buffet at the “Fright Feast” at the Dragon Fire Grill starting at 6:00 p.m. Prices start at $29.99 (plus tax) and include half an hour of early access to the haunted houses and front-of-line privileges until 8:30 p.m. To include a beverage package, tickets start at $49.99 (plus tax).

Howl-O-Scream Front Line Fear

There are three “Front Line Fear” passes that give you front-of-line access to six houses plus discounts in the gift shop and photos.

The Extreme Front of Line Fear Pass also gives you front-of-line access to the thrill rides and if you you are planning on visiting Howl-O-Scream in multiple nights you can buy an All Howl-O-Scream Front Line Fear Upgrade for all 22 nights.

Howl-O-Scream 2019 Ticket Prices

Single day ticket prices start from $39.99 but there are often some special promotional ticket prices if you book well in advance (this offer has now closed for 2019). All prices are plus tax.

If you are with a group of friends, Busch Gardens has in the past offered a group 4-Pack ticket where you can buy four or more tickets at a reduced price. Larger groups of 15 or more can also get discounts.

When one day is not enough, then there is a Thrills & Chills Weekend ticket. This is excellent value as it gives you one weekend (four consecutive days, Thursday through Sunday) of unlimited daytime admission plus Howl-O-Scream event admission over that same period when open (two or three days depending upon dates).

Passport Members can get special discounts.

Howl-O-Scream Single Night Any Night Ticket Adult
Standard single evening admission to Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream on any night.
Not available on the night at the gate after 6 p.m.
from $39.99 to $44.99
plus tax

from 7:30pm but can enter after 5pm. offer until 11/8

Howl-O-Scream Group Unlimited Admission Ticket
Unlimited admissions to all 22 nights of Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream. Not available at the gate.
Offer ends August 12, 2019.
$79.99
plus tax
Single Night Ticket For Groups Of 15 Or More Adult
Single after 5 pm admission to Howl-O-Scream for groups of 15 or more. All tickets must be used as part of a group admission on the same night.
Available on selected nights only between September 20 to November 2, 2019
From $34.99
plus tax
Wild & Wicked Weekend Ticket Adult
Enjoy weekend evenings at the Howl-O-Scream event plus daytime admission to Busch Gardens from Thursday through Sunday of the same weekend. Howl-O-Scream is not open on September 19, 22, 26, 29 and October 3.
Available on select weekends only between September 20 to November 2, 2019.
$109.99
plus tax
Fright Feast Meal Deal Adult
All-you-care to eat dinner buffet at the Fright Feast Buffet and early front-of-line access to all the houses until 8:30 p.m.
Assorted alcoholic beverage available to purchase.
$29.99
plus tax
Fright Feast & Beverage Package Adult
All-you-care to eat dinner buffet at the Fright Feast Buffet, 3 complimentary beverages and early front-of-line access to all the houses until 8:30 p.m.
Assorted alcoholic beverage available to purchase.
$49.99
plus tax
Howl-O-Scream Front Line Fear Pass Adult
Get front-of-line access to 6 of the houses.
From $35.00 to $80.00
plus tax
Front Line Fear Extreme Pass Adult
Get front-of-line access to 6 of the houses plus one-time use on 7 major rides..
From $45.00 to $90.00
plus tax
All Howl-O-Scream Front Line Fear Upgrade Adult
Front of line access to major attractions, all haunted houses and thrill rides (once per house per night) for all 22 nights of Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream.
$149.99
plus tax

Unless stated otherwise all upgrades also require a standard Howl-O-Scream admission ticket.

VIP Guided Tour Adult
Three hour VIP Guided Tour (see details below).
Includes standard Howl-O-Scream admission ticket.
From $99.00 to $149.00
plus tax
Ultimate VIP Tour Adult
Seven hour Ultimate VIP Tour (see details below). Minimum of two guests.
Includes standard Howl-O-Scream admission ticket.
From $229.00 to $329.00
plus tax

Howl-O-Scream VIP Guided Tours

For the ultimate experience, Busch Gardens offers a choice of VIP guided tours:

  • VIP Guided Tour — includes the Howl-O-Scream admission ticket with a three hour exclusive group tour with a Howl-O-Scream Insider guide, front-of-line access to select houses, private complimentary beverage stations with beer, soda and water and complimentary photo
  • Ultimate VIP Guided Tour — all the benefits of the VIP package with a seven hour exclusive personalised group tour, Fright Feast meal package, unlimited front-of-line access to select houses and thrill rides, reserved seating at the Fiends show and complimentary preferred parking

Both VIP Tours include admission tickets to the Howl-O-Scream event.

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream History

For 2019, Busch Gardens had six houses in total.

Some of the houses had been seen before and one was brand new:

  • NEW The Residence — discover the domestic demons in the Clark families suburban home
  • Death Water Bayou: Wrath of the Queen — navigate the swamp and escape the clutches of the Voodoo Queen of the Shadows (a long time favourite)
  • Insomnia: Patients’ Revenge — enter a haunted asylum where tormented patients seek revenge on the demented doctors
  • Motel Hell: Infestation — first introduced in 2016, visit the deserted Motel Shellburn and come face-to-face with an evil exterminator
  • The Black Spot: Bloodshed — encounter the infamous pirate Captain Saw-Tooth Silas on his pirate ship (first shown in 2017)
  • Simon’s Slaughterhouse — new in 2018, an extra intense experience featuring cannibalistic creatures, suggested only for guests aged 17 or older

In 2018, Howl-O-Scream reverted to six houses including two new ones:

  • NEW Simon’s Slaughterhouse — an extra intense experience featuring cannibalistic creatures, suggested only for guests aged 17 or older
  • NEW Insomnia — enter a haunted asylum with demented doctors
  • The Black Spot — encounter an infamous pirate (first shown in 2017)
  • Death Water Bayou — escape the clutches of the Voodoo Queen (a long time favourite)
  • Unearthed — from the producers of “The Blair Witch Project: Unearthed”, escape from a demon in an unearthed house
  • Motel Hell — first introduced in 2016, visit a deserted motel and come face-to-face with a paranormal presence

For 2017, there were seven houses:

  • Motel Hell — first introduced in 2016, visit a deserted motel and come face-to-face with a paranormal presence
  • Death Water Bayou — escape the clutches of the Voodoo Queen
  • Unearthed — from the producers of “The Blair Witch Project: Unearthed”, escape from a demon in an unearthed house
  • Zombie Containment Unit 15 — returning from 2015, hold off the undead in this interactive zombie hunt
  • NEW Demented Dimensions — the abandoned Sterling House offers portals into different universes and escape is virtually impossible
  • NEW Undead Arena: Live — run the gauntlet in this gruesome event starring you, The Unworthy
  • NEW The Black Spot — encounter an infamous pirate

In 2016, the theme was called “Evil Encore” and featured seven houses:

  • Circus of Superstition: The Last Laugh — a 3D adventure where you will need more than luck to escape
  • Unearthed — from the producers of “The Blair Witch Project: Unearthed”
  • Death Water Bayou — escape the clutches of the Voodoo Queen
  • Zombie Mortuary — zombies have taken over the funeral home
  • The Black Spot — new for 2016, confront an infamous pirate
  • Motel Hell — new for 2016, visit a deserted motel
  • Zombie Containment Unit 15 — an interactive attraction where you have to hold back a zombie hoard

In 2015, Howl-O-Scream was themed on ”Unearthed" which revolved around a woman called Scarlett and a 200 year old house found inside Busch Gardens Tampa and featured seven houses:

  • Circus of Superstition: The Last Laugh – you will need more than luck to escape
  • The Basement – the Butcher is looking to turn you into the latest sauce for their award winning recipe
  • Zombie Mortuary – zombies have taken over the funeral home
  • Death Water Bayou – escape the clutches of the Voodoo Queen
  • Zombie Containment Unit 15: Moving Targets – interactive zombie hunt
  • Unearthed Scarlett’s Revenge – from the producers of “The Blair Witch Project: Unearthed”
  • Dead Fall: Thirst for Blood – watch out for ghosts lurking in a Victorian garden and greenhouse

For 2014, Busch Gardens used social media to allow guests to help define elements of the attractions.

In 2013 the theme was “When Evil Comes Out To Play” and they gradually introduced 13 scary characters that you would find in the Haunted Houses or the Scare Zones. Also new for 2013 was a separately ticketed add-on called the Experiment.

Halloween Characters, Haunted Houses and Scare Zones

The characters for 2013 were:

  1. The Possessed
  2. The Torturer
  3. The Hunter
  4. The Butcher
  5. The Banshee
  6. The Voodoo Queen
  7. The Surgeon
  8. The Demon
  9. The Zombie
  10. The Cannibal
  11. The Psychopath
  12. The Hangman
  13. The Clown

There were seven Haunted Houses:

  • Death Water Bayou
  • The Basement
  • Circus of Superstition 3D
  • Blood Asylum
  • Nevermore
  • Zombie Mortuary
  • Ultimate Gamble: Reversal of Fortune

As well as the Haunted Houses there were also three Scare Zones:

  • The 13
  • Harvesters Haunt
  • Pain Lane

Howl-O-Scream The Experiment

In 2013 Busch Gardens introduced a separate house called The Experiment where you could challenge your fears by participating in psychological tests involving cockroaches, snakes, needles and darkness amongst other phobias. This has not been repeated in subsequent years.