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What is Busch Gardens Howl O Scream? | Explained

In this guide we'll cover what Howl O Scream is, how the Busch Gardens park changes to accommodate it, and everything that you must do when you visit. 

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What is Howl O Scream

Howl O Scream is a limited time event that occurs around the Halloween season featuring 5 haunted houses, 8 scare zones, 2 fan favorite shows & exhilarating rides.

howl o scream tampa bay

On top of all of this, there are dozens of monsters prowling the park. 

As the sun goes down, the park transforms from Busch Gardens to Howl O Scream.

It is a separately-ticketed night event.


September 8th - October 31st.

It normally begins at 7 pm and lasts to 12am or 1 am depending on the day.

You can check the Busch Gardens site to double check the hours for the day that you're planning on visiting. 

Scare Zones

What are They?

 howl o scream scare zone busch gardens

Scare Zones are specific zones with much less lighting, and lots of fog, where 'monsters', aka workers dressed up in scary costumes and walk up to you when you least expect it, to give you a scare!

These zones are popular in all theme parks around Halloween season, as it's very unpredictable where these monsters will come from, leaving you in constant suspense.

Our favorite scare zones are Voodoo, Deadly Toys and the Junkyard.

Be prepared to hear screams in the scare zones!

Scare Zones only occur in certain parts of the park.

The unique aspect is that each scare zone is uniquely themed, meaning you'll notice they're very different as you walk across each zone.


If you're not the biggest fan of scare zones, you can purchase a 'No Boo' necklace for $15 (online or at any gift shop in Howl O Scream).

no boo necklace

This necklace will signify to all scarers that you are off-limits, and they are not allowed to scare you in any situation.

From our experience, this worked very well, but you should know that this necklace does not guarantee that you will not be scared.

The scarers scare hundreds of people per hour, and they may see the necklace a bit late, and back off immediately after realizing.

No Boo Necklace in Houses or Rides

However, you cannot wear this necklace in Haunted Houses or rides, as these specific Halloween-themed events are meant to scare.


Halloween themed houses (each house has a different theme) full of screams, fog, and evil laughter, where visitors can walk through and see scary sights in each house.

howl o scream houses

These houses typically have loud music blaring to distract your senses.

As visitors make their way through, they'll realize there are 'scarers' ready to jump out when you least expect it. So watch out for corners!

Our favorite houses are Witch of the Woods, the Forgotten & The Residence.

Blood Bar

Fuel up on liquid courage at an ALL-NEW ghoulishly-themed outdoor bar! The Witch's Brew is a must-try drink.

Blood Bar busch gardens

On your way to “The Forgotten” be sure to stop by and pick your poison from bewitching brews and cocktails served by sinister creatures of the dark. After all, our vampires prefer their victims with a little more flavor in their bloodstream.

Gift Shops

Shop of Horrors is a gift shop that sells plenty of limited time souvenirs such as t-shirts, hoodies, pictures, frames and even No Boo necklaces.

shop of horrors


There are upgrades that can be purchased specifically for this event, that can grant you front of the line access once, unlimited number of times, and even a VIP guided tour, depending on which one you purchase.

All of these upgrades can be purchased online directly from the Busch Gardens site.

Front Line Fear

  • Single-use front-of-the-line access to each of the Haunted Houses
  • Single-use front-of-the-line access to a single ride

This upgrade in our opinion will get the most bang for your buck, as access to the front of the line to the houses and rides will allow you to knock them all out in around 2 hours.

During busy nights, without this upgrade, you may experience 2 hour waits for one attraction, so it is absolutely worth it.

howl o scream scare

Front Line Fear Extreme

  • Unlimited front-of-the-line access to each of the Haunted Houses
  • Unlimited front-of-the-line access to rides
  • One-time reserved seating to Monster Stomp
  • Exclusive bonus rooms in one of the Howl-O-Scream houses

VIP Terror Tour 

  • VIP Tour Guide from 7 p.m. to Midnight
  • Unlimited front-of-the-line access to each of the Haunted Houses
  • Unlimited front-of-the-line access to rides
  • Priority Reserved Seating to Monster Stomp
  • 4 Complimentary beverages (alcoholic or non-alcoholic)
  • Exclusive bonus rooms in one of the Howl-O-Scream houses


Cheap Howl O Scream Tickets for Tampa & Williamsburg can be purchased through our site!

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