The collection of characters will include familiar haunt archetypes such as The Butcher, a cleaver-enabled brute whose passion for hacking up meat and organs may override his selectivity when it comes to the types of animals he targets -- if you catch my drift. Other folks participating in the Halloween hoopla will include The Cannibal (at least he makes his intentions clear), The Clown (it would seem my childhood fear may be all too real), and The Banshee (whose bite may be as bad as her piercing scream).
Keep in mind that, like most theme park Halloween events, Howl-O-Scream is not for the timid and is intended for mature audiences. Leave the kiddos at home.
Shows will include the song-and-dance extravaganza, "Fiends." Among the haunted houses will be:
- The Basement
This is where The Butcher (see above) plies his trade. Apparently, the dude lives with his equally demented mother and helps the family business by preparing the line of Momma's Meats in her basement. Given all that, do you really want to head downstairs to meet these folks?
- The Circus of Superstition 3D
Of course, this is where The Clown resides. The park says it will feature 13 superstitions in its big-top haunted house. Put on your 3-D glasses, and get ready for some day-glo-inspired screams.
- Death Water Bayou
The Voodoo Queen will use her black magic to lure you into her lair and cast her evil spells. You've been warned.
Selected coasters and attractions will be open during the Halloween event. A ride aboard the incredible steel coaster, SheiKra, is always a blast and would provide a respite from the haunted houses (but with its terror-inducing 90-degree dive, probably not the screams).
- 2013 dates: September 27 and 28. October 3 to 5, 10 to 12, 17 to 19, and 24 to 26.
- 2013 times: The daytime theme park closes each evening on Howl-O-Scream nights and reopens at 7:30 p.m. for the blood-curdling event. The event continues until 1 a.m.
- Admission info: There is a separate admission from the daytime park to attend the nighttime event.
- Get discount tickets from Best of Orlando and save over 40% off the gate price.
- Discounted advance-sale tickets are available online from Busch Gardens. Combo tickets that include guided tours (which include VIP access to the houses) are available. Tours and front-of-the-line passes can also be purchased separately. A combo "Thrills and Chills Ticket" includes admission to the park during the day and the Halloween event at night. The park also offers a specially priced ticket for groups of 15 or more, also available online.
- Dining: Busch Gardens is know for having decent food and is offering a Fright Feast upgrade, which includes a buffet dinner, a special showing of "Fiends," and early access to the houses.