Howl-O-Scream 2020 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay officially got their Halloween season started with the return of Howl-O-Scream this weekend, and we were excited that it still brought the spirit of the season with plenty of scares.

The first thing we noticed when we arrived at the park was the numerous health and safety updates. Much like the other theme parks of Central Florida, all guests entering the park are required to pass a temperature check and wear face coverings, and social distancing markers were placed throughout the park to encourage safety while waiting for rides and shows.

This year Howl-O-Scream features 10 new terrifying scare zones as well as the return of the “Fiends” show staged in an outdoor stage.

While all of the scare zones were outside, two of them, The Junkyard and The Shortcut were staged like the traditional houses where guests queued up and walked through individually. All the scare actors were situated away from the guests or were wearing facial coverings themed to their costumes.

The first scare zone/haunted house we ventured through was The Junkyard. Although it was outside, the theme and design were excellent, providing the best scares of the night. Parties were staggered well allowing time to interact with the scare actors and get the most jumps possible.

Next to the Junkyard is the entrance to the Fiends show. This is a Howl-O-Scream must see this year as they have taken it to a large outdoor stage. It is bigger and better than ever featuring great music, dancing, and all of the characters you have come to love. Guests can see it twice each nigh at 8:30 pm and 10:00 pm.

Passed The Junkyard was the creepiest scare zone of all, Little Nightmares. Staged on the dark trail alongside Sesame Place, Little Nightmares doesn’t have any jump scares or knockers, but does a solid job unsettling your soul as you walk through.

The second scare zone/haunted house is The Shortcut. Although somewhat shorter than The Junkyard, this house had more a detailed set and much scarier visuals.

Just passed The Shortcut, you unwittingly venture into danger when you stumble among carnivorous campers in Lycan Landing. Here, the only happy campers are the werewolves feasting on the poor souls who enter their campground.

After surviving the Lycan Landing you have to pass through the evil clowns and carnies in the Maniac Midway.

Next comes the terrifying toys come to life in Deadly Toys.

After you have made it this far you find yourself in a town overrun by criminals in The Escape

The final zone you come across is not a scare zone at all, but a celebration of the Día de Muertos. This colorfully decorated area features music, dancing, and characters celebrating the Day of the Dead. It is a wonderful way to end your trip around Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream.

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