This past weekend I had the opportunity to experience a theme park adventure I haven’t covered here on the blog before. Busch Gardens Tampa invited me, along with other members of Tampa Bay Bloggers, to experience opening weekend of their Halloween feature attraction, Howl-O-Scream.
Complimentary tickets were provided in exchange for my honest review. Full Disclosure.
I used to really love scary things when I was younger, but the older I get the easier it became for me to get scared and my nerves just couldn’t take it anymore. I know, Outdoorsy Diva getting spooked by things that aren’t even real, but we all have our thing right? In fact I had taken a bit of a hiatus from the super scary events and movies over the last couple of years. However, I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to come out of retirement since I have a teenager who lives to be scared right out of his socks.
I’m proud to announce that my son and I were able to visit 6 out of the 7 houses on opening night. This was through the regular queue line without the skip the line pass. The odds were definitely in our favor that night.
Unearthed Scarlett’s Revenge – The newest haunted house to join the Howl-O-Scream line up is Unearthed Scarlett’s Revenge, which was majorly hyped up because it was brought to us by the producer of the Blair Witch Project. We decided to tackle this house first because with it being the newest house, we figured the line would get long here quickly. It’s set to make you feel like you are underground and definitely did a good job of giving us that feeling. They managed to make my son scream out loud so I would say this one is on the must do list.
The Basement – We wandered through a basement of horrors trying not to become dinner. This was probably the least scary for us. When we went through there happened to be workers trying to resolve some issues directly in front of us which affected our experience because the actors weren’t trying to scare us since there were workers right in front of us.
Circus of Superstition 3D – You need 3D glasses for this one as you wonder through a neon black light creepy fun house. I’m actually really afraid of clowns (I blame the movie “IT”), which made this one extra spooky for me.
Zombie Mortuary – Walk through a funeral home over run with zombies and I dare you not to scream. They got us both a few times on this one.
Zombie Containment Unit – The line for this one looked really long but we got into line anyway. About 5 minutes into standing there it began to rain and then it became a downpour. Most of the people ahead of us ran out of line. That cut our wait time down considerably! We were armed with our Z.E.D. (zombie eradication device) and ready to take down some zombies. It’s basically laser tag with zombies. It’s a neat concept but I wasn’t really afraid.
Death Water Bayou – We wandered through a bayou, saw the voodoo queen and basically got the pants scared off of us. This was our favorite house of the night.
Death Fall – We didn’t get a chance to do this house because the line wasn’t moving. I’ve done it in prior years. This one is based on plants that have a taste for human blood. It’s usually good for a few good scares especially since he actors are disguised as plants. Beware, a bush is not always what it seems.
Visit my Periscope archives to see the entire night of live streaming videos!
While we had a reasonably good time in the houses, there was something noticeably missing. There was an abundance of dead space between houses. We ran into a few zombies near Kumba and a few zombies near the Zombie Containment area. We encountered areas with smoke machines and spooky noise machines but no scary actors. The lack of scare zones definitely lessened the overall fear factor of the night.
In addition to the haunted houses there’s the Crash Test Zombies, the Fiends show, Club Unearthed, and the Fright Feast dinner show.
If you are planning to go and get your fright on, dates for Howl-O-Scream are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month of October. Visit the Howl-O-Scream website to get tickets and all of the details.
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. It’s Florida and extremely humid. The calendars may say fall but our thermostats still say hot as heck. Drink plenty of water so that you don’t get woozy standing in the queue lines.
- Ladies this is not a heel wearing activity. Don’t be the girl who rolls her ankle really bad because she’s running through the haunted house in heels or wedges.
- Take advantage of being allowed entry at 5 pm since you can still ride some of the rides and then you are in place early for your first haunted house.
- Thursdays are typically your best bet to beat the crowds.