Howl-O-Scream 2019 is thrilling and chilling

A haunted house lover reviews annual Halloween event at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Are you looking for a night of screams and fright? Then Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream is the place to go.

Under the moon-lit sky, the park is a completely different place then when entered during the day. Packed with chainsaw-carrying clowns and swing-jumping demons, you are definitely in for a night of almost peeing your pants in fear.

I had never been to Howl-O-Scream before, but as a lover of haunted houses, I was super excited. Overall, I had a great time and definitely got the scare I was looking for. But there are a few things I wish I knew before going.

One thing to remember when going is this event is very popular, and it will be packed. My friends and I got there at about 5 o’clock as we were only going for the haunted houses and not the rides and other normal attractions that Busch Gardens offers.

It was so busy that we had to park about 10 minutes from the park and take a little tram across a major highway to get there. This was honestly as terrifying as the haunted houses themselves.

Something else to note – with the park being so crowded, every ride and haunted house had about an hour wait to get in. 

So, be prepared to have some good conversation topics ready as it does get boring. Another piece of advice to anyone going is to bring water and eat before you come. 

The lines for food are almost as long as the lines for rides, and it’s not even worth it as the food is bad and extremely overpriced. A water bottle was $4 inside the park. That’s pretty much highway robbery.

Even with these setbacks, Howl-O-Scream is a great time overall, and I would definitely recommend going. Running away from a clown carrying a chainsaw with your friends is oddly a great bonding experience. 

The park does a great job of immersing you in a land of terror. Everywhere you go, the park is decorated and prepared to scare with hanging ghost brides and speakers that scream at you as you pass by. That one really made me jump. 

With the whole park already having you on your toes with their different scare zones, the best places to really get a fright are the six different haunted houses around the park. 

Because of the long lines, my friends and I were only able to get through three houses before the park closed at midnight, but it was definitely worth the wait. 

Out of the three, the best one I thought was “Circo Sinistro.” You are transported into an old circus, moving through different tents and never knowing what’s around the corner. It was definitely the best house in immersing you in the world of the circus, with a ring master even coming to greet you as you enter.

If you only get to a few in the time your there I would recommend skipping “Frostbite.” Designed as an enchanted dark castle, it left me asking “was that it?” The shortest out of the three we went through, it was not worth the 60 minute wait.

The last house we went through was “Dystopia.” I was left screaming till the end, literally, as the house was themed around a future world order and fashioned with strobing lights causing you to not know where you’re going. 

I was chased out screaming by some creepy dystopian queen. My friends definitely won’t let me forget that one as they laughed their butts off at me as we left.

I would definitely recommend going to Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream. Just remember to have your head on a swivel as you never know what’s lurking behind you.

~Diane Frola, Staff Writer~

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