Howl-O-Scream 2013 Opens September 27 at Busch Gardens Tampa

Friday, September 27, Busch Gardens Tampa opens its 13th annual Howl-O-Scream event.  This is a separately ticketed night-time event held on weekends at the theme park through October 26.  Tickets are $89 purchased at the gate the night of the event, but you can bring the price down to $50 by purchasing in advance (see below for details).  Howl-O-Scream has innovative, scary attractions including The Experiment – where guests endure tests to determine the limits of their fear tolerance.  Another perk of Busch Gardens’ Halloween event is riding the park’s signature roller coasters Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra, Montu, Gwazi and Kumba at night with low crowds.  Continue reading for the all the details on the haunted houses, scare zones, parties, and food available at Busch Gardens Tampa’s Howl-O-Scream.

Busch Gardens Tampa Howl-O-Scream

From Busch Gardens Tampa’s Press Release

Once every century, on precisely the thirteenth year, evil comes out to play.  This fall, for 14 select nights, Howl-O-Scream 2013 returns to Busch Gardens Tampa with tormenting surprises around every corner and unexpected terrors.

Opening weekend for Howl-O-Scream 2013 is Friday and Saturday, Sept. 27 and 28.   The event then runs Thursday through Saturday nights, Oct. 3-5, 10-12, 17-19 and 24-26.  Operating hours are 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. on all event nights.

Busch Gardens’ 335 acres will be overgrown with dark, sinister, adult-targeted fun, including new haunted houses, scare zones, a thrilling live stage show and the chance to ride adrenaline-fueled coasters in the dark, including Florida’s first triple-launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt.  Even the streets themselves aren’t safe with all-new scare zones, led by the 13 evils that have been waiting a century to come out and play for the most horrifying Howl-O-Scream ever.  It will leave you begging for mercy… and screaming for more.

Busch Gardens Tampa Howl-O-Scream

From the depths of a basement to the eerie bogs of the Bayou, Howl-O-Scream 2013’s new haunted houses are designed to prey on every element of your deepest fears:

  • NEW! The BASEMENT—From Momma’s secret ingredient to Granny’s bone-ground flour, Momma’s Meats’ award-winning recipe has always been a family affair that’s only created in the BASEMENT.  Escape the depths of the BASEMENT before she and #4 The Butcher turn you in to the secret sauce!  She always said it took blood, sweat and tears!
  • NEW! Death Water Bayou—Deep in the bayou the #6 Voodoo Queen mystically transforms lost wanderers into her minions of evil with black magic.  Here, her night servants roam with a zombie-like hunger and seek to grow her collection.  The darkest evils lurk in shadows.  Get out before you fall victim to her spell.
  • NEW! The Experiment—Researchers challenge your fear tolerance and mental endurance in this never-been-done-before Experiment.  In this exclusive study, “test subjects” endure psychological tests and must face top fear-inducing elements, from roaches and snakes to needles and darkness.  How far is too far in the study of fear?  Will you survive The Experiment?

Note: The Experiment is a unique, interactive experience that challenges your threshold for fear for an additional fee.  Reservations are required, and each reservation can accommodate you and up to three additional “test subjects.”  Pass member discount does not apply.  Not included with any other VIP tour or upgrade product.  Howl-O-Scream admission is required, but not included.  The Experiment admission is $50 for the first test subject and $10 for each additional test subject in the same reservation.

Busch Gardens Tampa Howl-O-Scream

Some of the most demented houses ever are back by popular demand with some horrifying new twists:

  • Circus of Superstition 3-DYou’ve tried to avoid black cats and sidewalk cracks, but all those years of bad luck caught up with you!  The #13 Clown challenges you to survive 13 superstitions in their 3-D Tent of Terror, but it will take more than luck to escape this whole new dimension of fear.
  • Blood AsylumAs lightning rages and thunder crashes outside, “The Creature” escapes from his holding cell in a high-security asylum for the criminally insane.  Now this sadistic deviant is running rampant, skinning his former cellmates and turning the mental hospital into his own torture chamber.  This serial killer’s bloody playground will drive you out of your mind with fear.
  • Zombie MortuaryNo one remembers how the epidemic started, but now, the #9 Zombie and his undead friends live here.  They infest this small town funeral home and feed on the fresh flesh and brains of mortuary mourners to satisfy their insatiable hunger.  Avoid the walking dead or you may find yourself deeper than six feet under.
  • Ultimate Gamble: Reversal of FortuneUnder sleek Vampire reign, the once-vibrant Ultimate Gamble casino glowed.  Now werewolves have overthrown their mortal enemies and are running rampant in the casino.  The carnivorous beasts have caught on to the scent of fresh blood inside the closed casino.  Will you make it out alive before your luck runs out?
  • NevermoreBeating hearts, swinging pendulums and a raven’s cries haunt the manor of Lenore, creating a demented and twisted nightmare.  Step inside to experience the gothic terror that maddens the lord of the house and feel delusion overcome reality.  Find your way out of this horror story before paranoia authors your final chapter.

Busch Gardens Tampa Howl-O-Scream

At Howl-O-Scream, even the sidewalks aren’t safe from the things that go bump in the night.

ALL-NEW scare zones will keep guests watching their backs as they explore 335 acres of fright:

  • The 13Once every century, on precisely the thirteenth year, evil comes out to play.  Thirteen evils, to be exact.  The #7 Surgeon, #4 Butcher, #11 Psychopath, #13 Clown, #6 Voodoo Queen and their demented friends will torment and terrorize you the moment you enter the gates.  This your chance to find out: Who are the 13?
  • Harvester’s HauntAn unnerving soundtrack of banjos, fiddles and harmonicas fill the fields with haunting bluegrass music.  Something just doesn’t feel right.  You realize you’re not alone when you discover a hoard of sadistic scarecrows.  They’re looking to harvest a few lost souls.  Will you escape their reach or be theirs forever?
  • Pain LaneTorture, torment and pain line this sinister street as the #2 Torturer and #12 Hangman stalk their prey in the shadows of this dark and disturbing alley.  Here, pain-inducing devices are the toys of the twisted and screams are surrounded by haunting silence.  Will you escape this playground of pain before the #2 Torturer and #12 Hangman find you?

After braving bone-chilling coasters in the dark, such as Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra, Montu, Gwazi and Kumba, you can catch your breath at Howl-O-Scream’s signature show, Fiends, or keep the party going all night in Howl-O-Scream’s signature club and shops.

  • Fiends—The classic monster mash-up Fiends will be performing nightly at the Desert Grill in Timbuktu.  Captivating creatures of the night will infect you with dance fever and keep your pulse pounding with their deranged dance party.  But when Dr. Freakenstein’s naughty nurses start operating, the diagnosis is always “code pink.”
  • Club 13—Escape the hordes and head to the transformed Marrakesh Theater to drive yourself mad partying at Howl-O-Scream’s dance club.  This nighttime dance playground keeps the energy pumping all night long with non-stop music, premium signature cocktails, drink specials and Taco Bus food.
  • Howl-O-Scream Shop of Horrors— This year, the Howl-O-Scream shop of Horrors has been transformed into The Butcher Shop.  Find GOREgeous apparel and trendy tees featuring Howl-O-Scream favorites, including the 13 and the infamous Naughty Nurses.  You can also purchase or pick up your Front-Line Fear Passes here.  Visit this year’s new Voodoo Village Market, located next to The Experiment in the Egypt area of the park by Montu for even more Howl-O-Scream gifts.
  • Howl-O-Scream Photo Ops— Snap the perfect party pics at exclusive photo opportunities with our Pin-Up Scream Girls in Moroccan Village and the Naughty Nurses in the Desert Grill.
  • Darkhearts’ Games of Skill—Test your luck in this unlucky thirteenth year in Darkheart’s Games of Skill.

Busch Gardens Tampa Howl-O-Scream

General admission is $89 plus tax.  Reduced advance-purchase rates and special offers are available for Busch Gardens pass members at  Guests can save $39 on general admission tickets in advance at participating Publix Supermarkets and AAA locations or with promotional codes found at participating Taco Bell, Applebee’s locations in Central Florida and on Fanta products in participating Walgreens.

Take advantage of the best way to see Howl-O-Scream with all-inclusive VIP Packages, which include event admission, a tour guide and your choice of three levels of terrifying special treatment: The Super experience is a three-hour group tour of haunted houses that includes front-of-the-line access.  The five-hour Mega experience adds reserved show seating, front-of-the-line access to several roller coasters and preferred parking, and the Ultimate experience adds the Fright Feast dinner buffet and an exclusive tour guide for your private group.  All tours include commemorative photos, merchandise discounts and complimentary beverages.  Packages start at $65, and pass member discounts are available.

For those who prefer to self-guide themselves through the event but want the front-of-the-line perks, there’s the Front Line Fear pass for $40, which grants no-wait access to seven houses, excluding The Experiment.  The Front Line Fear Extreme pass ups the access and also lets guests skip the line at five freaky coasters for $50.

Busch Gardens Tampa Howl-O-Scream

The Thrills & Chills Weekend Pass lets true Halloween fans face their fears over and over again with a long weekend (Thursday through Sunday) of unlimited access to Busch Gardens’ thrills by day and Howl-O-Scream’s chills by night – all for just $89!  Or, if you need to keep your adrenaline pumping all month long, the Recurring Nightmare Pass offers unlimited Howl-O-Scream visits on Thursday and Friday nights for just $89 (available only at the ticket windows.)

For out-of-town guests, Wicked Weekend Vacation Packages include Howl-O-Scream admission for two, plus one-night accommodations at one of Busch Gardens’ preferred partner hotels.  Prices start at $89 per adult, tax inclusive, based on double occupancy.  Stay two nights as part of the Thrills and Chills Weekend Package, and get in to Busch Gardens day and night, and enjoy two nights of accommodations.  Prices start at $175 per adult, tax inclusive.

And if there’s one thing worse than being terrified, it’s being terrified on an empty stomach.  Fright Feast is the most deranged dinner show in town, featuring a buffet of monstrous main courses and devilish desserts, plus an exclusive performance of Fiends.  Fright Feast guests are also the first to brave the dark with a half-hour of early access to the all-new haunted houses and front-of-line privileges until 8:30 p.m.  Fright Feast is $26 per person, with group rates and discounts for pass and Fun Card members available.

Howl-O-Scream is a separate ticketed night event.  No costumes are allowed.  Howl-O-Scream is intended for a mature audience.  This year’s event contains intense adult content such as violence, gore and blood.

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.