After having a modified event last year without any traditional haunted houses, Howl-o-Scream has returned to form in 2021, and it’s great to have it back! This year’s event features five haunted houses, eight scare zones, two shows and an excellent lineup of coasters in the dark. We got to check it out last weekend, so read on to find out our thoughts on the event!
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Witch of the Woods
Our first stop was Witch of the Woods, one of three brand new haunted houses this year. This house started with a winding outdoor section that took us by surprise, because we weren’t expecting the scares to start immediately after passing the house’s entrance marquee! We got a ton of scares throughout all the twisting halls thanks to some very creative hiding places. It’s a very long house and a strong addition to the event’s lineup, and if it sticks around, I can’t wait to see how it evolves over the years to come!
Death Water Bayou – Blood Moon
Next up was Death Water Bayou – Blood Moon. If you’ve visited Howl-o-Scream before, then you’re probably familiar with this house, as it’s been a staple at the event since 2013. But this year, the bayou has been taken over by werewolves. I always look forward to this house because it has some great bungee actors and some cool scenic elements, and adding werewolves definitely helped keep things feeling fresh. It’ll be interesting to see how much longer this house sticks around, because at this point, I believe it’s the event’s longest running house.
Cell Block Zombies
After a quick ride on Cheetah Hunt, it was time for Cell Block Zombies, another “new” house this year. It felt a bit similar to Insomnia, which was housed in the same building for several years prior, but instead of patients in an insane asylum, it was zombies in a prison. Overall, it was a fairly intense house with some impressive sets, but zombies have never really done much for me.
The Residence was new in 2019 and I’m glad it’s back because it was easily my favorite house that year. It’s got a very dark and creepy vibe and some really fun and surprising scares.
Our final house of the night, and the final new house this year, was The Forgotten. This house was an absolute visual treat, featuring tons of neon and sexy vampires. With a thumping EDM soundtrack, this house definitely had a unique vibe and plenty of scares. It’s another one I hope sticks around for a while, because it’s a crowd pleaser for sure.
One thing Busch Gardens does really well is scare zones. Even though the park is huge, they manage to fill it with scare zones and roaming chainsaws, making you feel like nowhere is safe. This year they’ve introduced three brand new zones and moved some of the others to new locations.
This year’s new zones were Skeleton Crew, VooDoo and In The Shadows. My personal favorite was Skeleton Crew, but I’m also a sucker for nautical/pirate themed haunts so I might be a little biased. In The Shadows was also a great addition, making excellent use of the dark winding path on the way to Shiekra. VooDoo was located near Cheetah Hunt, and had some great, large set pieces and plenty of scares!
Overall, we had an absolute blast at Howl-o-Scream, and look forward to visiting a few more times this season. And with the addition of the Two Park Unlimited Visit ticket, we’re also going to be hitting SeaWorld Orlando’s Holw-o-Scream a few times as well. Make sure to check out both events before October 31st to get your spooky fix in!