You should know by now that it’s never too early for me to start talking about the next Pauloween.  After all, when you love horror as much as I do, you look forward to your favorite holiday all year long.  Looks like I’ll be attending Busch Gardens Tampa’s annual Howl-O-Scream event (see what I said about last year’s event here) during the Freaky Preview weekend, on September 25th.

Last year’s theme was the vampire fashion show, House of Vayne, featuring some wicked hot vampire dancer girls.  This year, the theme is the rock band myX, and lead singer Sylvie, who has a collection of fingers (from her “x’s”) hidden backstage.  There are seven main houses this year, and of particular interest is a “bonus” house, ALONE, which you can venture into, for an added fee.  The trick?  You have to do it…ALONE.  Full details on the event after the jump.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay officially kicks off it’s 11th season of gutwrenching scares with MORE haunted houses than ever before, ALL-NEW scare zones, Alone – a revolutionary idea in how guests experience haunted attractions – and a live concert each night of the event by the rock stars of horror – Sylvie and her killer band, My X.

For 18 select nights in September and October, Howl-O-Scream 2010 will rock your world with seductive surprises and scares. The devious creatures that infest more haunted houses than ever before, all-new scare zones, thrilling shows and even the streets themselves will have guests watching their backs, and bone-chilling roller coasters keep the screams coming all night long.

Howl-O-Scream is a separate ticketed event, and general admission is $74.95. Savings are available on advance ticket purchases at participating Publix Supermarkets and at MyXRocks.comm for Passport Members and Florida Residents. Discounts are also available with promotional codes from select Pepsi, Domino’s Pizza, Applebee’s, Smoothie King and Muvico theaters purchases statewide.

The event runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night beginning Sept. 30. Dates include: Sept. 30–Oct. 2, Oct. 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28-30 and Oct. 31. Freaky Preview puts guests in the front row a week early on Sept. 24-25 for discounted rates as low as $29.95 for general admission and $24.95 for Passport members. Operating hours are 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. during Freaky Preview and on Thursday nights and Halloween night. Friday and Saturday hours are 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Howl-O-Scream 2010 has more haunted houses than ever before, designed to amp up your deepest, darkest fears…

  • NEW! Alone… (A personal experience in horror) – The deranged Master Alexander Daedalus opened Minotaur Storage to house his vast collection of “cultural” remains. But now his sinister obsession with hoarding has expanded to stockpiling people. Escape this lunatic’s labyrinth or you will become part of his collection. Can you make it out ALONE?
    Note: Alone is a unique, all-alone experience through the haunted house. Admission is $24.95 if purchased in advance online or $34.95 if purchased at the park. Howl-O-Scream admission is required, but not included.
  • NEW! My X: Revenge Rocks – My X is the hottest underground band in town, and its devoted fans are dying to meet Sylvie and her killer group. After sneaking backstage and discovering the disturbing truth behind the cruel lyrics, the quest to “get in with the band” quickly changes to a life-or-death race to get out.

Some of the most demented houses ever are back by popular demand with some horrible new twists.  These returning favorites are sure to terrorize first-time visitors and die-hard fans alike:

  • Nightshade Toy Factory: Son of Nightshade – By day, the old Nightshade Toy Factory appears abandoned. But as night falls, the mysterious manufacturing plant is aglow and hums with blood-curdling shrieks. You’ll run for your life when this already-bizarre factory tour turns into the Son of Nightshade and his possessed playthings seeking revenge on his twisted, toymaking father.
  • Delta Epsilon Delta: Extreme Rush (DEDer) – Sisterhood is forever, and the torture and pain of sorority life amp up to a new extreme during Rush Week 2010. ΔΕΔ alumni return to celebrate a new chapter in the house’s dark history, marked by the mysterious chapter’s new My X anthem, “It’s never been better than to be!”
  • Deconstruction: The Doctor Is Out of Control – Dr. Edger VonAngst has the skill and technology to make you over… but what will you become? This mad reconstructive surgeon has fallen one notch deeper into insanity, putting people back together with mechanical pieces, combining flesh, bone and steel in the most hideous ways.
  • Death Row Vengeance: No Escape – The inmates at Grey Echo Penitentiary are slated for execution, and they blame you. With their last breath, they curse those who do nothing to save them from the electric chair or lethal injection and vow to haunt those who watched them suffer.  Will you make it out alive when they come back to make good on their dying promise?
  • Taste of Blood: A Different Vein – Once revered as royalty, hordes of undead vampires have now been forced underground into the subways and sewers to avoid the sunlight. By day, they feed on rats to survive. But as night falls, these fanged fiends take to the streets to seduce fresh blood.
  • Trapped in the Walls: Ghostchasers – The gruesome fate of an innocent family made headlines when their bodies were discovered years ago. Today, you’ll join a paranormal research team as they attempt to reveal the house’s horrible history by investigating the dark demons trapped by the lingering evil that has seeped into the walls.

At Howl-O-Scream, even the sidewalks aren’t safe from the things that go bump in the night. Five ALL NEW scare zones and bands of roaming hordes will keep guests watching their backs as they explore 335 acres of fright:

  • NEW! Xtreme Fanatics – My X’s most devoted and deranged followers call themselves X-treme FANatics. They unite to share their obsessive dedication in hopes of finding new converts and erect a shrine to their beloved Sylvie and her killer band. They will stop at nothing to prove they are the ultimate fans!
  • NEW! Road Trip – Free-wheeling college students set out on a road trip to see their favorite band, My X. But when their van breaks down on a deserted road, the stranded students soon discover that the forest surrounding them is filled with half-man, half-beast creatures with a taste for human blood.
  • NEW! Crazed Love – The bleeding hearts of jilted lovers unite through their stories of heartbreak. From the bride left at the altar to the woman who has been cheated on one too many times, these depressed devotees will go to any length to un-break their hearts and claim revenge. Happy Together doesn’t happen here.
  • NEW! Spiders and Snakes – A meteor crashed to earth, creating a glowing beacon that lures all things creepy and crawly. Snakes slither and spiders sneak in swarms larger than your nightmares can imagine. Shivers will crawl up and down your spine when you traverse this path infested with some of the most feared creatures on earth.
  • NEW! Light of Doom – Try to collect your senses as specters of light and shadow blur the line between this world and the next. Here, you will be challenged to wander through a maze of illumination and fog. Eerie apparitions confound and confuse as they try to trick unsuspecting guests “into the light.”

After braving bone-chilling coasters in the dark such as SheiKra, Montu, Gwazi and Kumba, you can catch your breath at these twisted live shows:

  • NEW! My X Live – The killer band, My X, will rock all 18 nights of Howl-O-Scream with performances at 10:30 p.m. and midnight every night on the Gwazi Plaza stage.
  • NEW! Blood Relations – Ready for a bloody good time? In the great hall of Blood Manor, the will of the recently deceased Lady Betty Blood is read for her surviving relatives. This sinister musical is packed with sadistic humor and a family of relatives with more than just skeletons in their closets. Performing nightly at the Desert Grill.
  • Fiends – Is there a doctor in the house? These 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.” Performing nightly at the Stanleyville Theater.

Looking for a killer party or the perfect souvenir to round out your evening of evil?

  • Club X – Grab your entourage and head to the transformed Marrakesh Theater to party like a rock star at Howl-O-Scream’s exclusive 21+ dance club. This adults-only nighttime playground keeps the energy pumping all night long with non-stop music, premium signature cocktails, drink specials and exclusive appearances by Howl-O-Scream’s most terrifying stars.
  • Howl-O-Scream Shop of Horrors – Remember your evening of evil with the perfect Howl-O-Scream souvenir, including Sylvie’s signature jewelry, exclusive My X concert tees and other Halloween-themed gifts. Then, smile through the pain and snap the perfect party pic with the ΔΕΔ girls at an exclusive photo op that’s not for the faint of heart.

Take advantage of the best way to see Howl-O-Scream with all-inclusive VIP Packages, which include event admission and a tour guide. Three levels of terrifying special treatment: include Super, Mega and Ultimate. 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, meet and greet with the Howl-O-Scream creative team and a $5 games card. All tours commemorative photos, merchandise discounts and complimentary beverages. Packages start at $79, and Passport 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 $35, which grants no-wait access to seven houses, excluding Alone.  The Front Line Fear Extreme pass ups the access and lets guests skip the line at four freaky coasters as well for $50.

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 $79.95!

For out-of-town guests, Overnight Fright Packages include Howl-O-Scream admission for two, plus one-night accommodations at one of Busch Gardens’ preferred partner hotels. Prices start at $168.90 plus tax, 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 $337.70 plus tax.

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 Blood Relations. Fright Feast guests are also the first to brave the dark with a half-hour of early access to the all-new haunted houses. Fright Feast is $24.95 per person, with group rates and discounts for Passport and Fun Card members available.

Howl-O-Scream is a separate ticketed night event. No costumes are allowed. For guest information, visit or call 1-888-800-5447.

Howl-O-Scream is intended for a mature audience. This year’s event contains intense adult content such as violence, gore and blood.