Fill fall nights with fright at Busch Gardens ® Howl-O-Scream. This year, Busch Gardens ® is celebrating 20 years of fears and an all-new Era of Terror with more scares than ever. Fear awaits in the Virginia theme park’s collection of elaborate haunted houses, immersive themed scare zones, challenging escape rooms and darkly entertaining live shows.

Busch Gardens ® becomes a seriously scary place at 6 pm when the haunts come out for Howl-O-Scream.

Check out our pre-event guide video, or in the article below.

Haunted Houses

NEW Dystopia: Indoor (inside Escape of Pompeii)
is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where a new world order has risen. While I’m going to miss Deadline, Dystopia definitely has the right footprint under the Escape of Pompeii water ride. It’s dark, creepy, and definitely the right place for what could be a new classic maze.
IoM Anticipation Score: 3/5

NEW Demented Dimensions: Indoor/Oktoberfest (NewKastle, next to FrostBite)
Demented Dimensions
was a house featured in Busch Gardens Tampa ®last year and, from what I’ve heard, is kind of a mish mash of a bunch of different themes: monsters, aliens, ancient evils. Which could make for an odd mix of things, but could also be a lot of fun.
IoM Anticipation Score: 3/5

NEW Vault XX: Indoor/Oktoberfest (Behind Das Festhaus)
Vault XX
is my most anticipated house of the year, featuring characters and (I’m assuming) scenes from Howl-O-Scream past, a celebration of 20 years of HOS at Busch Gardens Williamsburg ®. Super excited to see characters from such awesome houses as Hunted and Deadtime Stories.
IoM Anticipation Score: 5/5

Circo Sinistro: Indoor and Outdoor/Festa Italia (near the back)
Since debuting a couple of years ago, Circo Sinistrohas definitely been a standout house. Obviously, circus-themed houses are a dime a dozen, but this one does it right, with different themes as you walk from tent to tent, great themeing and scares, and plenty of rooms where you don’t know who’s real and who’s not. Word of warning though – the line for this one NEVER moves fast, and the house works best after dark.
IoM Anticipation Score: 4/5

Cornered: Outdoor/Oktoberfest (near Kinder Karussel)
Another returning houses, Corneredhas seen some upgrades in recent years, and succeeds by adding to the claustrophia effect of walking through a cornfield by using mirrors and tight spaces that require you to duck. Another house that benefits from waiting until after dark.
IoM Anticipation Score: 3/5

FrostBite: Indoor/Oktoberfest (NewKastle)
was introduced last year to mixed reviews. While the introduction of a new house inside the former location of Curse of DarKastle is a great idea, it was almost too big, with wide open spaces not populated with any characters or themeing. With the addition of Demented Dimensions, I wonder if FrostBite will be condensed into a smaller space, which would actually help it, in my opinion. You can check out a video of last year’s FrostBite experience here.
IoM Anticipation Score: 2/5

Lumberhack: Outdoor/Oktoberfest (Behind Das Festhaus)
returns this year behind Das Festhaus, and is another outdoor haunt that benefits from waiting until the sun goes down. Always a good experience, though very short, the story of Lumberhack revolves around an old logging camp where horrible accidents have occurred, and ghosts have returned to take their anger out on you. One of the bloodier houses featured at Howl-O-Scream
IoM Anticipation Score: 2/5

Scare Zones

NEW scare zones include Fool’s Court (France) and Garden of the Souls (Italy). Both seem like fantastic themes, with creepy court jesters for Fool’s Court and a Dia de Los Muertos-inspired theme for Garden of the Souls. Axe Alley (New France), Ripper Row (England), Sideshow Square (Festa Italia), and Vampire Point (Germany) are all returning from previous years.


Fiends (Ireland), Monster Stomp on Ripper Row (England), and Night Beats: Revamped (Oktoberfest) are returning from previous years. Fiends is always a naughty fun time, and Night Beats: Revamped is enjoyable to watch while grabbing a bite or beer in Das Festhaus. The clear standout for me, though, is Monster Stomp on Ripper Row, which is a fantastic song and dance show right near the front of the park.


The upcharge No Escape escape room experiences return this year, with Jacks Nightmare Room, a new feature, and Case of the Haunted Hotel returning from last year. We genuinely enjoyed our experiences in these escape rooms, and will likely be doing Jacks Nightmare Room so we can spend a little time with the classic Howl-O-Scream icon.

At Castle O’Sullivan in Ireland, the Control Lab at Inoculation Station allows guests to buy a token and pick which house you want to be a part of. Then, when the victim of your choice is in view, flip the switch to activate the scare and watch them jump out of their skin.

New this year is the Haunting Hour in Oktoberfest, where all the haunts will be unleashed to give guests fair warning that the spine-tingling scares are about to start. Also, a Projection Mapping Experience has been added to the Wilkommenhaus in Germany, every 15 minutes from dusk until park close.

Beware of a fresh new scare as Coaster Creepers climb aboard Busch Gardens’ world-class roller coasters. Unsuspecting guests may not know who is sitting near them until it’s too late.  Also, guests may get a surprise from a roaming hoard prowling the park.  The pathways are prime pickings for some unexpected terror.

After a long night of fright, guests can soothe their screams by stopping by five new bars – Chaos Cocktails, Last Call XX, Jack’s Nightcap, Restless Spirits and Control Lab at Inoculation Station – to sip some ghoulish concoctions.  Guests also can dance to pulse-pounding music as spun by diabolical DJs in two new party zones located in France and Italy.

Finally, experience all of your favorite rides and coasters, like Apollo’s Chariot, Alpengeist and Verbolten, IN THE DARK during Howl-O-Scream nights.

Pricing/Other Info

If you’re already a Busch Gardens ®Member, the event is included in your membership. Members get access to both parks, all seasonal events (including Halloween and Christmas) plus exclusive offers and discounts.

Otherwise, a one-day ticket (starting at $70 when purchase online) is good for all day andall night at Busch Gardens Williamsburg ®. Ride the rides during the day, and enjoy Howl-O-Scream at night (starting at 6pm) for no extra charge. Dining deals and express passes are also available.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg ® Howl-O-Scream takes place on select dates from Sept 15 – Oct 28. Visit to make sure it’s open for the day you’re planning.