Howl-O-Scream returns on weekends, now through November 1. Online reservations required.

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – It’s one of the creepiest and yet most sought after nights during the Halloween season in Tampa Bay. Howl-O-Scream has been around for 21 years. Obviously, it’s changed throughout the years and there’s been a lot of evolution. So with the scare of a pandemic now being part of our reality, rather than canceling Howl-O-Scream this year, Busch Gardens officials made some big adjustments.

A big evolution for this year is a change to adapt to COVID. One of those safety protocols start outside of their brand new scare zone, “The Junkyard”, where guests will notice markers on the ground separating each group right before they start heading in.

Guests will notice this theme throughout the park as Busch Gardens is asking everyone to maintain the six foot social distance. John Prast, a Show Manager at Howl-O-Scream notes that they’ve even mapped it out so there are physical barriers for those scare actors during scare hours. Guests see performers less in the pathways and more on the side of pathways where they still have a strong impact but not breaking that social distance.

Another adaptation is that all guests are required to wear facial coverings when they come to the park. All performers are also required to wear facial coverings.

Also new this year is temperature checks and one-way scare zones, similar to one-way traffic. Prast elaborates, “Not only are you limiting access and contact-points with performers, but you’re limiting contact-points with other guests that are here in the park.”

And given a couple weeks of practice, Prast says his team has gathered a pretty good grasp on what you and your family are expecting during your creepy visit to the park. “Our guests want to be scared they want to have a great time they want to enjoy it, but they want to make sure it’s a safe experience for them when they come.”

Lastly, Busch Gardens are requiring reservations this year due to capacity limitations. To schedule your reservation tickets and review all other changes, click here.

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