For ten years Busch Gardens Tampa has transformed into a nightmarish landscape of ghouls, ghosts and altogether nasty creatures that you can’t find at any other time of the year. With every year the event has grown, and though some favorites stay while others go to make room for new favorites each year has it’s own unique persona and life all it’s own. Over the next several days we are going to take a look at how Howl O Scream has grown over the years and the different things that have made it unique. This will all lead up to the opening weekend of Howl O Scream 11, and the introduction of the finger slicing Sylvie and MyX.
By 1999 Universal Orlando had made such and impact with their Halloween event Halloween Horror Nights that a lot of other parks decided they had better pay attention and find a way to capitalize on the holiday. Eventually parks like Disney would offer Trick Or Treating and special parades for an upcharge, and some parks (such as Sea World) would do that with park admission. Still, it had the creative minds at Busch Gardens Tampa scratching their heads about what they could do for the Halloween Season. The answer came in a two night family friendly event called Spooky Safari. With Spooky Safari families could venture on hayrides, get their face painted and even go through a haunted pumpkin patch. The highlight though was Dr. Livingsdoom’s Haunted Jungle Trail, which was a guided tour. The event kept close to the African theme of the park and transformed some of the daytime attractions into spooky alter-egos.
The very next year instead of going back to the completely family friendly event, Howl O Scream made it’s debut.While it kept the family friendly rating with “scare free zones” and areas like Land of Dragons being open during the event, the slide towards scary started happening as they also introduced more haunted mazes. The event also had an icon, or face, for the event once again with Dr. Livingsdoom. This time however, instead of being the spooky Dr. that guided you, he was the Evil Mad Scientist that wanted to do experiments on you.
- Labyrinth of Lost Souls -A prison where the souls of the dead inmates preyed on the living.
- Dark Caverns -A special effects house that combined creepy crawly creatures of the night like bats and spiders with effects and a big finish at the end.
- Haunted Jungle Trail -A Tribal walkabout where the Evil Dr. Livingsdoom tried to get ya
- Evening Serengeti Safari Tours-A creepy night time version of the daytime serengeti tours
The event really only had one real scare zone, as the areas were a kid friendly. In actuality the event didn’t really have one scare zone as all the characters were roaming around the park. Such classic fiends as Dracula, the Mummy and Frankenstein stalked victims and used the parks many dark corners to jump out at guests. The only show that year was “The Amazing Kreskin” which was a mind reading show. Butch Patrick from TV’s the Munsters made an appearance at the park. The park also featured the hearse that was used in Dr. Paul Bearer’s Creature Feature shows, which was more of a hit with the crowd as Dick Bennick who played Dr. Paul Bearer had passed away five years earlier. He was honored as the longest running Horror Show host on Television.
The event was a hit, and we’ll continue the countdown to 2010 real soon.
For details and information on this year’s Howl O Scream, visit the official site!
For further theme park adventures be sure to follow me on Twitter!