Thursday, October 21, 2010

Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens

This past Saturday I went to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA for Howl-O-Scream, the annual Halloween event at the park.
It was my first time.

Scarecrows abound at Howl-O-Scream

I have wanted to attend a Howl-O-Scream for so many years but every year something would happen to prevent it.  Not this year.  This year I made it.

When I was very young, say early teens, I attended a Halloween celebration at Six Flags Over Georgia and nostalgia notwithstanding the Busch Gardens Halloween is much better.

As with so many things in life it is the little details that matter so much.  During daylight hours the park is safe for all ages and the decorations are clearly visible for all to see.  A plethora of Jack O'Lanterns, ghosts, spiders in webs and festive vampires can be seen.

Killarney, the main square in the Ireland section, already a fay wonderland was even more mythically Irish, save for the plethora of North American squash that bedeck the streets.  The Rhineland and Oktoberfest have been redecorated in Vampire Chic, which I find odd given that Curse of Darkastle is a ride featuring a ghost who is a werewolf.  However a trip to New France reveals where all the werewolves are hiding.  It makes a sort of Twilight sense.  Werewolves like Canada.

A Canadian Werewolf in Virginia

Italy seems to be overrun with a case of witches, some of witch may be undead.  Pompeii was surrounded by mummies of a sort, eager to scare guests after dark.
Strega, I believe, is the term...which is related to the term for vampire

Frau Punkinstein was shocked by a particularly vicious shrub at one point.

The joy of Howl-O-Scream for me is that it is the closest one can get, short of winning a huge lottery and being allowed to become rich and therefore eccentric, to living in Halloweentown (either Tim Burton's or the one from those Disney Movies with Debbie Reynolds).  After 6:00 PM the park is getting dark and the roving cast members come out to scare the patrons and the haunted houses open.  This gives the patron a choice of how to spend their time, either in pleasant strolls through the park by day or ducking and weaving bellicose bushes by night.  Either way I'm for it.  See, I love amusement parks.  They are unreal in a real way.  Much like a tourist town, they exist to create for me, the patron, an illusion and cater to my whims.  This illusion is far preferable to the annoyances of the real world and is good escapism, not unlike what we see in movies, television and video games.  If you can make the trip I highly recommend Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

A reasonable picture of ghostly activity in Busch Gardens...I have it on good authority (okay, it was a sheepdog that told me) that this sort of thing is going on all the time, but they wear the sheets during October as a courtesy to the management.


  1. I for one, not being as much a Halloween addict as you, love Howl-O-Scream. It's fun. I've been to plenty of Amusement park Halloween festivities, Cedar Point, Six Flags in Los Angeles, and I vote Howl-O-Scream the best. I would save up my once a year Veteran's free entrance chit for late October. Not only are the decorations superior, but, as I said, it’s fun and the scary bush dwellers still don't make it prohibitive to take children. I'm glad you got to do it, because, you know, you'd dig it the most.

  2. Yes, Vinnie, I do.
    There is that whole Lady Gaga Pumpkin dude in Ireland.
    He was creepy...but not for any horror reasons. Mostly for the singing.