I’m obsessed with all things cute and sweet. I love bunnies, kittens, glitter and washi tape. That might leave you a tiny bit surprised when you hear that I also love scary movies, Halloween and all things spooky. I’ve never been to Busch Gardens during the Halloween season, so I was crazy excited to check out everything going on. And maybe ride a few of the thrillier rides I missed out on during my last trip.
The theme this year is Cursed. Have you heard the oh-so-creepy song? You know, the one that curses you? I kind of love it.
As soon as you walk in the parks, you can’t miss the new look. England was transformed into Ripper Row, one of five Terror-tories. The entire park is basically wrapped for the season in this stuff. It feels like home…
When you visit, check out all five Terror-tories:
- Ripper Row (England)
- Demon Street (France)
- Wendigo Woods (New France)
- Vampire Point (Germany)
- Ports of Skull (Italy)
Just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean it’s all spooks and scares. Lots of the rides you know and love are still operating. The water rides are shut down for the season, and during my visit the Loch Ness Monster was closed. But…I got to play with Lorikeets! That totally makes up for it. I somehow missed most of Ireland on my last trip, so getting to spend some time there was a must this go-round. Although the Lorikeets are actually between Ireland and France. Although France is now Demon Street. Wait…where was I going with this?
Oh, yes. We were talking about all of the cool things I saw and did on this trip to Busch Gardens. Everywhere you look there’s something cool to see. The decorations might have been my favorite part. I mean, I got to ride Alpengiest again, which I love, and I finally got to ride Verbolten, which was awesome. But the decorations…be still my Halloween loving heart. The severed limbs in Ripper Row aside, the decorations shouldn’t be too much for even the littlest visitors. And I honestly don’t think even those severed limbs will be of much interest to the toddler set unless an adult points them out and tells them they’re spooky, so…you should be good.
The other thing I loved was how the park transformed at night. Busch Gardens is totally kid friendly until 6pm hits. Then things start to change. Like perhaps when you’re innocently riding the train and you get attacked by vampires? So traveling with the littles? You’ll probably want to head home early. You know your kids better than anyone, so use your best judgement as to what they can and can’t handle. The characters were actually pretty awesome about trying to scare those who looked like they would most enjoy a little fright. So needless to say I had more than one character run up behind me and try to scare the bejeezus out of me.
The darker things get, the cooler it all looks. Seriously, when the music turns spooky and the lights get low…things look amazing. There’s also smoke. Everywhere. So. Much. Smoke. Busch Gardens knows how to set the scene.
Make sure you take the time to visit as many of the haunted houses as you can. There are six in total and I made it to three. 13: Your Number’s Up opens at 5:30pm, with the rest of the haunted houses opening at 6pm. Several are at least partially outdoors and I’d recommend waiting until it’s fairly dark to get the full effect!
Don’t forget to visit:
- 13: Your Number’s Up (Ireland)
- Catacombs (Royal Palace Theater)
- Root of All Evil (Germany)
- Bitten (Festhaus Park)
- Cut Throat Cove (Fiesta Field)
- Deadline (Pompeii)
In addition to the Terror-tories and haunted houses, there are also some great shows just for Halloween! We saw Fiends, Monster Stomp on Ripper Row and just a bit of Night Beats. Fiends and Monster Stomp are not for young children, so be advised before you plan your schedule. The percussion and skeleton number from Monster Stomp are amazing…you’ll definitely want to check it out for the skeletons alone!
Howl-O-Scream is going on every weekend now through October 26th. And then…it’s Christmas Town. My other favorite holiday!