Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will hold a modified version of its Howl-O-Scream event, keeping one of Central Florida’s Halloween traditions alive amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This won’t be a typical Howl-O-Scream. Busch Gardens will require advance reservations to cap attendance, along with face masks and physical distancing, similar to the park’s operations during the day since it reopened in June. 

The biggest change will be no haunted houses, as those tightly-packed, indoor environments would be unsafe in the COVID-19 world. Instead, the scares can be found in the outdoor scare zones throughout the park.

“The creative production team has been consulting with medical experts and has modified this year’s event content with a focus on open-air scare zones and entertainment, as well as enhanced health and safety measures, while staying true to the core of this fan-favorite experience,” Busch Gardens said in its press release. 

Along with scare zones, the event will feature the “Fiends” stage show, this time on the Festival Field Stage. Seating will be arranged to allow for distancing between groups of guests. 

The changes extend to the auditioning process, which will be done virtually. Interested performers can apply at BuschGardensJobs.com. 

Howl-O-Scream will run every Friday through Sunday from Sept. 25 through Nov. 1. Ticket cost will vary between $30 and $45 per night depending on which date guests visit. 

Other seasonal mainstays in Central Florida parks will not be held this year due to the pandemic. Disney canceled Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party back in June, while Universal did the same to Halloween Horror Nights — which features houses and scare zones much like Howl-O-Scream — last month.

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