Busch Gardens Williamsburg cannot hold its usual Howl-O-Scream event, but more of the park will be available to guests for its 2020 replacement, Halloween Harvest. 

“Fall is a perfect time to visit the park and we’re thrilled to offer another limited-capacity special event that will showcase new villages and attractions we have not offered yet this year along with the greatest of Halloween experiences for all ages,” Busch Gardens Williamsburg president Kevin Lembke said in a press release. “We will continue operating with enhanced health and safety measures and have created an event that safely delivers a compelling combination of exciting coasters and rides, seasonal food and drinks, and Halloween experiences for kids and adults.”

This is the latest in a series of limited-capacity events for the park, as the state of Virginia has capped theme park attendance at 1,000 guests during this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the first of these events, Coasters and Craft Brews, featured only six rides, Halloween Harvest will offer access to 15 attractions, including five roller coasters:

  • Loch Ness Monster
  • Apollo’s Chariot
  • Verbolten
  • Tempesto
  • Grover’s Alpine Express

Six of the Busch Gardens hamlets will be open (Festa Italia, Forest of Fun, Heatherdowns, Killarney, Oktoberfest, and San Marco), as will more than a dozen shopping and dining locations. Halloween Harvest will offer trick-or-treating and some “roaming Ghouls and Goblins” to provide a taste of Howl-O-Scream scares during evening hours. 

Like the previous events, guests will have to reserve four-hour slots to enter the park on Thursdays through Sunday from Oct. 1 through Nov. 1. Available slots, which vary by day of the week, will be available on Sept. 25 on the Busch Gardens Williamsburg website

The park is far from alone in radically altering its seasonal offerings during the pandemic. Its sister park, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, is holding its Howl-O-Scream with only scare zones, not haunted houses. Universal Orlando opted to open two of its Halloween Horror Nights houses during daytime hours and cancelled the regular hard-ticket event for 2020. 

In California, theme parks aren’t allowed to open their rides, but Knott’s Berry Farm, Legoland California and SeaWorld San Diego have opened for limited events focused on food and, in SeaWorld’s case, animal exhibits.

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