There’s new competition for Halloween haunt fans in Southern California this year, as SeaWorld San Diego will offer its first ever Howl-O-Scream starting Sept. 17.

This adult-oriented, separately-ticketed event will feature the kind of haunted houses and scare zones you’d expect from other Howl-O-Screams at sister parks in Tampa, San Antonio, Williamsburg and Orlando. However, SeaWorld San Diego vice president of entertainment Randolph Borden said the park is putting its “own unique spin on classic haunt themes” to provide “unexpected surprises” for guests. 

“All our haunted attractions are designed by leading experts in the Halloween production industry and have helped us create the most terrifying houses, scares and experiences for our guests,” Borden said in a press release. “The expectations are extremely high for our first year and we are ecstatic to welcome our fellow Halloween and horror fans to what will surely become a yearly, must-experience event.” 

The event lineup includes three haunted houses, with names and themes that will be familiar to fans of other Howl-O-Scream events. Here’s how SeaWorld describes them: 

  • Nightmare Experiment: “A government medical experiment at a run-of-the-mill sleep clinic has gone horribly wrong, descending into utter chaos. The patients have given into their worst nightmares and have driven the staff to the brink of madness. Guests fight for their life and sanity as they rush to escape the clinic, dodging unruly patients along the way.”
  • Simon’s Slaughterhouse: “The local meat processing plant has fallen into the hands of the demented Simon the Butcher and his crew. Guests navigate their way through bloody corridors, meat-hooked mortals and screeching buzz saws to avoid the butcher’s blades.”
  • Death Water Bayou: “The stifling heat and dank humidity permeates the air and beckons visitors deeper into Death Water Bayou. Guests wander amid gravestones, voodoo dolls and the spirits of prior mortals who couldn’t escape the Bayou Witch’s house of cursed horrors.”

Each haunted house will feature an accompanying themed bar near its exit. After Nightmare Experiment, the AmBARlance will offer concoctions in IV bags and syringes as well as vodka-soaked “vitamins” in medicine cups. Simon’s Screamatorium will be housed in a “human-sized smoker” after exiting Simon’s Slaughterhouse, and after experiencing Death Water Bayou, guests will be transported to an abandoned Mardi Gras float at the Murder She Float bar. 

(SeaWorld San Diego)

Around the park, guests will encounter four “roaming hordes” as well as six scare zones.

  • First Fright
  • Deadly Toys
  • Graveyard
  • La Llorona
  • The Sirens
  • The Hauntings

For stage performances, guests can experience “The Vampire Circus,” described by SeaWorld as “performance set in a twisted fantasy universe where chaos and craziness give way to a haunted celebration,” including acrobats and contortionists.

“Guests are immersed in a spirited journey through an abandoned cemetery where an extraordinary circus comes back to life,” SeaWorld said in its press release. “The suspenseful entertainment captivates audiences and is spread throughout the night with a selection of show times for attendees to choose from.”

Three of the park’s coasters will be available during the event: Journey to Atlantis, Manta and Electric Eel. 

Howl-O-Scream will take over SeaWorld San Diego on select nights from Sept. 17 through Halloween. Tickets start at $45 for the general public, while SeaWorld passholders can purchase discounted tickets for $20 at the park on Labor Day weekend.