Busch Gardens preps for bigger, better Howl-O-Scream

Busch Gardens is already prepping for Howl-O-Scream, and they’re teaming up with a Hollywood heavyweight to make the event bigger and better than ever — and screams a lot louder.

If you remember just how frightening “The Blair Witch Project” was, and loved it, you’ll be a happy camper; The film’s award-winning producer, Robin Cowie, is raising the bar at Busch Gardens for the Hampton Roads Halloween staple.

“We were looking for something exciting, something that brings a fresh take to things,” said Phil Raybourn, Busch Gardens Williamsburg Senior Production Manager. “Guests attending the park right now will be able to see little bits here, bits there, of Halloween as it starts to take shape. On a scale of one to 10, about a 15. We really rev it up here. We’ve always prided ourselves in setting the bar and being the highest standard.”

The event will feature seven haunted houses, a new record for the park, and it’s not for the faint at heart. Come September 25 at 6 p.m., the kid-friendly environment by day will turn into a seriously scary place — it may not be appropriate for young children. They’re pulling out all the stops for those who can stand a walk on the dark side.

“They get an immersive environment,” Raybourn said. “From the minute they step onto this property, you are immersed in Halloween. I think there’s always a new vibe with Howl-O-Scream each and every year, and it’s based on that guest experience. Way off the path this year, we’ve got a brand new maze called LumberHack.”

Unearthed, Scarlett’s Revenge is another new maze, featuring a journey through a twisted tail of horror. And Cornered takes guests to a 1977 farming community where townspeople are disappearing at an alarming rate.

Howl-O-Scream will run every Friday through Sunday from September 25 to November 1.