Howl-O-Scream 2010, My Terrifying Adventure and Review
This year I decided to venture into darkness at Busch Garden's Howl-O-Scream; the first time in a couple of years. Truth be told, despite my love for the holiday and the overabundance of spooky decor at my home, I still become nervous when I know costumed creatures are going to jump out at me in the dark. I decided to cowboy up and just face my fears.
Walking into the park, I was amazed at the number of Ravens perched everywhere around Branbury Cross. This is an obvious nod to the tradition at the Tower of London. There must be at least six Ravens kept inside the Tower's Walls to ensure the Tower and the Monarchy do not fall according to myth and legend. I appreciated this historical reference for the themeing of England. I was told there would be a Victorian funeral in the area played out by actors and that it was quite eerie; but unfortunately missed the spectacle. I do hope to catch it next year if the theme is repeated.
One thing that terrifies me more than anything is spiders. Even though I saw all the spiders in the Wolf Valley area in the bright daylight, it still did not hinder my near collapsing fear when the spiders came to life at night. The dropped, dangled, and did an excellent job of making me overwhelmingly scared before I even set foot in one maze.
The rats in France were also a nice touch. Being that the Black Death is widely accepted to have been carried by fleas brought in by rats that ended up killing 30-60% of the entire population of Europe, rats would definitely terrify many people. That theory has been challenged in recent years but it still does not erase the fear of disease associated with rats. Once again, it is the detailed themeing of each country that gave me pause in order to fully appreciate the creative ways in which to make the guests shiver and wince as they meander through the park.
I had a fortunate night overall. I was able to experience most of the mazes and events; Hunted being my favorite. The scares did feel everywhere and I enjoyed seeing all the costumed actors frightening the Dickens out of some folks. That is, if they were not trying to scare me!
One thing I must say is that despite the fact the park was packed to the gills, I never once felt overpowered by masses of people. Because Howl-O-Scream events take place in every nook and cranny of the park, the crowds were well dispersed and I was able to stroll around the park with relative ease. The swift movement of the lines at the ride and food locations, as well as the highly organized seating at the shows also proved the park was up for the challenge of high crowds and ensuring maximum park efficiency. Busch Gardens obviously had their A-Game on that night.
Howl-O-Scream was a tremendous success in my book. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and I suppose one could liken it to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears; some thought it too scary, some not enough, but for me it was just right. I will look forward to what new thrills and chills will be in store for next year's event with more anticipation than trepidation. Perhaps.
I'm still a scaredy-cat when it comes to haunted houses. Yet, if anything can break me of timidity, the lure of a fun-filled evening at Howl-O-Scream will!