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Spooky Season is Here: Tampa Halloween Events

By Kennedy Haugen

With COVID-19, this year’s “spooky season” is looking a lot different. Both Disney and Universal have cancelled their popular Halloween events. But, here in Tampa, there are plenty of events to fill your calendar with, all the while complying with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines. 

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream 

On select nights between Friday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Nov. 1, Busch Gardens will be hosting their 21st annual Howl-O-Scream event. Following CDC guidelines, the event will feature open-air scare zones instead of haunted houses. The scare zones range from Busch Gardens mainstays like Deadly Toys and “Dia De Los Muertos” to brand new zones Lycan Landing and The Junkyard. Admission is limited and reservations are recommended to guarantee a spot. Tickets start at $29.99 and more information can be found at www.buschgardens.com/tampa/events/howl-o-scream/ .  

Scream-A-Geddon 

Located in Dade City, Florida, just outside of Tampa, Scream-A-Geddon features six immersive horror attractions. The attractions range from typical haunted houses sporting names like Ravenhill Asylum and Blackpool prison to unique experiences of Zombie Paintball Assault and Bonzo’s Beer Garden. Visitors to Scream-A-Geddon have the option to “mark” themselves, which allows scare actors to grab them and possibly separate them from their groups. Tickets start at $29.95, for more information check out Scream-A-Geddon’s website: www.screamageddon.com 

Haunted Zombie Cruise 

Join the crew of the Pirate Ship, Lost Pearl, as they board the S/S American Victory to save Tampa from zombie stowaways. This haunted zombie cruise takes off from the Tampa Convention Center on a 30 minute journey. The attraction is completely open air and includes a complimentary cocktail. The ship is operating at partial capacity for healthy and safety protocols. There are select nights for the cruise between Friday, Oct. 9 and Saturday, Oct. 31. Tickets start at $39.95 and to see more information you can visit www.tampapirateship.com/events/haunted-zombie-cruises/ 

Haunted Wharf 

From Thursday, Oct. 15 to Saturday, Oct. 17, Sparkman Wharf will host its annual Haunted Wharf. The event features an interactive maze on the waterside wharf, with plenty of photo-ops and “other worldly” visitors roaming around. The event is both kid and adult friendly. Tickets for the maze are $10 and must be purchased in advance. Sparkman Wharf will adhere to CDC guidelines for its guests. More information regarding the event can be found at www.visittampabay.com/tampa-events/halloween/ 

An Eerie Evening at the Tampa Bay Hotel Across three nights, Friday, Oct. 23, Saturday, Oct. 24, and Friday, Oct. 30, Plant Museum will hold nights of intrigue where guests will have to solve a murder mystery before the killer takes another victim. With period lighting and atmosphere, guests will feel like they’ve been transported back in time. Evidence and clues will be scattered throughout the rooms for guests to put together in a timely manner. Space is limited to 30 guests per hour, with time slots of 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Masks are required and rooms will be cleaned between hours. Tickets start at $15 for members and $25 for non-members. More information is available at www.plantmuseum.com/events/eerie-evening

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