I love Halloween. I don’t know how you couldn’t. It gives adults another excuse to stop acting like an adult and to have a lot of fun. Enter Howl-O-Scream.  This year’s the first time I’ve gone in a couple of years, but it never gets old.  I think all of the houses but Death Water Bayou are completely new since last time I went, and that one isn’t exactly the same it just has the same theme.

Howl-O-Scream has six haunted houses, lots of scare zones and even a show. There are also rides & restaurants open so after we’d gone through all of the houses we were able to get on a roller coaster and grab a snack before heading home. If you want to jump on a roller coaster just be aware, you may be joined by a wicked clown or who knows what else.

On top of all of that, you have to get through several scare zones to get from house to house. To be honest I love the scare zones as much as the houses. Little Nightmares (not so friendly trick or treaters), Hell on Wheels (love the sound of metal screeching on asphalt) and Deadly Toys (’nuff said) are my favorites, but they were all kind of the best. I left already wanting to come back.

The first house we visited was Insomnia: Patients Revenge. It’s about patents in a sleep institute rising up and seeking (much deserved?) revenge on their former caregivers. There weren’t a lot of jump scares, but I thought it was the most creepy of all of the houses. It was definitely more likely to cause than cure insomnia.

Then it was The Black Spot: Bloodshed where pirates were being pirates and Motel Hell: Infestation. This one was about an exterminator who decided to work his art on the guests. Rude.  It was a fun, classic haunted house. 

Those were all fun, but I think the last three were the best.

In my personal list Death Water Bayou: Wrath of the Queen is the third best. It’s pretty great, especially considering this is the one that I think was around last time I visited Howl-O-Scream. It’s scary, and I almost went the wrong way twice.  To be honest part of what made it so fun was the two girls in front of us – they were the kind of terrified that you see in the movies.  I don’t even know how (or if) they were able to talk after going through the house they screamed so much. Of course, that made them bigger targets, everyone jumped out at them. I went between laughing and jumping the entire time. I may or may not have screamed once or twice myself.

Next on my list is The Residence. A normal-looking suburban home populated with demented people? I’d say it couldn’t be but maybe they have one of those brutal HOAs. This IS Florida. I’m pretty sure this was the longest haunted house and it was really well done.  I’m surprised I didn’t lose MY voice in this one.  And of course, I almost made a wrong turn in this one too. Not a good idea when people are living in the walls…

I thought the absolute scariest was Simon’s Slaughterhouse. Maybe just a vegetarian’s point of view? I don’t think so. You have to walk through cattle chutes just to get in, with slightly suspicious people yelling sooey to you who seemed way too happy to see you. And maybe too hungry? It was all downhill from there, the open sky when you got out never looked so good.

When you go be sure to go early,  the lines get longer as the night gets later.  Be sure to drink plenty of water, but not so much you have to get out of line! You have to go knowing you will spend a lot of time in the lines, but the earlier you go (in the month and in the evening) the better the lines will be. Check their web site for parking and ticket prices. If you have an annual pass that includes parking you can use it for free parking, but the tickets to Howl-O-Scream are separate.

Here’s what you need to know to play tourist:


10165 N McKinley Dr
Tampa, FL 33612
1-813-884-4FUN (4386)