Can you believe it’s the end of October already? Where has this year gone? Seven months ago we were excited for another year of roller coasters, and now we’re nearing the end of Howl-O-Scream and getting ready for Christmas Town.
What has been your thoughts on Howl-O-Scream this year? Have you been yet? Do you plan on visiting the park for one last scare before they close and prepare the park for Christmas Town?
2018 is also the 20th year for Howl-O-Scream. The park geared us up for weeks leading to the opening by leaking teasers for the new mazes and scare zones.
This year we said goodbye to the mazes Bitten, Deadline, and Catacombs, and said hello to new mazes, Dystopia, Demented Dimensions, and The Vault XX. We also saw the return of Frostbite, Cornered, Circo Sinistro, and Lumberhack.
Along with the mazes, new scare zones Fool’s Court and Garden of the Souls joined forces with the returning zones, Sideshow Square, Vampire Point, Axe Alley, and Ripper Row. Fool’s Court, located in New France where Demon Street was, is full of evil jesters looking to steal your soul. Literally. These guys are great. Creepy and fun to watch. Garden of the Souls though, located in Davinci’s Garden in the San Marco area, is my absolute scare zone this year. Loosely themed to Dias De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, you can watch the skeletons as they roam while trying to steal the souls of unsuspecting park guests. I would really like to see this theme expanded on. I think they did a fantastic job with the characters and costumes, as well as the theme throughout the garden itself.
I have to say, while I absolutely LOVE the new themes this year and I hope to see them return next year, I have bitter disappointment in Sideshow Square. Since it opened two years ago, this has been my favorite zone. The team that played the circus freaks, because seriously, that’s what they were, were always amazing to watch. The gypsy fortune teller, the demon clowns, Wendy the wind up doll, and the ring leaders. I could (actually, I would) spend HOURS watching them do their thing. Interacting with guests and each other. But not this year. This has been my biggest disappointment for Howl-O-Scream this year. They replaced the majority of the troupe (minus the gypsy) with clowns. But the entertainment just wasn’t the same. If the park were to bring one scare zone back, I would ask (beg) them to bring back the original troupe.
Also a disappointment this year was Circo Sinistro. Again, since it opened two years ago, was a favorite maze. The themeing was great, the scares were good. This year, I was bored. No scares. Not one. Not even anyone trying. I think the guests walking through the maze did more scares on each other than the actual cast. Needless to say, I was so disappointed in this maze this year that I couldn’t bring myself to another walk through.
Another disappointing maze for me was Frostbite. I LOVED it last year. There was always something around the corner. The ice walls added to the feel of being inside a frozen castle. This year, it’s like they didn’t even try. It’s like the park debated about even using the space for a maze and decided at the last minute to bring it back, and then half assed the decorating. So bad that when I went through I spent more time walking through blacked out ‘hallways’ with no scares, than actually being scared. Again, this was a visit one time only maze this year.
The best mazes this year were the new ones. While I found Dystopia to be ‘just OK’, I really enjoyed Demented Dimensions and The Vault XX. I could walk through both mazes again and again and catch new details inside with their themeing and decorations. But my absolute favorite maze this year, has been The Vault XX. This maze pays homage to Howl-O-Scream’s past mazes and themes. If you can, check out the details of the various rooms and see if you can find your favorite characters from years past.
All in all, this has been another great Howl-O-Scream year. If you haven’t been yet, this is your last chance. Sunday will be the last night before the park reopens for Christmas Town. Grab and friend and head over for some last minute scares!