Howl-O-Scream 2016 delivers scares, surprises

October 31, 2016

Did you attend Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream? Read house recaps from our staffers Morgan Felt and Kaitlyn Corwin below.

Circus of Superstition: The Last Laugh

Staffer Morgan Felt shares her experience at Howl-O-Scream’s Circus of Superstition: The Last Laugh

I clutched the pair of paper 3D glasses in my hand so hard they began to crumple, the sweat in my hands infusing with the cardboard. I slowly trudged towards my doom, entering the inside of a giant neon clown mouth.

As I entered I was greeted with a stripped walls and white draping in my face as I eagerly and nervously batted them away, which kept me occupied so I almost didn’t notice the man (or woman) dressed in a stripped vinyl body suit that perfectly matched the walls.

In the next room dozens of neon clowns appeared standing completely still, all in different equally obscure outfits and makeup. There eyes all seemed to follow you, but with reason because one the clowns was not simply a print, As I was exiting the last clown whispered in my ear so quietly, “hello.”

The hairs on the back of my neck shot up as I whipped around and was startled by a white clown face, florescent in the black light. I immediately clutched on to the friend next to me and jolted into the next room.

Afterwards we shuffled hesitantly through a seemingly out of place room with a large orange ladder in the center. I nearly forgot about the glasses’s responsibility for the life-like reality of the props and characters, so I momentarily took them off to see the reality of the house. I was to say the least surprised by the results. The house was significantly less life-like and the giant neon orange ladder now looked like an out of place household necessity.

To exit the house we sprinted through a giant clown mouth with large black strips of fabric hanging down, blocking the sunlight.

We were finally greeted by the dim moonlight and the familiar concrete, and I finally knew that it was over.

Zombie Containment Unit 15


I’d be lying if I said my heartbeat didn’t speed up a little bit as we got closer to the front of the line. The lights were completely out and the only thing we could see or hear was screams of terror coming from inside the hallowed walls of the Zombie Containment Unit 15 house.

My friends and I had just arrived at Howl-O-Scream and, coincidentally, had picked this haunted house, the interactive one with the longest line, to be our first. Before reaching our current point at the front of the line, fright was the last thing on our minds. Instead of our skin crawling from anxiety, we were laughing at Sean’s [Piontek (’17)] resistance to going in first.

“I am an avid lover of horror movies, and based off of that, I refuse to go first or last,” Piontek said, “Because those people are the people that die first.”

While his logic may seem sound, and it was clear, as the man of the group, defying gender roles was one of his main intentions. He was greeted with rolling eyes, lighthearted sarcastic comments, and Paula’s [Tomaszek (’17)] resonant laughter.

“He was just scared because he didn’t know what was going to be inside,” Tomaszek recalled, smiling once again. “He said that at the beginning, but in all the other houses, he literally went first, so he got over it.”

But in this particular case, I volunteered to go first, and as we neared the front of the line, the anticipation started to grab hold of me. Anticipation, in my opinion, is always what makes vaguely scary things ten times scarier. So waiting on that final platform before entering the house, I got all jittery and kept talking to my friends waiting behind me to keep my mind off what loomed in the distance.

When the man finally called us forward, I took a deep breath, and we shuffled over to the start of the house. Our tentative nature was quickly denied. Before I could even catch a glimpse of my surroundings, a brash, angry Drill Sargent threw us into a claustrophobic briefing room. My shoulder hit squarely on the make-shift wooden wall and two of my friends crashed in behind me. He started yelling at us, in stereotypical, hardcore boot camp fashion, and my eyes widened. But my anticipation turned to adrenaline, and as he pushed us out into “the field of duty,” I was more excited than anything else.

The story line behind the house involves a zombie apocalypse. There was a security breach at Containment Unit that usually held the zombies, so “civilian” house-goers were issued Zombie Eradication Devices (ZEDs), which we then carried through the different zones of the house. The scare actors jumping out at us wore small, circular targets on their chests that lit up once they were shot by the ZEDs.

I shot as many as I could, being the good Samaritan that I am, but my experience was altered slightly by the zombie that was running up behind us, causing commotion and a stoppage in one part of the house. Paula and Lianet [Diaz (’17)] were terrified, screaming out in piercing yelps, urging the stationary mass forward. All I could do was smirk. The two girls practically jumped on top of Sean, who loudly questioned their motives, and Ria [Kale (’17)] kept getting whacked in the face with rubber sheets and black streamers flung back in the wake of Sean and his two women.

When we emerged, victorious, at the end of the house, we knew we were in for a treat the rest of the night. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with good friends at the Howl-O-Scream experience and would recommend the experience before the season is over. Paula mirrors my sentiments.

“[Other students] should go, but they should take someone that is not going to complain later that his arm hurts because it was squeezed by other people that were sometimes scared.”

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  • M

    Morgan FeltOct 31, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Great Story!