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What to expect from SeaWorld San Diego’s Howl-O-Scream

The scare squad at SeaWorld's Howl-O-Scream event in 2021.
(Courtesy of SeaWorld San Diego)

SeaWorld’s spooky Howl-O-Scream event is returning for its second year on weekends and select weeknights starting Sept. 16.

SeaWorld will soon be swimming with goblins, ghouls and other unearthly creatures during the second annual Howl-O-Scream event.

Starting Sept. 16 on weekends and select weeknights, this year’s event will have brand new immersive experiences, scare zones and haunted houses, said Geoff Wright, SeaWorld’s Manager of Entertainment Operations.

Attendees will enter through a specially marked “Howl-O-Scream” entrance, and at exactly 7 p.m., the festivities will begin with a “SCARE-emony” that introduces the monsters that lurk around the park. Guests will then be led through a pathway of frights into the heart of the event, where they will be free to roam the space.

The event will occupy roughly half of the park and will include the new Emperor rollercoaster and the Electric Eel and Journey to Atlantis rides, both of which will run for the duration of the event each night. Among this year’s spooky new additions is the “Darkness Falls” show, which will take place at SeaWorld’s Nautilus Amphitheater for multiple showings per night.

“It is a huge Halloween spectacular show,” Wright said. “It’s going to be filled with dancing, acrobatics, really amazing lighting and special effects and an incredible story that’s going to have some pretty neat twists.”

Attendees will also be able to explore five themed walk-through haunted houses, from the menacing “Simon’s Slaughterhouse” to the ghostly “Death Water Bayou.” Each will be packed with haunting actors, special effects and jump scares.

The actors “really just feed off of the reaction of the guests,” Wright said. “They’ve been known to actually chase you out of the maze and tell their monster buddies that you’re an easy target. That just makes it a lot more fun.”

Guests who don’t want to get too scared during the event can purchase a light up “no boo” necklace which will alert staff that they don’t want to be frightened. “No boo” necklaces will only work in select areas of the park, and are available online or in the park.

Additionally, there will be two scare areas and six themed scare zones dotted around the park, a handful of which are new to the event this year. While the scare areas will be packed with DJs, entertainment stages and bars, in addition to some mildly spooky elements, the scare zones are more unassuming and ominous.

“You’ve got fogs, lights, music and then as you get into that, all of a sudden surprise elements might be lurking in the fog and they come out and attack you,” Wright said.

The event is intended for guests 21 and older, as it contains mature adult content. For a family-friendly experience, SeaWorld’s daytime Spooktacular will run during weekends from Sept. 17 to Oct. 31. Festivities will include a hay maze and trick-or-treating, and admission is included with regular park admission.

Howl-O-Scream is ticketed separately from regular park admission. Tickets are available for purchase online for up to 55 percent off through Aug. 21 during the “Monster Sale.” Hardcore thrill-seekers can purchase an unlimited admission ticket that will grant access to all nights of Howl-O-Scream this year.

Howl-O-Scream at SeaWorld

When: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from Sept. 16 - Oct. 9 and Oct. 13 - Oct. 30, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays from Sept. 16 - Oct. 9 , Thursdays and Sundays from Oct. 13 - Oct. 30 and Monday Oct. 31

Where: 500 Sea World Drive, San Diego

Admission: Starting at $34.99

Online: seaworld.com/san-diego/events/howl-o-scream


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