Howl-O-Scream returned for its 17th season in 2016, with Evil Encore as the theme. The event featured seven haunted houses, two of which were new for the season. The popular show Fiends also returned.
- Motel Hell (New)
- The Black Spot (New)
- Zombie Mortuary
- Circus of Superstition: The Last Laugh
- Death Water Bayou
- Zombie Containment Unit 15: Moving Targets
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Howl-O-Scream 2016 ran for a total of 21 nights, with hours of 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Freaky Preview weekend was on Friday and Saturday, September 23 and 24, and the event then ran each Thursday through Sunday from September 29 through October 30, 2016.
The theme for Howl-O-Scream 2016 was Evil Encore, described in promotional material:
Mr. Karver put his heart and soul into his dolls. After the authorities came to close him down, Karver locked himself in his “Hall Of Dolls” and burned it to the ground. Now, the dummies are back and they insist the show must go on. It’s the encore no one asked for, and it’s about to bring down the house, forever. It’s the Evil Encore everyone is dying to see.
While there were no officially designated icons for Howl-O-Scream 2016, Mr. Karver and three of his dolls – Augustus, Georgie, and Max – were featured in some of the advertisements and promotional materials. Georgie, the most life-like of the figures, was used most often.
Two new houses joined the lineup – Motel Hell and The Black Spot. Motel Hell was located behind Xcursions gift shop replacing The BASEMENT. The park described the new house:
Nightmares become reality at this deserted motel once you realize why it’s conveniently vacant. The paranormal presence of its former owners still lurks on the untouched property, mysteriously preventing the brave souls who are attempting to tear it down. Guests who dare to enter will find themselves face-to-face with their worst nightmares and inescapable fate.
The Black Spot replaced Deadfall:
When Saw Tooth Silas, an infamous pirate, decides that one should no longer exist, he marks them for death. Victims are then sent to The Black Spot, where they meet their horrifying demise. The trick lies within the dimly-lit corners of the mysterious hideaway, holding the secret to escape… or demise.
Five haunted houses returned to the lineup – Zombie Mortuary, Circus of Superstition: The Last Laugh, Death Water Bayou, Zombie Containment Unit 15: Moving Targets, and Unearthed. As is the case each year with returning houses, some changes were made. Most notable was the removal of the Scarlett storyline from Unearthed.
Instead of designated scare zones, the event was advertised as having “Inescapable Roaming Hordes” that could pop up to terrorize guests anywhere in the park, although the map did feature seven designated areas where you were most likely to see them. Those “beware zones” had additional set pieces, and the area on the bypass pathway between Stanleyville and Congo had a name – Wasteland. Additionally, a zone was set up outside of the park gates around the ticketing area featuring Mr. Karver and his dolls.
Along with the haunted houses and roaming hordes of scare actors, guests could also deal with zombies at Ubanga Banga Bumper Cars, renamed Crash Test Dummies for the event.
Fiends returned as the only show for Howl-O-Scream 2016. The Bar at Club Karver was the name for the event’s 21-and-over bar which moved to Garden Gate Cafe from its previous location at Marrakesh Theater. There and at other bar locations around the park, guests could enjoy the signature cocktails – Karver’s Creation and Evil Encore.
Along with several of the park’s regular restaurants and concession stands, the Howl-O-Scream Food Truck also returned to Gwazi Plaza, featuring items including hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, fries, and a full-service bar.
Single night admission was available as low as $45 (or $35 for annual pass members) as part of a Summer Deal. In addition to the earlier ticket deals like that, Howl-O-Scream 2016 also featured a 4-Pack Ticket Deal starting at $35.99 per person. In October, a special $39.95 ticket deal for college students was offered on Thursday and Friday evenings. University of South Florida students were able to get $60 off the gate price on the final two nights of the event by showing their school ID and ticket stub from the weekend’s football game.
A variety of “Evil Upgrades” were also available to choose from, with pass member discounts of 10% applicable on each. These included two versions of Front Line Fear and three levels of VIP Packages. The regular Front Line Fear options allowed the guest front of the line access to six haunted houses (Zombie Containment Unit 15 not included). Front Line Fear Extreme also added front of the line access to most of the major rides, including Cobra’s Curse and Falcon’s Fury. Both versions of Front Line Fear also included special discounts at gift shops and on photos. Pricing varied depending on the date, starting at $45 for Front Line Fear and $55 for Front Line Fear Extreme.
The VIP Packages were offered at three different levels – Super, Mega, or Ultimate. Each package offered the following: admission for the night at Howl-O-Scream; a tour of the park with a “Howl-O-Scream Insider” ambassador; front of the line access to six houses (Zombie Containment Unit 15 not included); exclusive check-in bar and private beverage stations in park with complimentary beer, soda, and water; a complimentary photo; and special gift shop & photo discounts. The Mega option also included front of the line access to most attractions and preferred parking. The top tier Ultimate package included everything already mentioned, plus a private tour guide for the evening, a private character meet & greet, a half-hour early access to select houses, and priority access to Zombie Containment Unit 15. Pricing for the VIP Packages was date dependent, starting at $89 for Super, $119 for Mega, and $229 for Ultimate.
Fright Feast also returned for Howl-O-Scream 2016, with prices ranging from $21 to $29 depending on the night chosen. It included a meal, showing of Fiends, and front of the line access to houses until 8:30 p.m.
Following a three day countdown on the event’s social media channels, the park first teased the event on May 13, 2016. The park shared Howl-O-Scream would run on 21 select nights from September 23 through October 30. A video on YouTube showing highlights of people being scared at different houses was also released.
On June 8, 2016, the park released more details for Howl-O-Scream 2016 including the name of the theme, specific event dates, and a Summer Deal with single night admission priced at $45 each for the general public, or $35 for annual pass members. Annual pass members also had the option of purchasing two nights of visits for $50. A teaser video was also part of the announcement:
The first house was announced on July 8, 2016, with Circus of Superstition: The Last Laugh returning for the season.
Ten days later on July 18, Unearthed was revealed as the second house of the 2016 lineup.
July 21, 2016, saw the announcement that Fiends was returning.
As more details were released about the event through the park’s various social media channels, a new Howl-O-Scream account was launched on Snapchat to aid in promotion.
On August 9, 2016, the park released more details about the event including the two news houses – Motel Hell and The Black Spot – and details on upgrades. Part of the release of information also included another teaser video:
Death Water Bayou was announced as house number five in the lineup on August 18, 2016.
On August 24, Zombie Mortuary was announced to return to Howl-O-Scream 2016.
By the end of August, the name of the 21-and-over area at Garden Gate Cafe had changed from The Bar at Club Hell to The Bar at Club Karver.
While it had already been listed in the details of some of the Evil Upgrades available several weeks earlier, the seventh and final house, Zombie Containment Unit 15: Moving Targets, was officially revealed on September 8, 2016.
In September, guests got to choose the name of the ship for The Black Spot by popular vote. The choices were Devil’s Bride, Greedy Demon, or Neptune’s Ghost. The winning name was Devil’s Bride.
Those in attendance on opening night, September 23, 2016, included park president Jim Dean and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment CEO Joel Manby.
A media & VIP event was also held on opening night. Invited guests received front of the line access to the roller coasters, Falcon’s Fury, and to all of the houses except Zombie Containment Unit 15. A look at the media badge from the event:
The park remained open and Howl-O-Scream 2016 continued to operate when Hurricane Matthew passed along the east coast of Florida in early October.
Images & Videos
An assortment of images from the event shared through the Howl-O-Scream Twitter account:
Behind the scenes look at the process to create and film for the Evil Encore theme:
Along the lines of a behind-the-scenes look, the park shared a short time-lapse video of teachers becoming zombies as part of their annual High School Journalism Day:
The park shared a short video with two different proposals at Howl-O-Scream 2016, identifying the couples as Shaun & Jessica and Mike & Melissa:
Several 360-degree views of the Howl-O-Scream Shop of Horrors:
The park released several video clips throughout the event showing guests experiencing Howl-O-Scream, including members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders:
The Howl-O-Scream 2016 season wrapped up with a look back at some of the “mean tweets” from guests, read & replied to by several characters from Fiends & other scare actors:
A four-panel brochure promoting the event (click each thumbnail for full image):
A six-panel mailer that was sent out to annual pass members advertising Howl-O-Scream 2016 (click each thumbnail for full image):
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Last update: January 26, 2021