October is in full swing, which means the excitement for Halloween is too. Every store is full of decorations and candy, but things are different this year. The recent pandemic seems scarier than any Halloween horror movie, and because of it, theme parks have had to change the way they celebrate.
When it comes to typical haunted houses, guests are confined to a small area with cast members frightening them in any way they can. However, theme parks have had to decide if these haunted attractions are worth the risk.
Universal Orlando has decided to go the safer route, cancelling 2020’s Halloween Horror Nights. The parks will close at normal hours, with no additional scares. However, they have decided to add two haunted houses that will be included with daytime admission passes. They are also adding additional activities to commemorate the season. For instance, Universal is adding is trick or treating for children under the age of 13. They can get a bag, and then go to multiple stores within Islands of Adventure to get candy. This theme park is also allowing guests to wear costumes on certain dates to celebrate the holiday.
The canceling of this seasonal tradition is causing Universal to lose even more money, being that people all around the region travel to join in on this event. Universal Orlando’s revenue has fallen 94 percent since the national shutdown, and the industry is flopping.
Visitors are split in their opinions, some believing that Halloween Horror Nights should continue, while others believe the opposite. Some people think that canceling the tradition is keeping customers safe and the most responsible decision that could be made.
On the other hand, Busch Gardens has decided to continue with their fall tradition and will continue to hold Howl-O-Scream September 25th to November 1st. Typically, Howl-O-Scream’s haunted houses are spread throughout the park, with cramped lines and narrow hallways. Because of this, there will be no haunted houses and instead ten ‘scare zones’. Scare zones are open air sections of the theme park where cast members jump out from dark corners to frighten visitors. Busch Gardens has also gone to extensive lengths to make sure that cast members and guests are equally safe. There will be temperature checks before parties are permitted to enter the park, and hand sanitizer will be spread throughout the amusement park.
“This is the first chance I will get to safely hang out with my friends since covid-19 began, and I’m really excited to see what Busch Gardens and Universal has to offer” Sophomore Brynn Korte says.
Regardless of the things they must sacrifice, people are looking forward to celebrating the season the best and safest way they can. Halloween is an extremely popular holiday, and Covid-19 makes little effect on the excitement that is brewing for the day.
Ava Combs // Staff Writer