Weeks before the last ghoul shrieks bloody murder and last goblin jumps out from the shadows, officials at Busch Gardens are already thinking about next year’s Howl-O-Scream.
Planning for the park’s annual Halloween event is a year-round effort, involving everything from food and entertainment to merchandising and general operations. It’s not enough to dust off the decorations and build the same haunted houses. Attractions have to be ever bigger, better and scarier.
“It’s a huge event for us,” said park president Jim Dean. “We have a lot of people who have made it a tradition, and we have to keep the event fresh every year.”
Next to Christmas and the summer travel season, Halloween has become the third-busiest time of year for many theme parks. Parks don’t release attendance and revenue figures for specific events, but one expert estimates Halloween events generate 10 to 15 percent of a park’s annual revenue.
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