Halloween thrills at area amusement parks

Bush Gardens HolloweenWNothing gets the adrenaline pumping more than an amusement park — except maybe an amusement park at Halloween.

Several area theme parks offer special activities in October. If your family is looking for a thrill this fall, check out the events at some of the parks in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Make sure to note which are geared toward younger kids and which are not for the faint of heart.

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream
 Enjoy your favorite rides, roller coasters, attractions and fall décor during the day. Then, at 6 p.m. the park become home to a host of creepy creatures hungry for unsuspecting victims. Fear abounds in the collection of elaborate haunted houses, immersive themed Terror-tories ™, and darkly entertaining live shows. This year, all-new terrors await with a new haunted house, Circo Sinistro, and a new scare zone, Sideshow Square ™. Consider the park’s elevated scare factor when deciding whether Howl-O-Scream is appropriate for young children.
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday Sept. 23 through Oct. 30. Opens at 10 a.m. and becomes seriously scary at 6 p.m. when the haunts come out.

Dutch Wonderland Happy Hauntings
This family event features themed rides, special entertainment, tasty treats and a Trick-or-Treat Trail.
Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 15-30. Visit the website for times. Dutchwonderland.com

Hershey Park in the Dark
The family-focused event has Halloween-themed rides and experiences, a Trick-or-Treat Adventure featuring a candy trail, and 13 roller coasters including a lights-out adventure on three coasters.Fright Fest
Admission also includes a visit to Creatures of the Night at ZooAmerica. Take a flashlight and experience the zoo after dark.
Friday-Sunday, Oct. 14-30. Hours are Fridays, 5-10 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sundays, noon-9 p.m.

Kings Dominion Great Pumpkin Fest and Halloween Haunt
The Great Pumpkin Fest is a family-oriented street party that includes a petting zoo, foam pit, pumpkin painting, trick-or-treating and more.
Saturdays and Sundays Sept. 24 through Oct. 30, noon-5 p.m.
Halloween Haunt is a scary evening activity that includes mazes with names like Club Blood, Cornstalkers and Maze of Madness. There are also Scare Zones with names like Feary Tales, The Lair and Necropolis.
Scary shows are in the theaters and rides are open for more thrills. Friday, Saturday and Sundays, Oct. 7-30. See website for times.

Six Flags Fright Fest
Thrills By Day includes monster characters, trick-or-treating, interactive kids dance shows, rides and more.
Fright By Night includes several haunted attractions, including The Awakening, Dead Man's Party and Rise of the Occult: A Stunt Massacre. Also catch dance shows, magic, and a new bloody stunt show as well as the usual rides.
Select days Sept. 24-Oct. 31. Hours vary.

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