What to Pack for Busch Gardens in October + 3 Howloween Outfit Ideas

What to Pack for Busch Gardens in October 3 Howloween Outfit Ideas

If you’re considering a trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg in October, you’re in the right place! I’m going to show you why October is the best time of year to visit Busch Gardens, as well as some tips on how to make the most of your visit!

What to Wear to Busch Gardens In October

Are you looking for a fun fall activity?

Busch Gardens is one of the best theme parks in Virginia! It’s not just an amazing place to visit, but it also creates an incredible experience that you’ll remember for years to come.

You can go on thrilling rides like Tempesto and Appolo’s Chariot, see a show or take your little ones to Sesame Place to trick or treat in October.

There are so many things to do at this theme park. Plus, there are less crowds during the fall season which makes it easier to enjoy yourself without waiting in long lines all day. The crowds will be less which means you can ride more!

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is one of our favorite weekend activities and what better time to go than October. It’s cooler than the July heat, but it isn’t yet freezing like December.

We’re going to cover all the reasons to do Busch in the fall from the days and times they are open, to apparel and swag and special events like Howl-O-Scream.

Crowd Sizes at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg in October

The great thing about heading to a theme park in the Fall is that not only is the weather cooler and much more manageable, but because people are back to work, the crowds are less.

Less crowds are great for a number of reasons:

  • Ride wait times are shorter, YAY!
  • Food lines are shorter
  • You can squeeze into almost any show
  • Better + closer parking

Here’s the projected crowd calendar for Busch Gardens in October 2021. Note that Busch is closed Monday & Tuesdays, except Columbus day extended weekend.

Screen grab of Busch Gardens Crowds in October from Queue-times.com
Screengrab of Busch Gardens Crowds in October from Queue-times.com

Busch Gardens Theme Park Hours in October

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is seasonal. In October they are open for Howl-O-Scream and Count’s Spooktacular (for the little ones before 5PM).

Skip Monday and Tuesday’s and plan for a long weekend visit during October where the hours are extended and you’ll be able to make the most of your day at Busch.

Wednesday (Oct 20 & 27)
6PM – 10PM
6PM – 11PM
6PM – 11PM
10AM – 5PM Count’s Spooktacular +
6PM – 11PM Howl-O-Scream (until 10PM on Sun)

As always, you’ll want to check the website or Facebook page to verify. In fact, buying passes ahead of time is the best way to ensure admission.

Special Events in October at Busch Gardens

Howl-O_Scream for kids


Head to the milder Halloween event at Busch Gardens Williamsburg where you can trick or treat, meet your favorite Sesame Street characters, and dress up your spooky littles.

Celebrate not-too-spooky family fun during the day at The Count’s Spooktacular, on Saturdays & Sundays from Sept. 25- Oct. 31, 2021 in Busch Gardens® Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™.

Kids (under the age of nine) are invited to dress up for a costume parade and enjoy dance parties with their favorite Sesame Street® friends, a festive hay maze, pumpkin scavenger hunt and trick-or-treating throughout the park with more treats than ever before! Different themes every weekend with unique activities and special photo opportunities offer new experiences for guests with every visit.

Read all About it Here.

Howl-o-scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg


Busch Gardens® Howl-O-Scream® returns in full force, taking over the entire park with five haunted houses, four terror-tories™, four sinister shows, two party zones and unsuspecting horrors awaiting their victims at every turn.

Guests can test their thrill threshold with seven world-class coasters at night, offering a completely different ride experience. Three NEW haunted houses, two NEW terror-tories and two NEW shows make for a night of screams never to be forgotten, while returning Howl-O-Scream icons welcome back the bravest of Howl-O-Scream® fans.

Parental discretion is advised after 6:00 PM, as this year’s event contains amplified scares that are not recommended for children.

Read the Ultimate Guide to Howl-O-Scream.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Howl-O-Scream map for visiting Busch in October

What is the Weather Like at Busch Gardens in October?

Before you start packing, you will want to take a look at the weather forecast for the days of your trip. Virginia weather can go from hot and sunny to cooler temps in just a few hours, so you will want to be prepared for anything.

The historical averages tend to show warmer weather for eastern VA. In October the average temperature ranges from 75 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The average high temperature is 60.3 degrees. It is safe to say you can expect warm weather for your October trip!

October is still technically one of the warmer months in terms of weather. Early October will still be very much on the warm side, but by the end of the month things cool down a bit. Expect to see temps in the 70’s + humidity during the day.

Nightime Temps

However, you may also experience some cooler temperatures and even some chilly nights. Bring a jacket or even jeans to weather the October evenings at Busch Gardens.

October is the perfect month to make your first every Busch Gardens trip. It’s a good option because the peak travel season is over, but the weather is still gorgeous. There will still be lines and people, but far fewer guests than during the height of summer vacation.

Parents- plan a weekend trip to Busch Gardens for Columbus Day Weekend so that your children will not have to miss as much school. The weather is gorgeous and there’s fright in sight.

What to Pack in Your Park Bag at Busch Gardens

What to Pack for Busch Gardens in October

Let’s get to packing for Busch Gardens in the Fall. In addition to clothing, we’ll talk about that later in the post, there is a list of essentials you’ll need for the day/weekend at Busch.

A backpack is our suggestion for your park bag for the day at Busch- it’s large enough to hold what you need and won’t be too cumbersome. If you have a stroller and diaper bag, even better!

When you head to the park entrance, you’ll go through a bag check- the are looking for weapons, drugs, etc. If you have unopened water and snacks for little ones, you can usually. get by with no problems.

Although, I’ll note outside food and drinks are prohibited. But, when you have little ones who require sippy cups, bottles, formula, and finger foods that aren’t available to purchase in the park, I find they give you leeway to bring what you need to care for your toddlers.

Ultimate List of What to Pack in Your Park Bag at Busch Gardens

  • Backpack
  • Water
  • Kid’s snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • Poncho for rain
  • Extra jeans or sweatshirt
  • Phone charger
  • Watch & phones
  • Wallet
  • Id & credit card
  • Tickets of barcode
  • Sunglasses
  • Baby wipes
  • Lanyard
What to Wear to Busch Gardens In October- three outfit ideas from sweatshirts, tennis shoes and backpacks

Park Bag


If you’re traveling to Busch Gardens for a full day or weekend adventure, you’re going to want to bring a backpack.

You can hold all of the essentials to get you through the day with this go bag from snacks to wipes and preparing for sun and rain.

Packing Light

For days we want to pack light, I love a crossbody bag. I bring a small crossbody purse that holds my wallet and some baby wipes. I can take it on rides tucked under my seat (bum).


You can bring an unopened water bottle into the park, but I highly recommend your first stop being at a kiosk to purchase 2 of the refillable souvenir cups which will run you about $12-15 a cup.

But the benefit of these cups is that you get unlimited free refills on day 1 and any subsequent park visits, refills are 0.99 cents. We typically have one filled with Coke to give us a boost and other other always has fresh water.

It’s hot and tiring to walk for hours all day long, so water on hand makes sure everyone stays hydrated.

You can refill the cup at any beverage or dining place at Busch (or Water Country for that matter).

Kid’s snacks

I’ll put a disclaimer here that no outside food or drinks are allowed in the park. But we’re usually willing to risk it. When you have young kids, especially in strollers, you’ll need formula, water, sippy cups, and likely soft finger foods that just aren’t available in the park.

You CAN keep them in the car, but we try to bring in a few individually packaged goldfish, fruit snacks and cracker to keep the kids fed while we wait in line for food.

Worst case scenario is that you are asked to put them back in the car. But I’ve never had that happen in 8 years.


The first non consumable thing you need to bring to Busch in your bag is sunscreen. There are trees and greenery to take a break and sit under, but some lines are in direct sunlight. As you are walking from one thing to the next, there will be sun and you want to stay protected from sunburn + dehydration or you’ll end up at the First Aid station.

Poncho for rain

If the weather calls for rain, you may want a poncho. They can also be purchased in the park, so if you aren’t prepared it’s no big deal.

But if you are a planner, you can bring your own.

Extra jeans or sweatshirt

October is predictable in that the days are still hot (75 degrees) but the evenings are anyone’s guess!

Because it can get cool at night, I suggest bringing jeans or leggings and a sweatshirt to throw on if the temp drops. You can leave it in the car if you want to travel light and run out to get it if it gets cold.

Phone charger

A portable phone charger power bank good to have on hand because you’ll be taking lots of pictures and using your phone. You don’t want to run out of power!


Bring your sunnies to keep the sun out of your eyes while walking through the park.

Baby wipes

Baby wipes are good for everything! Whether wiping your hands before a meal or cleaning up the ice cream dripping down your arm. Give the table a quick swipe before sitting down at a table for extra sanitizing.


If you like to travel light like me, a lanyard can hold ID, pass and credit card so all you need are those refillable water bottles & you’re ready for the day.

Also Pack these for a day at Busch Gardens:

Don’t forget the necessities to get into the park and be able to buy things like food and drinks throughout the day.

  • Watch & phones
  • Wallet, Id & credit card
  • Tickets of barcode
What to Wear to Busch Gardens In October

What to Wear at Busch Gardens in October

Because the weather is mostly warm in Virginia in October, it’s pretty safe to wear a t-shirt and bring a sweatshirt to layer on top in the evenings in case if gets cold.

Whether to wear pants or shorts is the million dollar question. The best advice I have is to wear shorts and bring a pair of leggings or jeans to change into.

I find that my husband is fine with shorts and a sweatshirt, but for me and the kids, we need pants in the evenings because if the wind blows, it feels chilly.

  • T-shirt
  • Sweatshirt
  • Shorts
  • Leggings
  • Hat
  • Backpack or crossbody
  • Comfortable sneakers

You’ll be doing tons of walking, i.e. at least 3 miles if you walk the entire park, so wear comfortable shoes. For us, New Balance and Toms usually do the trick. I do have a pair of super rubbery Reef sandals that can handle the day as well.

Where to Get Good Deals on Busch Gardens Apparel

You can find vintage Busch tees and gear like hats and drink cups from Etsy.

Busch Gardens Ride Closures in October

The following rides at Busch Gardens Williamsburg are marked as closed during October & Howl-O-Scream:


You can check the Rides & Attractions page the day of for updated listings.

Festhaus at Busch Gardens in the Fall

Other Helpful Busch Gardens Tips

Use the other tips to make the best of your fun, fall day at Busch Gardens – Williamsburg.

Use Quick Queue

Skip the lines with multiple Quick Queue options for your day or weekend to make the most of more rides, fast.

Take Pictures of Everything!

Don’t forget to take photos along the day to remember your trip to Busch! You can also opt to purchase the 2021 photokey where you get photos at each attraction from park entry to pictures with the clydesdales on a drive at the end of the day. Check with guest relations to get yours.

Pack Snacks

As noted above, pack individually packaged snacks for the little ones.

Bring Water and Sunscreen

Make sure you hydrate and use sunscreen.

Let Your Kids Dress Up

For October’s Count’s Spooktacular event, kids under 12 can dress up in their favorite Halloween outfit to enjoy the festivities in style.

Bring a Stroller for Your Kids

We always find it helpful to bring a lightweight umbrella stroller like our Maclaren to hold our things, carry snacks, use the cupholders, and give the kids a rest when they’re tired from walking the park.

Park Tickets & Reservations

It’s always best to buy advanced tickets, Fun Cards, and multi day- multi park passes. Get them here.

What to Wear to Busch Gardens In October

I hope you enjoyed this post on what to Pack for your October Busch Gardens day trip! Happy Halloween!

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