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Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends bring Halloween fun to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

by Susan and Simon Veness

Join Elmo, Cookie Monster, Count von Count, and their friends for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s family-friendly autumn event, Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends.

Youngsters favorite Sesame Street friends prove Halloween can still be fun even in COVID-restricted times as Busch Gardens hosts the popular Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends, featuring trick-or-treating, a rollicking song-and-dance show, cookie decorating, and beloved characters all dressed up and ready to celebrate!

And, of course, the park’s rides and attractions will be running, for a fun-filled day the whole family will enjoy. 

Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends run each Saturday and Sunday from Oct. 3-Nov. 1, from noon until 3 p.m. and all events (with the exception of cookie decorating) are included with park admission.

Special weekend activities include:

Contact-Free Trick or Treating

The Sesame Street Safari of Fun play area allows for safe distancing as children visit spread-out candy stations collecting Halloween treats. Park ambassadors distributing candy will be wearing gloves and protective masks, and youngsters can collect their treats in a touchless manner. Take note, guests participating in trick-or-treating will be asked to purchase a reusable bag, themed for the event.

The Count’s Not-Too-Spooky Howl-O-Ween Radio Show

Count von Count is the “master of scare-emonies” at this family-friendly song and dance show featuring favorite Sesame Street characters Abby Cadabby, Cookie Monster, Zoe, Grover, Oscar, and Elmo. Get up and dance along as the Count and his friends put on a not-too-spooky Halloween performance!

Shows take place at Sesame Street Safari of Fun’s outdoor Sunny Days Theater 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m., and capacity is limited to allow for distanced seating.

Cookie Decorating with Cookie Monster

cookie monster

New this year is the chance to decorate cookies with Cookie Monster! Participants receive a packaged cookie decorating kit and their choice of bottled water or milk, and they can even take part in a physically distanced photo with Cookie Monster. 

This opportunity takes place at Gwazi Event Pavilion, where each party will be seated at their own table. Reservations are required. It’s $14.99 per person. Pass Members save 20%.

Character Photo Ops

Also new this year, Big Bird, Oscar, and Count von Count wearing their Halloween finery will be available for physically distant photos.

All guests are welcome to show off their Halloween costumes while enjoying the park (no costume mask or hoods allowed for ages 12 and under).


With all the kid-friendly fun going on, adults are not forgotten! Two of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s most popular seasonal events return this year, with significantly limited capacity for enhanced safety.

Bier Fest beer

The open-air annual event, Bier Fest, features 16 culinary cabins offering local craft brews, international beers, wine, and cocktails, and tantalizing meals and snacks.  The event runs Sept. 12 – Nov. 15 on Fridays from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from noon – 6 p.m. 

Pass Members visiting Bier Fest in September receive three free food, beer, wine, or cocktail samples by visiting a Zone A Self Service Kiosk, scanning their pass, and printing out a complimentary-sample coupon.

And, of course, the massively popular festival of fright, Howl-O-Scream, returns for its 21st year, this time in modified form. Muster all of your courage for 10 terrifying outdoor scare zones, and the outdoor Fiends Show starring Dr. Freakenstein, with performances at 8:30 and 10 p.m. 

Howl-O-Scream runs on weekends (7 p.m. – midnight Friday – Saturday, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. Sunday) from Sept. 25 – Nov. 1. Event ticket and a theme park reservation, plus facial coverings, are required.

As part of the safety measures for park capacity and physical distancing, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay requires all guests to have a theme park reservation in advance of their visit. Each guest must undergo a temperature screening, and every visitor age 2 and up must wear a face covering.

Visit buschgardens.com for more information, or to purchase admission tickets. 

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