Boil, boil, toil and trouble! With October just around the corner, Halloween is almost upon us. So get your witches hats out the dress-up box and face paints out from under the stairs - there's plenty of spooky shenanigans to be had. With tons of Halloween events for kids (and big kids) up and down the country, get out and about this October half-term with these frighteningly family-friendly activities and events, some of which are included in The National Lottery Days Out voucher scheme.
Drusillas is gearing up for a frightfully fun half-term this October. As well as devilish décor – from pumpkins and cobwebs to spiders and skeletons – there’ll be an array of activities to keep your mini monsters busy. Venture through creepy cobwebbed corridors in the park’s live-action haunted house experience, go hunting for an ancient mummy, meet the iconic Sugar Skull Witch and have exciting encounters with a range of creepy crawlies, like cockroaches, locusts and Asian forest scorpions. They can even have some freaky face painting done down at the Petrifying Parlour and take part in the park’s fancy-dress competition.
Wands and wits at the ready… The Dark Arts have retuned to the Harry Potter studios. From late September to early November, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Watford will be infiltrated by the symbol of Lord Voldemort, the Dark Mark. Projected throughout the tour, the Mark will lead you through all the Harry Potter film sets, from the Great Hall with its 100 floating pumpkins to the Forbidden Forest filled with giant spiders. If you’ve got your spells memorised, you can even take part in a live duel with Death Eaters.
Between the 6th and 8th October, you can even dine amongst Death Eaters as Hogwarts After Dark returns to the Great Hall.
The London Dungeon
The London Dungeon is the true home of Halloween, with year-round jumps, frights and chilling stories about the capital’s perilous past. But for the whole month of October, the Dungeon gets an even more ghoulish addition to accompany its collection of haunting tales, rides and characters – an exclusive Halloween show. We’d steer clear of trying one of Mrs Lovett’s pies if we were you.
If you’re based in the north, both Blackpool and York Dungeons have their own morbid makeovers, with plenty more nightmarish stories of happenings closer to home.
Visit one of Britain’s most haunted castles for Halloween this year. The castle hosts an array of weird and wonderful activities, from the Sledgehammer House of Horrors tours to The Scary Maze. Little devils will love the Ghostly Grotto, with face painting, lantern making and drumming workshops, while aspiring witches and wizards may prefer learning about spells, potions and charms on the Witch Hunters trail.
Spooky Farm Fun at Tapnell Farm Park
Yarmouth, Isle of Wight
Join Wanda the Witch and her team of Scatty Scarecrows at Tapnell Farm’s Magical Pumpkin Patch this October. After picking your very own pumpkin straight form the stalk, you can carry it over to the Pimp my Pumpkin carving cabin where you can turn your orange vegetable into a spooky masterpiece. Rosella the Fortune Teller is also on hand to conjure up special tarot card readings for kids and grown-ups and you’ll be able to meet special guests and animals at the Bugs and Beasties show.
Lord Vampyre has plenty up his sleeve this Halloween at Legoland Windsor. Little monsters from far and wide can sink their teeth into Monster Rocker’s Pumpkin Trail; follow the Creepy Crypt trail; take part in costume competitions and lots more. And don't end your frightfully fun family day out without joining Lord Vampyre himself at the Haunted House Monster Party Ride – it’s fang-tastic!
Scary story fans big and small (from as little as 5 years old!) should get their hands on tickets to this London-based tour, which recounts the haunted history of some of the city’s most famous attractions, including The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. On board a lovingly restored 1960s Routemaster bus, you’ll be treated to one of the best comedy-horror theatre experiences on two wheels, with tales of royal executions and devious spirits.
Halloween Spooktacular at Audley End Miniature Railway
Audley End, Essex
Suitable for even the smallest of monsters, this spooky, scare-free experience will get the whole family in the Halloween mood. Your journey will begin at Audley End Miniature Railway Station where you’ll board the Halloween Express before delving into the tall, dark woodland. At your destination, the witches’ house, you’ll get to watch monsters dance around cauldrons, meet Belinda the Fortune Telling Witch and help the King of the Woods, William the Wizard, perform his spells. Be sure to book an afternoon slot too if you want to see the trees adorned with lights.
Paulton’s Park puts the ‘happy’ in ‘Happy Halloween’, at their friendly yet frightful fun fest. Meet Peppa Pig as she rocks her spookiest costume, brave the rides after dark and attempt to count the 10,000 pumpkins dotted across the park! The highlight of the day though is The Legend of Paultons Manor stage show, which follows the Spirit Squad as they try to throw the best Halloween party ever. This singing and dancing extravaganza is not to be missed.
Join ghosts, ghouls, wizards and witches on the grounds of Warwick Castle this October half-term for some family-friendly frights. From secret spells to bubbling cauldrons, you’ll uncover eerie experiences around every corner. Navigate the Horrible Histories maze, have a nose around the spooky mansion and discover quirky characters in spellbinding shows. If you’re brave enough, turn your visit into a spine-tingling sleepover at the Fright’s Village, complete with bedtime ghost stories.
The Glorious Glowing Lantern Parade
If you go down to the woods this October, you’ll certainly be in for a surprise. After the sun sets over the trees, BeWILDerwood Cheshire, a woodland adventure park based on the book series by Tom Blofeld, will be transformed into a magical light extravaganza. As dusk falls, you can craft your own Boggle Bindle Lantern before navigating through mysterious twilight paths, keeping an eye out for friendly characters peeking out to say ‘yoo-hoo’. There’ll be plenty of yummy grub waiting at the end of the parade too… hot chocolates all round?
Budding witches and wizards ages 3 to 14 years are invited to attend Kentwell’s School for Sorcery this half-term. With parents in tow, you can explore spooky zones around Kentwell’s buildings, gardens and grounds, with lots of fun challenges and activities like broomstick flying and spell casting to get stuck into. Don’t forget to dress up in your favourite cloaks – all activities are outdoors so it might get chilly.
Visit the childhood home of Anne Boleyn this Halloween for some sinister surprises. With help from characters who’ll teach you all their delights and frights, you and your little ones will explore Hever Castle's grounds on the Ghoul School Audio Trail to learn how to become the perfect monsters. Once you’ve mastered the tricks of the trade, you’ll also have the chance to plant some garlic bulbs to ward off any stray vampires.
In need of some serious scaring? The Kentish castle is also hosting Halloween Scream – fright nights aimed at kids (and big kids) aged 14 and over.
The Isle of Wight’s most famous theme park transforms into a Halloween spectacular for two whole weeks in October. The family-friendly Frights & Sprites event will have lots to keep your little monsters busy, from puppet shows and spooky discos to fancy-dress competitions and endless arts and crafts. There’ll be a brand-new ghost story at the Rumpus Mansion Live, and lots of mini beasts to look out for in the Gremlin Quest. All the festivities are included in a standard park ticket so you can enjoy all of the park’s other attractions and experiences too.
As for the bravest of grown-ups, there’s Terror Island – the Isle of Wight’s biggest scare event with three epic scare mazes, live DJ sets and plenty of food and drink.
Bedsheet ghosts, toilet-paper mummies and aspiring witches are welcome to join in the fun at Reddish Vale Farm’s Halloween event. Taking place throughout October, this farmyard festival has lots of activities and attractions to keep your little devils entertained. Ride the Spooky Express tractor tide, take part in Vampire Archery, play Witches Hat Hoopla and pet the farm’s smallest of animals. The kids can even pick their own pumpkin before taking it to the Carving Cavern to create a haunting masterpiece. There are prizes, too, for all children who come in fancy dress.
See gruesome history come to life this October at one of the most haunted places in the UK. The little ones can brew up magical potions under the watchful eye of resident warlock, Merlin, down in the Castle’s Crypt in a magical family-friendly potion making session, while courageous teens can join an evening tour to hear the haunting stories of Oxford Castle & Prison’s 1,000-year history. On your journey you’ll explore the vaulted well chamber, visit the punishment cells and descend down into the crypt, with some parts of the tour taking place in pitch black. Who knows what or who you’ll discover.
Thorpe Park Fright Nights
Got a pack of teenagers to entertain this Halloween? Be sure to visit England’s most notorious Halloween event at Thorpe Park. For two decades, the Fright Nights event has preyed on its visitors’ darkest fears, with its creepy atmosphere, infamous mazes and spine-chilling scare zones. And this year, it returns for another fearful celebration. Visit the island on dates throughout October to experience thrilling rides in the dead of night (including the sick and twisted games of Jigsaw on SAW – The Ride), escape lunatic lumberjacks in brand-new scare mazes and witness an awe-inspiring fire and light display.
Dive into a gory story of medicine through time at Sick to Death, one of Chester’s newest attractions. Smell the past in the autopsy room; meet Asclepius, the ancient Greek God of medicine; wander a talking graveyard; and learn about how skeletons can tell us about a person’s past in this grossly intriguing attraction. If that wasn’t enough, this macabre museum of medicine is keeping the spirits alive with extra Halloween touches. During the day, the kids can get stuck into spell making at the witch’s table and show off cool wounds and scars (painted on by a talented make-up artist). Older children and grown-ups, however, may prefer an after-dark tour of the exhibit – but beware, you’ll have company.
Add some grisly history to your Halloween fun this October with these year-round ghost tours in Liverpool. Immerse in fact-filled 90-minute tours of the city’s haunted heritage, packed with spirited storytelling, humorous history and sinister sites. Suitable for all ages, Shiverpool offers a variety of different tours, including a comedy-horror road trip on-board a vintage Routemaster bus. Learn about tales of slavery, plague and city slums, explore a former city morgue and walk down the most haunted street in northern England – if you dare.