As the end of October draws near, read our pick of family friendly haunts for Halloween. From tours to terror, scareycrows to spooky secret islands there are plenty of events out there to make you scream with delight…
Ghostly Gaslight at Blists Hill
When: 26th October 2013 from 6pm
Where: Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire
£: Tickets cost £9.50 for adults, £6.25 for children (3-15 years) and £29 for a family of two adults and two children. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
What is it? Be brave, dress up in your most scary costume and go along to Blists Hill Victorian Town where the streets, shops and houses will be transformed into eerie places filled with ghosts, ghouls and monsters. The buildings will be illuminated in spectacular style and fireworks will light the night sky. Ghostly Gaslight at Blists Hill will keep all ages guessing what spooky encounter they might meet next. Will it be the wicked wizard casting spells, the local carpenter seeking victims to nail in his coffin, ghostly apparitions in the cottages’ windows or zombies looking for brains? Special effects will change the town’s peaceful streets into shadowy walkways where ghostly characters lurk, while many of the historic monuments and buildings will be illuminated with vivid colours and frightening effects. A firework show in front of the old Brick and Tile works will also produce stunning reflections in the canal.
More info: www.ironbridge.org.uk
Halloween Ghost Tour at Groundlings Theatre
When: 31st October 2013, 6pm – 11pm
Where: Groundlings Theatre, Portsmouth
£: Tickets cost £5 for adults, £4 for concessions and £12 for a family ticket.
What is it? Join live actors on a ghost tour of Groundling’s Theatre, said to be Portsmouth’s most haunted building with twists and turns at every corner. Journey through the haunted Georgian class rooms and discover more about the theatre’s ghosts, secret passages and hidden doors that appear from nowhere. The tours take place every half-hour from 6pm with the last tour starting at 10.30pm.
More info: www.groundlings.co.uk
Spooky Secret Island
When: 26th October – 1st November 2013, 10am – 5pm
Where: Royal Gunpowder Mills, Essex
£: Adults £9, children (3-15 years) £7, under 3s go free, concessions £8 and family tickets £34 (2 adults & 3 children)
What is it? Located at Waltham Abbey’s historic heritage site, Royal Gunpowder Mills offers a lively and eclectic schedule of daily activities this half term. Professor Nitrate’s evil twin Dr Gore will be hosting science shows and cooking up some horribly horrific experiments in his crazy Mad-Lab. An array of eerie activities will be available for all ages, from face painting to hat making. Transform yourself into a witch, monster or other spooky character for the day. Be prepared to get messy with some ooey gooey monster slime making and make gruesome discoveries in the feely boxes. Get in the mix with some ghost busting antics and arm yourself with gun-style rocket launchers for some fun monster and ghoul hunting exercises.
More info: www.royalgunpowdermills.com
Ghosts in the Glens Storytelling Festival
When: 25th – 27th October 2013
Where: Based around the village of Cushendall, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
£: Prices vary depending on the event. Some events are free
What is it? Spend a weekend listening to stories in the beautiful Glens of Antrim, an area rich in legend, folklore and music. Based around the village of Cushendall, this annual festival provides an autumn feast of stories, songs and music for all the family. The festival features twilight walks, late night scary stories and non-scary stories for the little ones.
More info: ghostsintheglens.com and www.discovernorthernireland.com
Building the Wicker Man
When: 27th – 31st October 2013
Where: St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff, Wales
What is it? Wicker Men were said to be burnt as a sacrifice and to mark the changing of the seasons, so at St Fagans this tradition is being revived. Roll up your sleeves to make a giant wicker man in the Celtic Village and help make this year’s be the tallest straw man yet. Visit www.museumwales.ac.uk to see the details of all the Wicker Man events taking place at the museum.
More info: www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/stfagans
Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival
When: 26th October – 3rd November 2013
Where: At various locations around Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland
£: Ticket prices vary depending on the event but many events are free
What is it? This week-long celebration is world-famous and the largest Halloween event in Ireland. The highlight on 31st October is the carnival parade and fireworks but there is much more to the celebration. Explore the city walls, enjoy spine-tingling storytelling sessions at the Foyle Valley Railway and Workhouse Museums or take a bat walk. The full festival programme can be found at derrycity.gov.uk.
More info: www.discovernorthernireland.com and www.facebook.com
When: 26th & 27th October 2013
Where: Calverley, West Yorkshire
£: The scareycrows are free to view around the village
What is it? For the second year running, Calverley will be taken over by ‘Scareycrows’. This unique Halloween event allows visitors to follow a trail of truly scary scarecrows. Copies of the “Scareycrow Trail” will be available from Calverley Post Office and Calverley News. Expect plenty of scare-witches and pumpkins! The village also runs Hoptoberfest, with pumpkin carving, gingerbread decorating and apple bobbing.
More info: www.creativecalverley.co.uk/Scareycrows
When & Where: Sun Hill Infant School, Hampshire on 30th October 2013; Eston Leisure Centre, Cleveland on 30th October 2013; Westminster Lodge, St. Albans on 31st October (all the money raised will be donated to Rennie Grove Hospice Care); Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, Stowmarket, Suffolk on 1st November 2013
£: Free – £10 depending on the venue
What is it? Why not take a spooky dance exercise class this Halloween? Popdance is a dance exercise class for everyone, aged from 3 to 93, and for Halloween they are hosting a series of ThrillerAthons. Participants can learn the dance moves to spooky songs such as Murder on the Dance Floor and Disturbia. Everyone is invited to don their Halloween outfits and get dancing.
More info: popdancekids.co.uk
Time Travellers Go…Victorian Spooky Fun
When: 26th October – 3rd November 2013, 11am – 4pm
Where: Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, Belsay, Nr Morpeth, Northumberland
£: Adults £7.90, concessions £7.10, children £4.70, family ticket £20 and English Heritage members go free
What is it? Let your little horrors scare themselves silly at Belsay Hall this Halloween with creepy crafts, spooky activities and ghost hunting galore. Meet the Victorian costumed performer for shocking tales of grave robbing!
More info: www.english-heritage.org.uk
You may also like to check out our pick of ghouls and gore for grown-ups.