Half term is here and there’s Halloween fun to be had for children of all ages. From pumpkin picking to shopping and shows, read on to get a head start on planning the days out and activities you won’t want to miss:
Written by Lisa Proffitt | 24th October 2019
Michael Graham’s Guide to October Half Term
The Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden is worth a visit at any time of year and especially so at Halloween. Roald Dahl’s Twisted Tales: Bewildering Baddies and Folklore Fiends explores characters from the Bonecruncher to the Grand High Witch plus craft workshops creating potions, puppets and masks are guaranteed crowd pleasers. Green Dragon Eco Farm in Hogshaw has pumpkin carving workshops with staff dressed as ghosts and ghouls awarding on the spot prizes for costumes, so don’t forget your witches hat. If children are busy trick or treating and open-water swimming is on your bucket list, Willen Lake in Milton Keynes will be sprinkled with illuminated floats on Halloween night when for just £15 you can join the town's open water swimming club for a bracing dip.
Hitchin Lavender is diversifying into the increasingly popular pick your own pumpkin market at their farm this year. Picking your own is more expensive than buying from a supermarket but it’s great fun for children and a brilliant way to support local farmers and businesses. The hugely popular Pumpkin Trail & Treats at Knebworth House returns on Saturday 26, Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 October from midday to 4pm. Visitors are encouraged to get in to the Halloween spirit by wearing fancy dress (adults too) and a daily prize is awarded for the best costume.
Whipsnade Zoo is the biggest zoo in the country and has a range of Halloween activities including the educational extinct species graveyard where children can learn about protecting endangered species today. Mead Open Farm near Leighton Buzzard has all the usual farmyard fun for children, plus a range of Halloween activities including pick your own pumpkin and carving.
Waterstones are pulling out the stops to encourage a love of books and reading with ghost hunts in the Northampton town centre store throughout half term. Beckworth Emporium are offering half price ice-skating sessions this Halloween, with prizes for the best dressed skaters. Enjoy a gorgeous afternoon tea in the orangery afterwards. Northampton and Lamport Railway have a ghost train service running throughout half term and with a billing as “the most terrifying live ghost story in the world”, The Woman in Black at Derngate Theatre in Northampton is not for the faint hearted. Catch it if you dare from Monday 30 September to Saturday 5 October.
If a visit to a castle is on your holiday to-do list, Warwick Castle has a haunted theme which groups activities into three categories of escalating fright to keep everyone age-appropriately terrified. Book now for discounted tickets.
Grown-ups need half term treats too, so if you enjoy a spot of retail therapy head to Bicester Village Designer Retail Outlet in Oxfordshire where participating stores are offering 20% off already heavily discounted prices from 18 October to 3 November. An adventure playground in the shopping village provides space for shop-weary children to let off steam, and there’s a variety of dining options whether you’re after a quick bite to eat or a leisurely lunch. Register for Privilege, the Bicester Village free VIP programme to qualify for the discounts, and don’t forget your wallet.
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