A Spooktacular half-term
Need some help? Here's 40+ fangtastic things to do with kids and teens this Halloween half-term - pronto!
The chills are multi-plying as October half-term and Halloween collide this year – aaaaaagggghhhh! Need some help? We have ammo – here’s your curated Muddy guide with the top 40 activities for children and teens in Warwickshire and beyond.
The Haunted Castle, Warwick Castle, Oct 20 – Nov 4
Half-term Halloween attractions include the Haunted Hollows for the spooky woodland trail, Dead Centre Stage with its live-action performances, stories and shows throughout the day while back at the castle, Witches Tower replaces The Princess Tower. New for 2018, is the Escape Room – an actor-led attraction set within the medieval jail – and the new House of Wax scare maze. This half-term sees the return of Fire jousting, an awesome display of horseback heroics, The Castle Dungeon, for ages 10+ and for maxiumum fear factor, Séance a sonic performance that uses innovative binaural spatial audio technology to share spirits’ stories of life on ‘the other side’!
Book entrance and accommodation online at warwick-castle
Fright Nights, Kenilworth Castle, Thurs Oct 25 – Sat Oct 27
As day turns to night the castle and grounds will be transformed into a spine-chilling house of horrors – with a cast of creepy characters making themselves at home. Five to 10-year-olds will enjoy more child-friendly frights from 6-7pm, before the fear factor is taken up a level from 7pm. After 7pm it’s recommended anyone with a nervous disposition and children under 10 do not attend! Ticket price includes entry to site and event.
Booking is recommended, english-heritage.org.uk Tel: 0370 333 1181
Children’s Halloween Evening & Half-term Haunting, Tamworth Castle, Oct 27 – Nov 2
The Children’s Halloween evening is a fun evening hosted by the Friends of Tamworth Castle charity on Oct 27. Bring all the family, get dressed up in your spookiest costume and enjoy the ghostly goings on around the Castle. Free pumpkin lantern for all paying children. (Timed slots from 5pm – 8pm.) Throughout half-term expect a week of ghostly goings-on for 6 – 11-year-olds in this famous haunted castle, 11am – 4pm.
PUMPKIN TRAILS, HISTORIC HOUSES & GHOULISH GARDENS
Pumpkin Spooktacular, Hatton Adventure World, near Warwick
During the day on this 100-acre rural farm you can pick and carve your own free pumpkin, visit the Haunted House, ride the Bewitching Trailer Ride, listen to Terrifying Tales of Agnes The Witch, watch Halloween Magic and Puppet Shows, take part in Zombie Run and Death Match Laser Combat Battles and see Snakes Alive and Tame the Dragon. Children are also encouraged to come dressed in Halloween-themed costumes with spot prizes for the best dressed. Additionally, this year on Oct 26, 27, 30 and 31, the venue is also open after dark. Dragons, scarecrows and ghosts will become illuminated on the Bewitching Trailer Ride, Magic and Mayhem form up for amazing Illusion Shows whilst Fire-Eaters mingle with Jugglers.
hattonworld, Tel: 01926 843411
Halloween Pumpkin and Ghostly Trails, Charlecote Park, Baddesley Clinton, Coughton Court and Packwood House, all week
Pick up a trail around the various garden and parklands then collect your pumpkin or tasty treat prize at the end. Trails cost £2.50 – £3. Normal admission applies for non-National Trust members. Wellies recommended! Interestingly, Charlecote also has a First World War Experience, looking at its impact on the Lucy family and their estate.
Pumpkin Carving ZooLab & Puppet Theatre, Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, Stratford, Daily, Sat Oct 27 – Nov 4
Get creative with your own pumpkin designs in a marquee in the Falconer’s Field, (£1.50-£3, depending on the size of the pumpkin!), ZooLab return with their entertaining Tudor creature workshop on Mon Oct 29 (12 – 4pm) and see Muddy Stilettos’ Award-winning best Children’s Business in action – Castle Small Puppet Theatre – who are presenting a special Halloween show on Wed Oct 31 (12.30 & 2.30pm).
Dr Nerium’s Garden of Ghouls, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Fri Oct 26 – Sun Nov 4
A live action spooky trail through the Birmingham Botanical Gardens featuring street food, performers, music and entertainment, with earlier time slots available suitable for the whole family and all ages. Time slots booked after 7pm are recommended only for visitors aged 14+.
Potion-making, Murder & Mayhem and Gunpowder plot live drama, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford, Sat Oct 27 – Nov 4
Macbeth comes to New Place, with potion-making around the cauldron in a witches’ cave in the Great Garden (daily, 12pm – 4pm). Learn how New Place was also the site of two real murders that could have been plucked from one of Shakespeare’s plays (daily, 2pm) and on Sat Nov 3 see a 30-min costumed presentation about The Gunpowder Plot and how the plotters escaped into Warwickshire by Live’n History (12noon & 1pm).
Pumpkin Picking, Malt Kiln Farm Shop, Stretton-under-Fosse, Rugby; Pumpkins R Us, Leamington Road Kenilworth CV8 2LP
Fancy picking your own pumpkin?
Halloween-themed crafts & Zoolab Creature Workshops, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, all week
Head to the Family Activity Marquee and make some spooky crafts to take home. On Thurs Nov 1 meet the creatures around when Shakespeare was growing up with the brilliant ZooLab.
Meet a Pumpkin Patch Tarantula, Stratford Butterfly Farm, all week
New to the Butterfly farm this Halloween is The Pumpkin Patch, a spider originating from Colombia, with distinctive, brightly-coloured orange and yellow markings on its stomach. Although fairly small in size, it has plenty of attitude and is on display in Minibeast Metropolis. Throughout half-term the twice-daily Meet the Mini-Beast sessions will have a spooky theme.
butterflyfarm, Tel: 01789 299288
Autumn walk and Daffodil Planting, Upton House and Gardens, Sun Oct 21, 22, 24, 28, 29 31 and Nov 4
Put on your wellies, kick up some fallen leaves in the Woodland Walk and see how many bees and butterflies you can count enjoying the Asters. And if it’s a rainy day, get puddle splashing! This is also the time of year to plant bulbs ready for spring. Daffodil King Alfred is one of the varieties that flower each year beneath the apple trees in Upton’s orchard.
During half-term families can pop into the potting area near the plant centre and plant three of these bulbs in a pot to take home for your garden, £3 on day. There will also be family Garden Storytelling Walks on Oct 25 and Nov 11 (11.30am & 1.30pm). Hear about Kitty Lloyd Jones who designed the garden for Lord and Lady Bearsted in the 1930s.
ZooLab Creature Workshops, Hall’s Croft, Stratford, Fri Oct 26
ZooLab return with their highly-entertaining workshops that give visitors the chance to meet a motley collection of creatures and learn about what life was like when Shakespeare was growing up, 12 – 4pm.
Tudor Superstitions, Shakespeare’s Ghosts and Find the Witches’ Familiars Trail, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford, daily
Enjoy spooky talks on superstitions, witches, ghosts, and nightmares (12noon & 2pm daily), see acting troupe Shakespeare Aloud! recreate the ghosts that appear in Shakespeare’s plays (daily, 12noon – 4pm) and find the Witches’ Familiars trail (daily).
COMEDY & THEATRE FOR KIDS AND TEENS
Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Fri Oct 26 & Sat Oct 27
Described as “India’s Aesop’s Fables”, The Panchatantra is the most frequently translated work of Indian literature, exploring the question of what it means to live a good life through extraordinary tales featuring animal characters. In this delightful new show from Tara Arts and Polka Theatre, a multi-talented cast of three bring these stories vividly to life. Ideal for children aged 7+.
belgrade, Tel: 024 7655 3055
UK TOUR: First Encounters with Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, Oct 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, Nov 1 and Nov 2
Wondering what’s the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for 7 – 13-year-olds? This special 90-minute child-friendly adapted version has been created collaboratively with schools across the country and features a live band of all-female actor-musicians percussionists. It is touring schools and theatres across the UK, but there a number of public performances for families, including a relaxed performance, in The Swan.
Debbie Isitt’s Nativity! The Musical, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tues Oct 23 – 28
Yesssss I know it’s only just October! Co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre the second UK tour of Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production of Nativity! The Musical kicks off in Coventry this October starring local schoolchildren, Simon Lipkin as Mr Poppy, Scott Garnham as Mr Maddens and Wicked star Ashleigh Gray.
Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade
Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, RST, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri Oct 12 – Sat Nov 17
Urgh, kissing! Not for younger kids, but teens may enjoy this new contemporary rendition packed with some of the RSC’s rising young stars. Directed by RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran, this is the company’s first gender-equal production of Shakespeare’s “most testosterone-fuelled” play. Set in a futuristic dystopian Troy, it will involve close collaboration with the virtuoso percussionist, Evelyn Glennie. Be quickety-quick booking tickets as it’s only on for one month!
Harry Hill’s Kidz Show: How To Be Funny – For Kids! Warwick Arts Centre, Tues Oct 23
Share the laughs with the whole family as award-winning comedian Harry Hill imparts his tips and tricks on how to be a world class joker in his new show.
DANCE: Rumpelstiltskin, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri Oct 26 – Sat Oct 27
Spectacular dance theatre for ages 7+ from award-winning balletLORENT with an updated script of this Grimm fairy tale by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, a score by Murray Gold (Dr Who), costumes by Michele Clapton (GoT) and narrated by GoT actor Ben Crompton.
THEATRE: Tartuffe, Swan Theatre, Stratford, until Feb 23
Dinosaur World Live, Warwick Arts Centre, Tues Oct 30, Wed Oct 31 & Thurs Nov 1
Families can discover a pre-historic world of remarkable dinosaurs in this raucous 50-minute interactive show for younger children, 3+. Come face-to-face with a Tyrannosaurus, a Triceratops and Stegosaurus if you dare.
The Twits, Albany Theatre, Coventry, Fri Oct 26
Roald Dahl created some really revolting characters but surely few can beat the noxious Mr and Mrs Twit! David Wood’s brilliant adaptation mixes music, song, slapstick, audience participation, shouting beards, bird pies and balloons in this interactive family-friendly production for children ages 3+. Time: 3pm
Mimbre: The Exploded Circus, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Sat Nov 3
Step into the moment where an explosion has been frozen in time, the remnants of a big top caught mid-air – with everything from circus rings, sequins and fairground horses suspended above ground in this 1 hour 10-minute performance by 6-strong female acrobatic group, Mimbre, 2.30pm & 7.30pm.
Dr Dolittle, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Sun Oct 28
A new show with original music, lots of audience participation and spellbinding puppets following the antics and exploits of the show’s charming and wacky hero and his amazing ability to talk to the animals. Time: 3pm
War Horse, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wed Oct 10 – Sat Nov 3
Soooo excited that the outstanding National Theatre production of War Horse is coming to Birmingham in October. Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and featuring those incredible, life-size puppets of the horses, it’s likely to sell-out, so please don’t leave it too late to book.
SPOOKY SCIENCE, MUSEUMS & ART GALLERIES
Halloween Spooky Science Show, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Warks, Wed Oct 31
‘Professor Pickle’ and ‘Doctor Pumpkin’ are running a 25-minute live workshop full of cool interactive demonstrations and spooky science at 11am, 1pm and 2pm for one day only. Children can also enjoy the Halloween Black Cat Trail and search the Museum for the hidden cats, to discover, with a torch, the colour of each cat’s eyes throughout the Warwickshire half term, Oct 27 -Nov 4.
britishmotormuseum, Tel: 01926 641188
The Mad Museum, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, all week
The MAD (Mechanical Art and Design) Museum this month celebrates its 5th anniversary of moving to Stratford’s most popular tourist street. This quirky family friendly attraction is the only permanent museum of its kind in the UK which showcases more than 90 pieces of kinetic art and automata. Watch and interact with mind-boggling mechanical creations such as flying mechanical birds, clever clocks and witty characters, build marble runs and learn some engineering and physics principals along the way. Open: 10am – 5.30pm.
Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Sat Oct 27 – Sat Nov 3
Children can join in a spooky Halloween hunt around the gallery, there’s Sensory Splats for babies and toddlers (Mon); while under 5’s can sing-a-long in a Mini Explorers Halloween special (Tue Oct 30, 11am) and listen to Room on a Broom (Thurs Nov 1). Older children can create a paper pumpkin (Tues, 2pm – 4pm), decorate their own spooky rock (Wed Oct 31, 2 – 4pm) and Paint and Glaze in the Café (Fri Nov 2, 10am – 1pm).
Spooky Science Night, Thinktank, Birmingham, Sat Oct 27
An after-hours Spooky Science Night making your own family light photos and glow-in-the-dark slime, see the science-of-fright show and dance in a silent Zombie disco. During the day throughout half-term there’s The Science of Fright show, Spooky Storytelling and arts activities, plus the Planetarium and Science Garden.
To check out all events at Birmingham’s 8 museums and galleries see here.
Victorian Halloween & Arty Tots Spooktacular, Market Hall Museum, Warwick, Tues Oct 30 & Thurs Nov 1
Under-5’s can get crafty and make witches, mummies and Halloween wreaths to take home on Tues Oct 30 (10am – 3pm). Older children are welcome to discover how the Victorians celebrated Halloween, laugh at some Halloween jokes and make a turnip treat box on Thurs Nov 1, (10am – 3pm), followed by a relaxed opening, 4 – 6pm. Activities £2.50.
Mad Science: Halloween Spooktacular, Benn Hall, Rugby, Wed Oct 31
Children will be able to take part in bubbling potions, making bouncy ball bats eyes and creating Frankenstein bogies potions in pumpkin. Er, nice! 10.30am & 2pm.
Go see a spooky family film: The House with a Clock in its Walls (PG) & Hocus Pocus (PG), Cinema, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington, Fri Oct 26 – 31
Go see a spooky film. Ten-year-old Lewis goes to live with his uncle (Jack Black) in a creaky old house that contains a mysterious tick-tock noise. When Lewis accidentally causes trouble, the town’s sleepy facade magically springs to life uncovering a secret world of witches and warlocks. Also starring Cate Blanchett. As a Halloween treat you can also see silly 90s classic Hocus Pocus on Wed Oct 31 at 2.30pm starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy as a coven of witches.
ROLE-PLAY GAMES: Witchcraft and Wizardry, Escape Rooms, Leamington Spa
A Halloween-themed 60-minute role play game for teams of two to five. A prankster has played a terrible trick and hidden your wand. Explore the depths of the castle and find your wand before the school bell rings. For ages 10+. Other themes include Prohibition and Contagion.
FOODIE TREAT: Halloween Horrors, Hoorays British Gelato Kitchen, Stratford-upon-Avon
Gelato chefs at this independent Stratford family-run business have gathered around their special cauldron mixing and tweaking 13 terrifyingly spooky flavours. Trick or Treat, Pumpkin Pie, Spiders Web and Eyeball Ripple are just some of the tantalising tastes on offer this Halloween half term.
ACTIVE: Jump In, Warwick
More than just a trampoline park this revamped indoor active play centres runs disco nights for teens, toddler time, fitness classes, an autism friendly sensory space and birthday parties, in addition to Open Jump sessions. Brilliant if the weather’s a bit dodgy.
HALLOWEEN PARTIES & DRAMA WORKSHOPS
Autumn Holiday Workshops, Playbox Theatre, Dream Factory, Warwick
Specialist courses range from an intensive hands-on Terror on Screen film-making course for 13 – 18-year-olds to a day-long Macbeth theatre workshop for 7 – 12-year-olds and a range of High Jinks Theatre Adventures for 3 – 6-year-olds including a Trick or Treat Fancy Dress special. Workshops cost between £23 and £90, with discounts for members. Breakfast club available from 9am – 10am, £10 per child.
playboxtheatre, tel: 01926 419555
Half-term Activities, RSC, Stratford, Oct 29 – Nov 2
Highlights include a gloriously grisly Halloween. Spend October 31 learning how to fight like a Trojan in a stage fighting workshop (12.30 – 1.30pm), make your grisly battle wounds come to life in a Blood, Guts and Gore workshop with former RSC Head of Wigs and Make-up, Brenda Leedham (11am – 12noon), and finish the day making a mythical monster, all inspired by Shakespeare’s play of war, Troilus and Cressida.
See what’s on here: rsc.org.uk/october–half–term and to book tickets Tel: 01789 403493
Active Camps: Bilton Grange, Rugby, Oct 29 – Nov 2
Ofsted registered Active Camps specialise in holiday play schemes for 3 – 14-year-olds in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Warwickshire including independent prep school Bilton Grange in Dunchurch, near Rugby. The camp is separated into two groups. Children aged 5 and under take part in structured activities, outdoor play and quieter creative times. The older group are based in the sports hall and make best use of the outdoor facilities, play games, orienteering, mini-tennis tournaments and swimming. Slightly further afield there’s also an Active Adventure Camp@ Blenheim Palace for 6 – 14-year-olds (£45 per day) which includes kayaking, raft building and bush-craft.
Magic, Mayhem and Little Monsters Halloween Party, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Thurs Oct 25
Drama, dress-up, craft and storytelling session for children aged three years and up with Toni’s Tots Drama. The session includes an energetic and interactive play, stories and songs. Bring lunch for a table top picnic, £5.
Kate’s Storytree, Upper Foyer, The Other Place, Fri Nov 2, 10 – 10.30am and 11.30am – 12pm
Enjoy a storytime adventure inspired by the characters in The Comedy of Errors. Each session lasts 30 minutes. Suitable for under 5s to attend with their parent or guardian. Times: 10 – 10.30am and 11.30am – 12pm. Free.
THEME-PARK: Scarefest – Alton Towers, Staffs, Oct 19 – Nov 2
Alton Towers’ hugely popular Scarefest attraction returns this month with live shows, award-winning scare mazes, the brand new CBeebies Monster Ball and immersive rollercoaster Wicker Man experience with new six-storey high flaming effigy.
Dark Arts, Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios, Watford, until Sun Nov 12
Over Halloween the Great Hall will be decorated with more 100 floating pumpkins, just as seen as in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, along with a table laden with a Halloween feast of red apples, pumpkins and cauldrons of lollipops. The hand-carved pumpkins are created by Head Propmaker on all the Harry Potter films, Pierre Bohanna, and modelled on those found in Hagrid’s pumpkin patch in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – no two are alike! Kids can also delve into the sinister world of the Dark Art – wand combat techniques and Death Eater duels as well as film-making snot, blood and drool. Lovely!
Warner Bros. Studio Tour london, Studio Tour Dr, Watford, Leavesden, wbstudiotour.co.uk
The Luna Cinema’s Halloween Screenings, Natural History Museum, London, Oct 28 & 29
When all the visitors have left for the day, it’s time to settle in for a Movie Night at the Museum. On the bill are Ghostbusters (12), Blair Witch Project (15), The Silence of the Lambs (already sold out) and The Shining (15). Tickets include complimentary popcorn and free entry into the museum’s Life in the Dark exhibition. An atmospheric experience for older children and teens.
Halloween Horrors, Chatsworth House, Bakewell, Derbyshire, Oct 27 – Nov 4
Follow the frighteningly fun Creepy Collection trail in the house, hunt for hidden pumpkins and scarecrows, dare to enter the abandoned tunnel and listen to spine-tingling storytelling in the garden. For families there’s also facepainting, reptile handling and fright flights. You can also enjoy the garden exhibition, Chatsworth Outdoors: Grounds for Sculpture, curated seasonal park walks, grab a bite to eat in one of the five restaurants or cafes and a visit to the award-winning farm shop with more than half of all products prepared on the Chatsworth estate.
Xscape, Milton Keynes
How cool is this? We’ve already had a test of the new Rush VR (virtual reality) immersive experience and it’s totally awesome! Nothing like fighting zombies building castles or wandering through a Mayan maze after a few coffees. If you’re heading up to Xscape, you can also check out Hollywood Bowl, Snozone, iFly and Cineworld. Boom – a day of half-term sorted!