Did you know Halloween is now the year’s second biggest festival after Christmas? Attractions up and down the country pull out all the stops at the end of October to make sure they’re catering for children and families – and our friends at KidRated have picked their 10 favourite chill-fests…
Shocktober Fest, Tulleys Farm, Sussex
For those a little older (12+, children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult) and a little braver, Shocktober Fest returns once more to Tulleys Farm. This is undoubtedly one of the UK’s best – and scariest! – Halloween attractions, with brilliantly creepy live actors, jump-tastic special effects, spooky surprises, live music, food, theatre and so much more. This year, in addition to the classic zombies and chainsaw-wielding fiends, prepare to meet some scary IT-inspired terrors in the new attraction, Twisted Clowns, and walk hooded through the Netherworld in the new Vixi experience, guaranteed to chill your bones. The grand finale on 4th November has the added bonus of fireworks, too. Tickets are selling fast, so get yours soon and get ready to screeeeam!
1st October – 4th November / Ticket prices vary.
Find out more: halloweenattractions.co.uk
Screamland at Dreamland, Margate, Kent
Margate’s fantastic, retro amusement park, Dreamland, gets a little darker for half term and Halloween, with Screamland offering frightening fun for over 12s from 6pm until 10pm. Prepare for a scare with six themed immersive mazes and freaky sideshows, along with the usual adrenalin-fuelled rides from coasters to ghost trains. Meanwhile, younger kids can enjoy the Get Spooked activities at Dreamland during the day throughout half term, including fancy dress and pumpkin carving competitions on Saturday 28th October.
20 – 31 October / Ticket prices vary.
Find out more: dreamland.co.uk/screamland/
Shriek Week at Drusillas Park, Sussex
There’s something for everyone at Drusillas Park this Halloween, including the creepy cobwebbed corridors of Haunted Heights and the chance of a very creepy crawly encounter in the Discovery Centre.
21 – 29 October / Ticket prices vary.
Find out more: drusillas.co.uk
Ghostly Galleons, Ullswater Steamers, Lake District
Prepare for magic, monsters and mayhem on-board the Ghostly Galleon with magician Stu-Di-Doo. This fun 90-minute cruise departs from Glenridding at either 12.30pm or 2.30pm, and extra activities on-board include tattoos and Halloween colouring. Tea, coffee and pumpkin squash also included.
Saturday 28th October / Ticket price £13, under 3s free – you even get to take home a goodie bag. Dogs not permitted.
Find out more: ullswater-steamers.co.uk
Woodland Spirits, Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
Cliveden House will be giving aspiring witches and wizards the chance to discover the naturally spooky side of Halloween, with wild art scattered throughout Cliveden’s wonderful woodlands. The trails are suitable for children aged 2-13 and the fun starts at 11am.
26 – 29 October / The event costs £3 per child. Standard entry £10 per adult and £5 per child.
Find out more: nationaltrust.org.uk
The Enchantment of Chester Zoo, Cheshire
This Halloween, Chester Zoo will be under a spell from a sorcerer who is trying to steal the powers of the nocturnal animals. Visitors will be taken to an immersive world, full of stories and moments of wonder as they follow the Wise Old Owl and try to break the spell. With a host of performers from musicians to acrobats, this promises to be a truly magical event.
21 – 31 October / Free with standard entry but must be booked in advance. Advance entry tickets from £20 per adult and £16.86 per child.
Find out more: chesterzoo.org
Phobophobia: Night Terrors at The London Bridge Experience and London Tombs, London
For a thrilling day out with a difference, the London Bridge Experience is perfect for older kids. This exhilarating exhibition offers two adventures for the price of one – both the London Bridge Experience and the London Tombs – and allows you the opportunity to visit the spooky underground tunnels beneath London Bridge, where many terrifying adventures await, including – new for Halloween – Phobophobia: Night Terrors, a heart-thumping, immersive journey through a labyrinth of your worst nightmares, open from 6pm until 10pm. This attraction is not suitable for young children – the tell-tale signs are all the zombies and bloodied butchers – but for older kids, it’s a fantastic, adrenaline-fuelled romp.
Phobophobia runs from 21st – 31st October; not recommended for under 16s. / Tickets £27.95.
The Great British Autumn at Longleat, Wiltshire
Kids are encouraged to join in a host of spell-binding activities for Halloween, including Ghost Tours, giant pumpkins in the hedge maze, pumpkin carving and tricky trails for trick or treating. There are also fun owl displays and musical firework extravaganzas.
21st – 29th October / Festival is included in the All In One Day Ticket: Adults £28.85; Children (3-15 years) £21.62. Tickets for the ghost tours are £10 and welcome all ages.
Find out more: longleat.co.uk
Boo at the Zoo, Marwell Zoo, Hampshire
There’s a spook-tacular amount of spine-tingling activities going on at Marwell this Halloween. Kids can design their own wand or visit the Pumpkin Patch and take part in pumpkin-carving competitions for a chance to win a tiger adoption pack. There’s also a spooky witch doing some creepy storytelling, while children who bring their brooms for flying lessons will bag some special Halloween treats, and kids who come in costume will get a free Halloween cookie.
21st – 29th October / Adult tickets (17+) £17.26 Child tickets (3-16) £13.62.
Find out more: marwell.org.uk
Ghost Walks,Tours & Buses, UK-Wide
Ghost Tours can be found all over the UK. They can be anything from simple, family-friendly walks with a guide telling spooky stories, to live-action role-play events that will scare the living daylights out of you, so make sure you check what you’re in for before you take the little ones! If walking is too much for you, try a Ghost Bus Tour in either London, York or Edinburgh. The Royal Parks have plenty of spooky events to keep little ones entertained, too, with a range of Halloween-themed family fun days.
Dates and ticket prices vary for the Ghost Tours.
For more ideas of fun things to do with the kids, go to KidRated.com
Updated Oct 2017