Half term and Hallowe'en are on the way – head to one of the many special events around the UK to give the kids a real treat.
From spooky woodland walks by lantern light and ghostly train rides, to fancy dress fun and theme park thrills – there's plenty happening this Hallowe'en.
Take your pick from the top events we've discovered...
Get set for a happy Hallowe'en, with spooky happenings at more than 20 English Heritage locations this half term. From a bloody battlefield to dark dungeons, haunted houses to creepy castles, there's plenty to choose from. Find an event.
Hallowe'en happenings at Kenilworth Castle
There are Hallowe'en activities and events at around 50 National trust locations around the UK this half term. From spooky ghost tours and creepy crafts to Hallowe'en trails and terrifying tales – find an event near you.
Frightful fun at Hughenden Manor
Experience ‘the home of Hallowe’en’ this half term at the Dungeons in London, York, Edinburgh, Blackpool and Warwick Castle. With new characters and more than 1,000 pumpkins, it’s the Dungeons’ biggest Hallowe’en yet. There will also be live actors, special effects, exciting rides, tricks, treats, yucky dips, fancy dress and more. Booking is strongly advised. Find out more.
Will you brave the Edinburgh Dungeon?
Take part in some fantastic family events to help you get closer to nature, this Hallowe’en. Carve a pumpkin to take home with you, go on a creepy crawly hunt or a migration walk, make a bird feeder or try pond-dipping. There are also art and craft workshops, storytelling, a fancy dress competition, face painting, and even a disco. Booking is recommended. Find an event.
Check out vats of slimy troll snot, buckets of dribbling drool, and vials of silvery unicorn blood this Hallowe'en. As well as all the sets, props, costumes and models on the tour, visitors can experience 'Ghostly Goings On' this Hallowe'en. Explore some of the spookier special effects and take a trip down a more mysterious Diagon Alley. Find out more.
Discover troll snot and more on the Harry Potter tour
You can also experience a little Harry Potter-style magic on the heritage railway this Hallowe'en, with its Wizard Weekend. The Watercress Line runs through 10 miles of rolling scenic countryside between Alton and Alresford. All four stations are 'dressed' in period style, and there's a locomotive yard and picnic area at Ropley. Magic and mischief await you this half term, and Hallowe’en fancy dress is encouraged. Find out more.
Don your scariest garb and take the Hallowe'en Spooks Express. Dress up in costume and receive a treat. All trains are steam hauled. No booking necessary. Find out more.
Meet the famous Witch of Wookey in Somerset, or brave an evening ghost tour of the caves of Wookey Hole. Hallowe'en tickets include access to more than 20 attractions, from circus world and clown town to cheese-tasting and adventure golf. Find out more. Spend the night, if you dare. Book a stay at the Wookey Hole Hotel.
The Witch of Wookey, with a friend
Head to Legoland this half term for the Brick or Treat Hallowe'en extravaganza. Dress up and head down to the Enchanted Forest for themed activities and 2,000 orange brick pumpkins. Have a go at making one yourself, then have a boogie at the Monster Ball. With all the usual rides and attractions on top, a day at Legoland with little ones this Hallowe'en is hard to beat. You can even stay the night - at the Legoland Hotel. Find out more.
The legendary Fright Nights have been given a makeover this Hallowe'en. Thorpe Park has teamed up with Lionsgate to bring iconic horror films to life. Experience scenes from The Cabin in the Woods, My Bloody Valentine, Saw, The Blair Witch Project and You're Next. The live action horror mazes return and the park stays open until 10pm, so you can even brave the most terrifying rides in the dark. Find out more. Why not spend the night at Thorpe Park’s new Crash Pad? Just don't have nightmares.
Fright Nights at Thorpe Park – only for the very brave
Hallowe'en Hocus Pocus returns to the theme park this autumn, with hauntings, mysteries and spooky family fun. New at Chessington for this year is The Mystery of Hocus Pocus Hall – explore the stately home of a famous explorer who mysteriously vanished. Be transported back to Transylvania in 1897, in Vampire: the Haunting in the Hollows, or catch comic capers in a slapstick show – Burt and Bilge's Bad Bad Boo. Why not spend the night in the safari-themed resort hotel?
The Eden Project transforms into Halloweden this Hallowe'en, complete with spooky themed activities, fun crafts, wicked workshops and creepy happenings. Make potions in the Wishcraft Tent, or visit the Room on The Broom tent and earn a ticket to see the film of the same name, based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. There's also a Little Monsters' Ball Hallowe'en disco, Fright Nights for the over-12s, and ice-skating fun for everyone. Extra charges apply for some activities. Find out more.
Children enjoying Halloweden at the Eden Project
Why not brave The Haunted Castle event this Hallowe'en, at Warwick Castle? Younger ones can dress up and have a go at writing spells and there are spooky storytelling sessions as well as a Hallowe'en party. Grown-ups can brave the castle after dark as it stays open until 9pm.
Fright Night – a huge street party and Britain's biggest Hallowe'en Carnival – attracts up to 40,000 revellers every year. Entry is free and revellers can enjoy street entertainment, music, urban dance, fairground rides and a fancy dress catwalk. The event is preceded by Fright Night's Little Brother, which kicks off at noon and is aimed at younger funseekers.
Street entertainment at Sheffield's Fright Night
Get set for this year's Halloween Scarefest at Alton Towers, when the park stays open until 9pm. This is your first chance to ride The Smiler in the dark! And as well as all the usual thrilling rides, there'll be extra attractions, amazing live shows, horror mazes and costumed characters. Find out more.
Scarefest at Alton Towers
This half term is your chance to 'Solve the Mansion Mystery' as a family, try out willow weaving and make your own witch, or go ghost hunting in the gardens. There's also spooky storytelling in the eerie Tower Garden at weekends this Hallowe'en. Find out more.
Where better to spend Hallowe'en than in a historical, and some say haunted, house? For a half term with a difference, Croxteth Hall will be hosting ghost hunts, Victorian lamplight tours, a farmyard pumpkin trail, a Murder Mystery and even a scary sleepover with paranormal investigators. Fancy dress is encouraged, and booking is advised. Find out more.
Are you brave enough to sign up for the Ghost Walk Hallowe'en Special? The evening event involves a two course Hallowe'en supper and a quiz followed by a creepy ghost walk. Please note: advanced booking only and this event sells out early every year.
The Ghostly Special this Hallowe'en includes a traditional simple Welsh supper by candlelight in the haunted Guild Hall of the famously haunted Prince of Wales public house in Kenfig. Book early – this event sells out every year.
Frightfully fun family activities are taking place at this great museum around Hallowe'en. Dress up in creepy costume and join the Wicked Walk after dark, if you dare. Learn about real welsh ghosts, enjoy some spooky storytelling or Hallowe'en-themed art and craft activities, and find out more about the museum's resident bats. Please note: tickets must be purchased in advance for the Wicked Walk event. Find out more.
The legendary Hallowe'en party nights return to the heritage centre this half term. Dress up and enjoy a spooky disco, apple bobbing, a swamp dip, ghost hunts, competitions and more…plus puppet-making and pottery workshops. The bar, barbecue and tea-rooms will be open and there will be prizes for the best dressed children and adults. Please note: these events always sells out, so book in advance. Find out more.
Fright Night fun in Sheffield
From spooky storytelling to ghost tours, games, trails, fancy dress and family fun, there's plenty going on this Hallowe'en at several of Scotland's National Trust properties. Find out more.
Visit Scotland's oldest inhabited house for some frightening fun this Hallowe'en. There'll be ghostly candlelit evening tours for those aged 8 and over, hearty Hallowe'en suppers, and a Hallowe'en Fun Day featuring magic, tarot readings, traditional games and more. Prizes for the best dressed. Find out more.
Scary science, workshops and family fancy dress fun make for an unforgettable evening at the Glasgow Science Centre. This hugely popular event features ghost stories in the planetarium, the chance to come face to face with creepy critters, and much more. See if you have the lungs to win the screaming competition. Find out more.
For a slice of really horrible history, join one of the many ghost walks around the UK. Locations with established tours include London, Edinburgh, Derby, Chester, Nottingham, Bath and York.
(22 November 2013)
Hughenden Manor image by Naomi Goggin
Kenilworth Castle image by Robert Smith