Half Term Events and Halloween Fun – Updated for 2019
Once again the supermarket aisles are crammed with cheap sweets, Halloween themed plastic stuff and dressing up outfits, as parents across the land prepare for half term and Halloween. The pumpkins are already for sale and I’m impressed with anyone who makes a palatable pumpkin pie or soup.
Over the years I’ve discovered that trying to keep children occupied in half term when the weather is bad can be a challenge, especially on a budget. All across the West Country major local attractions are offering Halloween themed activities. We are great National Trust fans and most have a good range of themed activities. Sadly without the tourist numbers there seems to be only a few other locally organised events this year.
So if you are looking for half term events in Devon, Dorset or Somerset read on for my round up of what’s on in the area with links to websites for more details where available. These events are the result of searching, not personal recommendations. I have also written about Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patches which are popular.
Halloween Events in Devon
The Donkey Sanctuary nr Sidmouth
Halloween themed events on all over the autumn half term weeks. Follow the Halloween pumpkin trail around the sanctuary to discover things that help keep the donkeys happy (a treat), as well as those things that are not so good for them (a trick). Find all the tricks among the treats and receive a sweet surprise and certificate on completion; just £3 per trail (19th Oct – 3rd Nov) There’s pumpkin carving also £3 per person (Weds 23rd – Thurs 31st). Meet all the Donkeys on your scenic walk around the Sanctuary and enjoy a delicious lunch or coffee and cake in the lovely cafe. More details at The Donkey Sanctuary web site.
East Devon Countryside
Join the Education rangers at Seaton Wetlands for a morning for crafting on Tuesday 22 October 2019 10am – 12 noon. Make autumnal and Halloween themed crafts using natural materials including witches broom sticks, scary clay gargoyles and creepy spiders. There will also be a campfire with yummy autumn treats (no tricks). No booking required, just turn up and get crafty! £3.00 per child.
TBC for 2019 A Halloween trail at Seaton Wetlands More event details here
Axe Valley Wildlife Park
Explore the wildlife park and enjoy animal talks and handling sessions all day with the Halloween theme. Dare your friends and family to go through the Scary Tunnel and put your hands in the mystery boxes. A spooktacular day of fun for all ages.
Beer Quarry Caves
Spooky Candlelight Tours on Sun 27th Oct at 1:30pm and 3pm.
Suitable for 8 years & up. £7:50 per person. Price includes pumpkin carving and refreshments. These tours will be by by booking only (email your name and telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org to book).
Haldon Forest, Exeter
There’s a fantastic new trail to follow. An alien space ship has crashed into Haldon Forest and Shaun the Sheep is on a mission to help the inhabitant – a lovable alien called Lu-La. Buy the Shaun the Sheep Farmageddon Glow Trail Pack to get your hands on UV pen, activity book, stickers, Shaun ears and more! Get it from the Rangers Office from 9.30am – 4.30pm for just £3.50.
Download the app before you arrive at Haldon to complete challenges and solve UV puzzles in the forest. This is a lovely woodland where you can also hire bikes.
Just the other side of Exeter England’s highest man-made waterfall, Canonteign Falls is a magnificent example of a Victorian folly set in a natural paradise with lakes, woodland walks and an adventure play area.
There’s spooky fun to be had on Friday October 25th 2.45pm – 6.30pm with Halloween craft activities in the cafe from 1pm. From 3pm there will be a spooktacular spells and potions interactive theatre event with the fantastic witches of The Pocket Watch Theatre Company. End your visit with a night walk around the lake and lower waterfall …if you dare!
Perfect for children aged 4 upwards! Activities are an extra £4 per child and includes a free children’s hot chocolate, children under 5yrs go free). Torches, warm clothes and suitable footwear for the night walk which will take you around the lake and to the lower waterfall by torch light.
More Devon Events at Local Attractions
Seaton Tramway – Halloween Tram of Terror with spooky entertainment and games. Dress up in your spookiest clothes and ride the Tram of Terror. Enjoy revolting refreshments and spooky entertainment. Children all receive a baddie bag. Dates between 27th and 31st October Booking essential.
Crealy Adventure Park – As well as all the normal activities between the 19th -26th October enjoy the Crealy Spookfest. New attractions include the Halloween Glow, Jester’s 3D Fun Maze and the Witches of the Wilderness. The infamous Creaky Hotel is re-opening its haunted doors, plus FREE pumpkins for every child who visits the Theme Park. Finally on the 26th and 27th October stay late for the annual special firework extravaganza celebrating 30 years. Crealy is fun for all ages, you can see my review here about what the teens got up to last time we went.
Powderham Castle – Explore the castle and gardens, join a spooky tour and pumpkin carving between 20th October and 1st November. It’s an extra £3 charge for the pumpkin carving.
World of Country Life – Halloween treasure trail, enjoy a children’s show Defrosted on for 3 days (22nd – 24th Oct) at 2pm as well as ferret racing. From Saturday 26th – Thursday 31st Oct follow the Halloween Activity Trail. Plus pumpkin carving on Weds 30th & Thurs 31st October.
Forde Abbey – take part in the haunted trail and have a go at pumpkin rolling
Wildwood Escot – see if you can spot the wolves and join in the fun activities in the Saxon Village
National Trust – most of our wonderful National Trust locations have something on for Halloween. If you are already a member this makes for a great value day out. At Killerton near Exeter there is a pumpkin trail from Saturday 19th October to Sunday 3rd November, 11am – 4pm and is free. Follow the link to find out more National Trust events in your area.
Please check entrance fees and some attractions charge extra for the activities.
Somerset Halloween Events
Yeovil Country Park
Dress up spookily for a Halloween Trail in the woods on Thursday, October 31, 2019, 10am – 2pm. A fang-tastic fun day out in the beautiful autumnal woods at Ninesprings. Pick up a trail leaflet from the frightful ‘Friends of Yeovil Country Park’ stall opposite Ninesprings Café between 11.00am and 2.00pm.
Follow the pumpkin markers through the woods. Find the missing letters which will be hidden at several marked pumpkin stops along the way to help craft the witches spell. Trail takes approximately one hour to complete. A buggy friendly/little legs short route will be available.
Cost £2 per child Under 2’s free
No need to book on either of these sessions, just come along at the times listed above. More details at the South Somerset Countryside website
Ferne Animal Sanctuary – nr Chard
Head along to the lovely Ferne Animal Sanctuary this half term and follow the Spooky Pooch Trail from 19th Oct. Also around the Sanctuary open scary surprise boxes (is it a dog trick or a dog treat), get a very close up view of some bugs and guess the number of spiders in the tractor. Plus pumpkin carving and top tips and treats for keeping your pets safe and happy at this scary time. Saturday 21st October to 3rd November 2019
Ferne has an accessible trail throughout the Sanctuary, through the woodland with the lily and dragonfly ponds and past the play equipment area, finishing outside the café. Perfect for pushchairs and the like. There is also a new plaque rubbing trail at Ferne Animal Sanctuary. Admission charges apply or for a small monthly donation enjoy all year round entry.
Dorset Autumn half Term Days Out
Shire Hall – Dorchester
Throughout the half-term holidays (26th Oct – 3rd Nov), Shire Hall will become home to spooky family-friendly fun. With slippery slime-making workshops (on weekdays 11-3pm, witch’s potion trail, and gruesome touchy-feely guessing games. Visit the spooky underground cells for story telling at the most haunting time of the year.
After your visit, pop into the café for some seasonal autumnal recipes and Halloween treats. Kids who are dressed up go free*. Subterranean slime workshops £2.00 per child to cover costs of materials.
Mapperton House near Beaminster
Children of all ages will enjoy the spine-chilling trail around Mapperton Gardens. Watch out for the spider lair, brave the rats and spooky graveyard to solve the clues and receive a ghoulish treat. Halloween Trail: 27-31 October, 10am to 5pm.
On the Fun Days discover the Witch’s Cottage – knock on her door if your dare! There’s also free face-painting for all brave witch hunters. Halloween Fun Days: 30 and 31 October, 10am to 5pm. Adult entrance £9, Children £5.
Remember kids don’t really need expensive days out to have fun. We always used to have a little Halloween party – get the kids involved in planning ghoulish food and drinks for friends and make your own Halloween trail around the garden hiding treats. Apple bobbing and doughnuts hanging off a string is still lots of fun!
Have a great half term and please leave some feedback in the comments below if you would like to.
Thank you for reading my Half Term Events and Halloween Guide
This list is by no means exhaustive so please look out for other local events to join in with. Make the most of our lovely free outdoors and try one of my walks that I’ve featured, they range in length so you should find something to suit most families including ideas for when the mud takes over with these buggy friendly walks.