Halloween and Half Term in Somerset & Dorset
20 things for kids of all ages to do over October Half Term, from tackling high ropes by torchlight to winning a Halloween afternoon tea
Scare yourselves silly at FEAR, Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park, Keynesham
Five intense scare mazes, immersive street theatre acts, fire show, thrill rides, music, street food and drink, whilst being stalked by Frank and his troupe of freaks. Suitable 12 years+. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. On throughout October.
Transverse the high ropes by torchlight, Tunnel Tree Tops, Charmouth
Eleven high ropes, wooden pathways and three zip wires with eerie obstacles, ghostly occupants and shrieking trees by day – or by night (if you dare). Suitable 6 years+ and 1.2m+ tall. From Mon 18 to Sun 31 October.
Win a Halloween Afternoon tea At the Chapel, Bruton
Calling all creative witches and wizards! Paint or draw a spooky picture or take a scary photo of At the Chapel and you could win a Halloween afternoon tea for you and five guests. Write your name and age on the front; contact details on the back and hand your artwork in to them by Sun 24 Oct and get a mummy biscuit. The winner will be announced Mon 25 Oct on Instagram. Muggles can book a Halloween afternoon tea any time during half term.
Escape from Victor’s Lair at Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein, Bath
There’s just one hour to escape Victor Frankenstein’s attic quarters by solving the clues hidden amongst the artifacts, insane equations and miscellaneous body parts (eek). Suitable for families with older children, and groups. You need between three and six players. Open every day of the week.
Go off road at Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford
See one of the oldest cars in the Museum’s collection before it takes part in the London to Brighton Veteran car run, with Mark from the restoration team on hand to answer questions. Model makers can meet expert David Hayward (whose intricate 1:12 scale models were commissioned by the late John Haynes OBE) before heading off to the gift shop to buy a model kit to take home. Plus trails and activities for all ages. From Fri 22 to Sun 31 October.
Go bouldering, Frome Boulder Rooms, Frome
No ropes, harnesses, climbing partners or any other specialist gear – just you, the wall (and really thick padded mats) – that’s indoor bouldering at this brand new climbing centre in Frome. The family space is suitable for 5+ and everyone up to 16 needs to be supervised by an adult. Open every day of the week.
See a show in a village hall, around Dorset
Artsreach Dorset, the charity which brings high quality live theatre into rural communities, has three kids’ shows on offer this half term: Margo & Mr Whatsit, The Tales of Robin Hood (above) and The End of the Pier Show. Dates between Mon 25 to Sat 30 October.
Flee from a zombie, Nothe Fort, Weymouth
Find your way through labyrinthine underground tunnels and passageways to reach the survival zone and escape the zombies. Immersive, live actors, special effects, super scary. You up to it? From Thurs 21 to Sun 31 October.
Meet the Tudors at Corfe Castle, near Wareham
Travel back to 1572, the year that Sir Christopher Hatton bought Corfe Castle from Elizabeth I, as Mistress Gabrielle the kitchen maid and Thomas the master carver prepare for a feast. Find out about Tudor garb, grub and good times, with a trail around the ruins and a prize at the end. From Sat 23 to Sun 31 October.
Do Halloween the American way, American Museum & Gardens, near Bath
Pick up some pumpkin jokes, discover trick or treat zones and scarecrows, snap a Halloween selfie, do some autumnal arts and crafts and dress up for an American style fancy dress parade. From Sat 23 to Sun 31 October.
(Don’t) say boo to a dragon at Lighthouse Poole
From the creators of the West End hit Dinosaur World Live, come more spectacular puppets: magnificent monsters and terrifying mythical beasts – the Stone Troll, Indrik, Japanese Baku, the Tooth Fairy (not what you think), a Unicorn and the majestic Griffin. Whatever you do, don’t wake the Dragon. Tues 26 & Weds 27 October.
Get in a flap (on a bat trail), Hestercombe House & Gardens, near Taunton
Join the bats on the Hestercombe estate on their hunt for lunch – aka beetles, spiders, earwigs and other creepy crawlies. Also on the menu: a spooky science masterclass, scary storytelling and a make-a-potion room. From Sat 23 to Sun 31 October.
Reach for the stars on Exmoor
Stargazing, safaris, night walks and talks on Exmoor, an International Dark Skies Reserve, via the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival. From Fri 22 October to Sun 7 November.
Meet Mavis Sparkle, the egg, Bath
One for the littlies. Mavis and Spike the hedgehog journey north to see nature’s biggest light show at Bath’s only dedicated children’s theatre. From Thurs 28 to Sat 30 October.
Halloween, Farmer Palmers, Wareham
The popular farm park – animals, pig racing, cow milking, tractor rides, play barn and dinosaur trail – gets spooky. From Mon 25 to Sat 30 October.
Witness a natural phenonemon, Avalon Marshes, near Glastonbury
From mid to late October hundreds of thousands of starlings come to roost in the Avalon Marshes, creating fantastical gyrating shapes – starling murmurations – in the sky at dusk and dawn. Call the Starling hotline 07866 554142 for info on where you’re most likely to see them. Roosting from mid October to end February.
Make super cool crafts and eat pizza, Bootmakers Workshop, Wincanton
Drop in with your kids (of any age) or drop off (8 years+) during half term week to make puppet theatres and puppets, shaggy rag rugs, papier mache figures, Halloween costumes from scrap, plus Halloween and Day of the Dead FX make up, baking and more. Delicious wood-fired pizza all day. Booking essential (text 07419760737). From Mon 25 to Sun 31 October.
Zap each other, Laser Guys, near Blandford Forum
Dress up for Halloween themed laser tag games including a Zombie and Candy Hunt. From Mon 25 to Sun 31 October.
See a shark in the park, Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton
All three of Nick Sharratt’s Shark in the Park books live on stage. Fintastic! Sun 24 & Mon 25 October.
Pick a pumpkin, Puxton Park, Hewish
The fields are alive with the sight of orange pumpkins – thousands and thousands of ’em. Pick, paint, then have fun in the rest of the Park. From Sat 23 to Sun 31 October.
Halloween Fun, Adventure Wonderland, Christchurch
Halloween show The Cheshire Cat’s Pumpkin Party, giant spiders and cobwebs (eek) in the Scary Maze and say hello to The Monster Minions – plus the usual theme park rides. Half day tickets available. From Sat 23 to Sun 31 October.