As summer ends the leaves turn brown, we start to wear more layers of clothing, the scent of fireworks is in the air, and of course - we celebrate Halloween. Whether you enjoy getting dressed up and embracing your ghoulish side, or are simply making the most of autumn before the cold winter weather kicks in - there are great activities out there for you to take part in. So get your 'trick or treat' bag ready and enjoy this brief guide to spooky autumn breaks! Although there are many Halloween activities on parks every year, around the country you'll find some spectacular events that are not to be missed. Whether you're looking for a family Halloween adventure or an eerie night out with your partner, there's plenty to enjoy during 'spooky' season. If there are any events you think we've missed, let us know by Facebook or Twitter.
Halloween at National Showcaves Centre, Dan Yr Ogof Cave
Nearest Park: Trecco Bay
Every Halloween season, the National Showcaves Centre for Wales decorates the already novel-esque setting accordingly. See witches, skeletons and ‘undead’ characters throughout the caves in the Autumn season. You can even hear the eerie ‘moans’ of the ghostly characters leading up to the event, making this already fascinating attraction that bit more exciting.
If you're staying at Trecco Bay you'll receive £10 off the admittance price when two or more people purchase a ticket - look out for the voucher provided in your welcome pack. The Showcaves are less than an hour away, easily in reach for an evening of eerie exploits! There’s also a Dinosaur Park, museum and more to enjoy all year around. Dan Yr Ogof Caves warns that the Halloween attractions may be frightening for small children or those of a nervous disposition.
Freak Week at Cotehele Mill, Cornwall
Nearest park: Looe Bay, Torquay, Bideford Bay
You'll want to pay a visit to Cotehele Mill in Cornwall during its annual 'Freak Week', as this historical heritage site takes a turn for the hysterical! With ghostly decorations and freaky fancy dress taking over, the Mill is transformed into a spooky sanctuary, with activities your whole family will love. A children's trail with treats will delight the kids, with a spot of ghostly baking and some delicious Halloween themed samples on offer. This is a free event that happens once a year, so it’s worth checking their website in advance. This is open to kids, and big kids, of all ages. Cotehele Mill is just over half an hour from Looe Bay Holiday Park and not too far from other Cornwall parks, making it handy for Autumn breaks. Dogs are also allowed on leads.
Halloween at The Eden Project, Cornwall
Nearest Park: White Acres
Any visit to Cornwall isn’t complete without seeing The Eden Project, if you are there in the Halloween season – you’re in for a (trick or) treat. In the spirit of the circus, there will be ‘pop-up’ performances, illusions, and ghostly sideshows throughout the day. There are also storytellers, pumpkin carving and plenty to be discovered through the ‘book of magic’ that you receive on entry. Later, get your costume on for the Little Monsters’ Ball - this a family disco with plenty of spooky activities on offer. The ice rink is open throughout the season so it’s a good way to chill out in the Autumn. Tickets are required for these events, which are available from their website. The Eden Project is less than half an hour from White Acres Holiday Park, so this is recommended for families.
The Enchanted Forest, Perthshire, Scotland
Nearest Park: Tummel Valley
This once-a-year event happens just outside the picturesque village of Pitlochry, a magical place to visit at any time of the year. ‘The Enchanted Forest’ is a light and sound show in nearby Faskally Woods. This is a truly immersive experience as you can enjoy the illuminations as you walk through the woods. The light show lasts up to 90 minutes which is more than enough time to explore the forest. There is also a storyteller’s yurt to get you in the magical mood. This annual event usually takes place at the end of October and tickets are recommended to be booked in advance, as this is a very popular event. This is a very memorable experience to be enjoyed by all ages. At less than 25 minutes’ drive from Tummel Valley Holiday Park, this mystifying alternative to the spookiness of Halloween is not to be missed on your autumn break!
Photo by Angus Forbes
Fun By Day Halloween Festival at The BIG Sheep, Devon
Nearest park: Ruda, Bideford Bay
The BIG Sheep is a very popular attraction in Devon. Rightly so as it offers a great all-weather theme-park and animal attractions. At Halloween the park is transformed in to a spooky festival for the whole family. Meet the ‘Pump-King’ and carve your own lantern, enjoy daytime ‘Phantomimes’, explore the haunted house, bust ghosts with Captain Blackbeard, get FREE face-painting, take part in the fancy dress competition and even listen to the famous ‘Singing Pumpkins’…this is Halloween after all. All this, plus the usual sheep-tastic fun of the park. Usually taking place during the October half term leading to Halloween, so this is a great way to treat the family on your Autumn break in Devon.
Terror Mountain, Aberystwyth
Nearest park: Brynowen.
In the mountains of the scenic town of Aberystwyth something scary stirs: the new annual festival that celebrates a terrifying horror experience. Terror Mountain has not just one, but four horror experiences to enjoy including: zombie run ‘Virus’, nightmarish ghost story ‘Cursed’, the cinematic ‘Wild Woods’ and the Victorian-crime inspired ‘Night Stalker’. If you have ever wanted to experience the adrenaline of being in a real-life horror movie, this is the one for you. As it is classed as a ‘festival’ this only takes place over one week of the year, generally towards Halloween. So check online for dates and tickets. This attraction is not advised for under 12’s. Under 15’s should be accompanied by an adult (over 18). This festival is for the real thrill-seekers so check their website for details. Terror Mountain takes place at Silver Mountain Experience, just outside Aberystwyth, which is around 25 minutes’ drive from Brynowen Holiday Park. So at least you can be tucked up safe in bed in no time!
Nearest park: St Margaret’s Bay
At this time of the year you can enjoy ‘All The Fun Of The Scare’ at the retro-tastic theme park usually known as Dreamland. Enter the immersive world of interactive ‘Scare Mazes’ and sideshows. A ticket to Screamland also entitles you to unlimited use of all the rides, some with an unexpected twist! If that’s not enough, there is also ‘Festino’s Forgotten Funhouse’: the self-confessed ‘King Of Clowns’ and his friends have taken over the funhouse … but this isn’t the friendly kind of clown. You can even star in your own sci-fi-screamer ‘They Came From Outer Space’, along with many more ways to get in the ‘spooky’ spirit. This award winning attraction is not for the fainted heart - so it is suggested for over 14s only. Don’t worry, there are activities for the younger ones too at this time (check website for details).
Farm Of Terror, Lancashire
Nearest park: Todber Valley
Farm of Terror is an interactive horror experience which takes place on Animal Quackers Petting Farm in Bacup. Navigate through mazes and corridors and see if you make it out alive. Although is this is a scare-fest you can choose whether or not you want the ‘monsters’ to interact with you or not depending if you are wearing red or green. Although children are welcome, this attraction is known for being particularly scary (in the good way). If the little ones get too scared they will be escorted back to a safe place. Not one for the faint-hearted, this takes place the week running up to Halloween, and is under 20 miles from Todber Valley Holiday Park - so it’s a great way to have a few screams on your Autumn break. There is also food and drink available on site. Tickets are available online. here.
The Dark Garden, Alnwick, Northumberland
Nearest Park: Creswell Towers
Taking place in the always amazing Alnwick Garden, The Dark Garden is shrouded in mystery: Are there creatures lurking in the cherry orchid trees? Are your eyes playing tricks on you? Taking place on the last week of October, this immersive garden experience is a must during your autumn break to Northumberland. This experience is suitable for all of the family, but under 16s are required to be accompanied by an adult. Alnwick Garden encourages visitors to dress up on these days and see who is the ‘scariest’. Performers will create an increasingly suspenseful atmosphere, along with evil smells and sounds. The ‘resident witches’ will also help you carve the perfect Halloween pumpkin. It’s enjoyable even if you aren’t in the Halloween mood to see Alnwick Gardens at its best. Check their website for ticket prices and times.
Image courtesy of The Alnwick Garden