Steering deliberately away from the scary parts of Halloween, take a look at the more light-hearted side of the season, with fun arty and crafty ideas…
The annual Family Learning Festival, will be taking children and their parents on new learning adventures this autumn - from 14 to 29 October. There’s so much to explore - arts, crafts, science and lots more. Find out more by visiting www.familylearningfestival.com or read more at www.familyarts.co.uk
October is the month to take part in the world’s biggest drawing festival! This year’s theme, Living Lines: An Animated Big Draw Festival, aims to unite pixels, pencils and people from across the globe to celebrate the universal language of drawing. Visit www.thebigdraw.org
Needing a little inspiration for those artistic masterpieces? Visit
The Devon Guild of Craftsmen – www.crafts.org.uk
The Burton at Bideford – www.burtonartgallery.co.uk
Plymouth Arts Centre – www.plymouthartscentre.org
Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery – www.rammuseum.org.uk
Discover the range of things that you can do at your library during Libraries Week, from 9 to 14 October, and throughout the year of course! The range of services that libraries offer is hugely diverse with many running a series of story-time sessions, coding clubs, writing workshops and loads more. Visit www.devon.gov.uk/libraries and www.librariesunlimited.org.uk
Making a leaf print, by covering a leaf with paper and running a horizontally placed crayon over the top, is such a simple way to make fantastic autumnal collages and pictures. Plus, it’s an educational exercise that is both creative and scientific.
Using a variety of paper types such as tracing, parchment, or plain A4 paper, with a mixture of pencils and crayons, your child can learn about complementary and clashing colours, and different effects on assorted paper.
Children can also learn about the science of trees and leaves. They can learn about tree species from the different leaves, and identify the life sources of each leaf from the print, such as the veins and petiole (the stalk) of the leaf. Children can discover more about the science of trees and Leaf-ID on the nature detectives’ part of the Woodland Trust website - visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk – and search for nature detectives – leaf id.
Find out how to make these incredibly yummy Marzipan Pumpkin Truffles – they are simply delicious and are perfect for those who have a sweet tooth. Find out how to make them here
Make a beastly mask using a paper plate, elastic, a glue stick, pens and plenty of imagination. English Heritage have an amazing number of free templates, designed to help children create their own mask – just search the web for ‘English Heritage – Beast Mask Activity Pack’
Perch your pumpkin on your doorstep with pride by following our carving tricks and tips...
By carving pumpkins children are able to challenge their creative skills and often feel elated when their sculpted masterpieces are perched on the doorstep for all to admire.
These days there are loads of gorgeous stencils of owls, Halloween cats and various spooky scenes that can be etched onto the side of the pumpkin, adding a degree of inventiveness.
Pumpkins have a tendency to rot rather rapidly once they have been carved so the best time to carve any mini masterpiece will be no more than two days before Halloween.
A design template if using one
A special pumpkin carving saw or a sharp, straight edged knife
A spoon to scoop out the inside of the pumpkin
A bowl to place the ‘fruit’
Pumpkins deteriorate quickly once cut, so always leave the lid off when the candle is in to prevent it shrinking and when it does start to shrivel dunk your gourd in a bucket of water for a few hours to rehydrate.
These Pumpkin Peppers look super scary and are so easy to make. Buy a selection of yellow, red and if you can get them, orange peppers.
Top the pepper, de-seed and carve a traditional Jack-O-Lantern face onto the side of the pepper. Fill with salad leaves and croutons.
These Banana Ghosts and Mandarin Pumpkins will go down a treat and so are easy to create.
For the Banana Ghosts, blob a couple of mini chocolate chips as eyes and a coffee bean for the mouth.
Alternatively, and especially to avoid any chance of choking on the coffee bean, you may wish to use currents for the mouth.
For the pumpkins, peel the mandarins and use a thin piece of the herb Angelica as the stalk.
Alternatively, use small slices of apple candy cables as the stalk
These scary apple teeth are sure to get the children chattering! Slice a rosy-looking apple into quarters and de-pip.
Then gently cut a slice out of the apple quarter and fill with flaked almonds for teeth. Be sure to check for any nut allergies before serving these.
Visit Crealy Adventure Park and Resort this October half term for its spookiest Halloween yet! From 21 to 29 October, the Creaky Hotel will be opening its doors and is scarier than ever. Brave youngsters may wish to head into the Wilderness and meet the Treehouse Trolls, and then visit Patch’s Eerie Bug Show to see some of Crealy’s Creepy Crawly collection.
Each child is given a free pumpkin which they can carve in the Animal Kingdom. There’s a pumpkin carving competition to enter too. Plus, don’t miss the Jolly-ween Singing Pumpkin Show, an all-new animated music show with real life pumpkins. Look out for Scooby-Doo who will be visiting the park on the 24 and 28 October.
To round off the spooktacular October half term events, the annual Firework Spectacular will take place across two nights on the 28 and 29 October. Book online and save up to 20%. For details ring 01395 234880 or visit www.crealy.co.uk
Visitors to the Donkey Sanctuary during the Autumn half term, from Saturday 21 to Sunday 29 October, are in for a treat with plenty of spooktacular activities planned for all the family, as well as rescued donkeys to meet. Have a scream this Halloween and enjoy pumpkin carving, a spooky trail, yummy treats and maybe even the odd trick – there is fun to be had for all ages. Admission and parking at the Sanctuary is free. For more information, visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/calendar.
There will be some sizzling, spooktacular fun at Seaton Jurassic this half term, from 21 to 29 October. Youngsters can try their hand at making tasty spider webs, explore the Batty Trail and make some creepy crafts. Children who arrive wearing frightening fancy dress on the 28 and 29 October will get a free treat.
Plus, don’t forget to try out one of the regular weekly activities such as crafty nature on Saturdays, family guided walks every Sunday, a classic game event on Tuesdays, Stay and Play every Thursday and Flapjack Fridays, every Friday. See www.seatonjurassic.org or call on 01297 300 390.
There’s witches, caldrons and black cats galore at World of Country Life, Exmouth this October half term week. The Halloween fun starts on Monday 23 October, with loads of spooky goings on and extra activities including pumpkin carving and a Halloween activity trail. The most spooktacularly popular event is the family Halloween Show which this year features park Mascot ‘Appy Angus and a strangely familiar witch. Hilarious antics have come to be expected in the Farmyard Theatre and this year’s show will no doubt live up to expectations. The Halloween spooktacular comes to an end on Sunday 29 October which is also the last day of the 2017 season for the park. See www.worldofcountrylife.co.uk for full details
This Halloween don’t brave the cold October evening - instead, visit the Riviera Centre to enjoy an evening of fun and games for the kids – and a bar for the grown-ups.
So, gather those budding goblins, ghouls and ghosts on Tuesday 31 October, for a night of competitions, spooky games, fancy dress and a devilish disco. The scaring starts at 5pm, with the final boo at 9pm.
This event has sold out for the last two years running so get your tickets fast. Buy your tickets online www.rivieracentre.co.uk or call the box office on 01803 206333.
Returning on Saturday 4h November, River Dart Country Park’s annual Bonfire Night bonanza is set to be the biggest yet. Kicking off the evening’s events, the bonfire will be set alight at 6.30pm, followed by a firework display at 7pm. It’s £6.50 per person for all day entry to the park and £22 for a family of four. Visit the park’s website for more details and directions: see www.riverdart.co.uk
Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park is known for its life sized animatronic dinosaurs but it also has meerkats, wolves and even lions.
This Halloween, join in with the hunt to find the pumpkins around the park and win yourself a Halloween Treat - or dare you enter the haunted Pharaoh’s Tomb.
Plus, there’s an extra Halloween Bat Talk to find out about the bats who live in a Dinosaur belly. Visit www.wildlifedinosaurpark.co.uk
Celebrate Halloween at Becky Falls, with pumpkin carving, special effects scary scars and spooky craft activities where you can create a spider noughts and crosses game or spider spinner. Enjoy the wonderful woodland walks and watch the ‘Animal Encounters of the Scary Kind’ show, where you can meet and touch snakes and lizards – it’s definitely not for the fainthearted. All shows and activities are included in the entrance fee. See www.beckyfalls.com
Stimulate and excite young minds and bring history and science to life with a visit to Coldharbour Mill’s Steam Day on Sunday 29 October. Starting at 10.30 the Mill will be in steam and the factory will be operating as it would have in Victorian times, providing a hands-on opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a Victorian factory – including how steam and water power changed the world forever.
Book online for a 10% discount. Find Coldharbour Mill at Uffculme, EX15 3EE. Call 01884 840960 or visit www.coldharbourmill.org.uk
Explore one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in England on a free Exeter Red Coat Guided Tour. Taking place throughout the year, these walking tours are a great introduction to the city. There are sixteen differently themed tours to choose from including ‘Ghosts and Legends’, ‘Medieval Exeter’, ‘Murder and Mayhem’, ‘Tudor Exeter’, ‘Cathedral to Quay’ and the new ‘Roman Exeter’ tour. Plus, look out for the special Halloween ‘Spooks and Broomsticks’ tour this October. See www.exeter.gov.uk/guidedtours. Exeter’s history extends below ground too. Visitors to Exeter’s Underground Passages can enjoy a fascinating exhibition, a short film presentation and a guided tour beneath the city’s streets. See www.exeter.gov.uk/passages
There’s lots to do at Castle Drogo this October, as every day from Saturday 21 to Sunday 29, visiting families can follow the hibernation hunt around the grounds.
On Saturday 28 October get your hands dirty with some clay modelling and on Sunday 29 October join in the crafty castle capers in the activity hut from 11am to 4pm.
On Tuesday 24 October, there will be a very special chance to meet the Castle Drogo builders. Call 01647 433306 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/castledrogo for more information.
If your child is looking for an awesome adventure this October Half Term, then take them to Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre on Exeter’s Canal and Quayside. Youngsters aged 8 to 16 years, can try out kayaking, sailing, raft building, archery, bushcraft, climbing, abseiling, artificial caving and paddle boarding. Plus, there’s a special spooky Halloween Day planned full of creepy crawly excitement! Go dressed up in your scariest outfit and do your best to spook the fun and friendly staff! Children aged 5 to 7 aren’t forgotten either as there’s a Little Adventurers option too. Book online at www.haven-banks.co.uk or call 01392 400150.
This October half term, from Saturday 21 to Sunday 29 October, discover the Halloween Horrors that have invaded Torquay’s Dinosaur World. Save the dinosaurs from the ghastly ghosts and ghouls, and take the Halloween Horrors Hunt to win a Dinosaur Expert Certificate and a free160-million-year-old fossil.
From 3.30pm each day, go on the ‘Lights Out Torch Tour’ to explore the exhibition in the dark, listen to a scary ghost story, and meet Terry the baby T Rex. See www.torquaysdinosaurworld.co.uk for more details.
Whatever the weather, rain or shine, The Bear Trail guarantees you a fun and muddy time. Open every day through half term, it’s the perfect day out for all the family, from toddlers to grandparents. Fly down the zip wires, scramble under the bear nets and climb Bear Mountain, and when you’re finished, clean off at the shower point and make use of the new changing rooms. Then treat yourselves to a hot drink, cake, panini, or a freshly baked pizza, from the Bear Cave Café. The Bear Trail is based at Westcott, on the B3181 between Exeter and Cullompton. See www.thebeartrail.co.uk or call 01392 881780.
Throughout half-term week, from Friday 21 to Tuesday 31 October, Hannah’s will be running plenty of fun and spooky activities and will be celebrating its ever-popular Halloween Spooktacular on Friday 27 October from 5.30pm to 8pm.
Hannah’s has become infamous for its fiendishly fun Halloween festivities. Children can take a ride around the Broomstick Obstacle Course, tackle the giant Mr Bones Skeleton Puzzle and try their hand at Spooky Story Writing. They can also try Mummy Bowling, Graveyard Golf, go on a Ghost Hunt, a treasure hunt with a spooky difference, pumpkin carving and cookie decorating.
Other Halloween events include Pyjama Drama’s performances of Room on the Broom on 25, 26 and 27 October, and the Halloween Spooktacular on the 27th, which will be filled with spooky stalls, gruesome games, creepy creatures and a haunted disco. To book tickets call 01626 325825 or visit: www.discoverhannahs.org/whats-on
Shoot a bow and arrow, score a strike and pot a black, all under one roof at Aztec Games indoor play arena in the heart of Torquay, within the TLH Leisure Resort group of hotels. With 2000 square foot of wall-to-wall fun and games, it’s the perfect all-weather family entertainment venue. You’ll find indoor archery, 4 lanes of 10 pin bowling, table tennis, snooker, pool, dance mats and lots more, as well as Aztec Soft Play for your little ones. Open daily from 10am to 11pm. See www.tlh.co.uk/aztec-games for more.
Feathers will be flying at Exeter Racecourse on 27 November when the racing Clydesdales come thundering down the home straight. With professional jockeys on board, they will be racing in aid of the Devon Air Ambulance on Devon Day when the racecourse celebrates everything Devon!
There will be plenty to enjoy for all the family such as Dartmoor ponies to pet and small animals to meet. Devon residents will be eligible for a £5 discount on tickets booked in advance and children aged 17 and under race free. For more information head to www.exeter-racecourse.co.uk
There is so much happening on Occombe farm this autumn half term. Learn the most disgusting slimy and smelly facts about bugs and beasts on the Gruesome Occombe Quest. There is Halloween Cookery for Kids and Meet our Animals sessions; where the children can feed the animals. The Kid’s Holiday Club is jam packed with wild fun and is great holiday childcare too from 8.30am – 4.30pm. Check out all the half term events at www.countryside-trust.org.uk or call 01803 696253.
From Monday 23 to Friday 27 October, a feast of frightening fun awaits for your little horrors at eerie Dartmouth Castle. Enjoy spooky stories and craft activities and explore the creepy castle, specially-decorated for the scariest time of the year. See www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/creepy-castle-dartmouth-23-10-2017 or call 01803 833588.
Ride the Beer Frights Ghost Train at Pecorama, Beer, this Autumn Half Term. Open daily 10am to 5pm and extended to 7pm on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 October for especially creepy evening trips on the Beer Heights Light Railway. All weather fun is promised at both the indoor and outdoor play areas, with the Play Station open late for both evening events. For more details visit www.pecorama.info or call 01297 21542.
Pigs, ponies and plenty of pumpkins will be kicking off the October Half Term fun at Pennywell Farm. There is an action-packed day lined up with hundreds of friendly animals to meet, a different hands on activity or show every half hour and four farm rides included in the admission price. A pumpkin will also be thrown in for you to carve and take home so you can leave all the mess behind. Entertainers Mr Phil and Poco Drom will be at Pennywell during the week, with the welcome return of Pennywell favourite and gentleman juggler, Matt Pang. The last day of the 2017 season is on 29 October. Full details can be found on www.pennywellfarm.co.uk
Clear Property’s charity Halloween fun run, keeps getting bigger and better! There are 1k and 3k courses, for all ages, with lots of frights and spooky goings on. Go along in fancy dress (prizes for best dressed) and enjoy storytelling, games and entertainment, as well as a BBQ and refreshments. Each entrant receives their own bib, refreshment, medal and treats. Fun for all the family, while raising money for Age UK Exeter. The Fun Run will take place at Cowick Barton Playing Fields, Barton Road, Exeter EX2 9 on Thursday 26 October from 4.30pm – 7pm. Enter online and for more information: www.exeterfunrun.co.uk
The perfect half-term treat from Tall Stories, creators of hit shows The Gruffalo and The Snail and the Whale. Billy has everything a young goat could need - and more besides. On New Year’s Eve, Billy is looking forward to the annual visit of the legendary Snow Dragon, who will bring him even more goodies... An enchanting story, toe-tapping songs and lots of laughs for everyone aged 3 and up. Friday 27 October 2pm at The Beehive, Honiton. See www.beehivehoniton.co.uk or call 01404 384050