From scary films, pumpkin picking, apple bobbing, fancy dress, trick-or-treating and woodland walks – there is a lot to live about Halloween. With schools breaking-up for a week this October half-term, it is one of the best school breaks for family entertainment. Halloween is such a captivating, exciting and immersive festivity that it lends itself so well to an array of events and entertainment. This is especially helpful when you have the nation’s school children to occupy and entertain for a week!
A festival about scary stories, ghosts, monsters, death, darkness, and hauntings might sound like the opposite of appropriate festivities for children. Sometimes as adults we forget that children seek to and need to test the limits of what they are scared of, seek the boundaries of what they are comfortable with and are as curious about darker aspects of this world as we are. Of course, as adults, it is up to us to allow them to explore these limits, boundaries and curiosities in an environment that is still safe, appropriate and mindful.
In principle, this is very similar to a visit to Dorset Adventure Park. Here families and friends, both children and adults, test their limits. They literally take the plunge. Children will race and leap across the wibit inflatable obstacle course on top of the lakes, testing their strength, resilience, bravery and limits. They leap across the water, dive, jump and bounce in! All of these things are known and proven to not just fortify children’s motor skills but really build their confidence and self-worth. Everyday of the summer holidays children and adults race and test each other as they battle across, over and under the 50 obstacles of the mud trail. Again, they test and challenge themselves, they get muddy and push their boundaries of comfort. Again, this too builds up their self worth and confidence. The crucial element of course is that both the mud trail obstacle course and the inflatable course are designed to be fun and safe. The lakes are monitored by lifeguards and run by instructors. As long as we keep a mindful eye to watch over children and provide safe arms for them to fall back into when they need it, there is no reason why we can’t let children make the most of Halloween. Even the sweetest fairytales have their dark storylines. So bob for apples, collect candy but don’t be scared to dip your toes in something suitably spooky this halloween. Follow our guide for some perfect family activities in Dorset this halloween half-term.
We recommend a visit to the spectacularly spooky Corfe Castle this half term. Not only is it said to be one of the most haunted places in Dorset, this beautiful National Trust site has plenty of suitably spooky activities on offer. Follow the family quest trail, find all of the pumpkins and don’t miss out on the teddy bear zip line and its gruesome tale of King John. Click on the link for more information about the half-term events at Corfe Castle.
Creating hideous, ghoulish faces carved into pumpkins is an absolute must and staple tradition of Halloween. Carving a creepy face into a head-shaped bulbous squash, is the perfect blend of sinister and silly. You can easily pick-up pumpkins at your local supermarket but there is something unique, special and actually quite wholesome about picking your own pumpkin. Dorset is such a beautiful and fertile landscape that we might as well make the most of what it has to offer. Picking your own pumpkin also subtly cements for children that connection and relationship between land and food.
There are plenty of pick your own pumpkin patches across Dorset including: the picking patch at Fordingbridge, Farmer Palmers in Poole, Sutton Farm in Windborne, Cat & Fiddle Farm Christchurch, Bincombe Bumps Pumpkins near Weymouth and Lenctenbury Farm Corfe Castle.
A Spooktacular Night at The Museum
Visit Lyme Regis Museum After Dark on Friday the 27th of October for: Torchlight Tours, Creepy Crafts, Spooky Stories, Freaky Face Painting and ‘a journey through 200 million years of history…’
On the same night you can visit Dorset Museum in Dorchester for another spooktacular family friendly evening of freaky fun where you can, ‘meet the Museum’s friendly ghosts and ghouls whilst discovering curious objects and spooky surprises!’
Take The Ghost Train
Visit Exbury gardens and Steam railway for a truly immersive halloween experience this half-term. A crew of ghoulish characters will be haunting the train tracks and entertaining families aboard the steam train as you join a quest to rid Exbury gardens of its ghost once and for all. The Ghost Train will depart from Exbury Central Station every 45 minutes from October 26 to November 1, 10.45am to 3.45pm and is about 30 minutes long. Book your train ticket via the link here.
Wicked Wildlife Trail
Explore Studland and Knoll beach for a fantastic family day outdoors where you can visit the witches’ apothecary to brew potions, make your own broomsticks (essential for any young witch, wizard or ghoul) find your way through the spider cave, search for bats and more! Discover times and dates at the link here.
There you have it, everything you need for a happy Halloween!
Words by Olivia Lowry