Kent: October half term and Halloween family activities 2018

by My Kent Family reporter

There's a whole host of Halloween activities happening across the county this October half term.

From woodland trails to pumpkin carving and fancy dress competitions, Kent's attractions are definitely getting their spook on.

Here's our pick of the best...

The Halloween trail will run from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28 at Betteshanger
The Halloween trail will run from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28 at Betteshanger

Betteshanger Country Park, Deal

Deep in the woods, something is stirring this half term... Vampires are on the loose. The Halloween trail will run from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28, between 10am and 3pm each day. Young visitors can solve the riddles, complete the activities and earn a place in the Vampire Welfare Society. The trail is suitable for three to eight-year-olds and costs £1.50, with wellies advisable. During half term, bike hire is half price for kids at £3.50 on Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21. For details visit betteshanger-park.co.uk

Broadditch Hauntfest

From Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28 there will be a range of scarily good activities for children. There's the Freaky Forest tractor trailer ride, the Boo Bungalow, Monster Madness and pumpkin carving workshops at the Broadditch Farm Shop in New Barn Road, Southfleet. For details of times and prices, visit spookycastle.co.uk/day-events/

Brogdale, Faversham

There will be activities throughout the week at the home of the National Fruit Collection. Young visitors can meet bugs and beasts on Beastie Day on Tuesday, October 23, with a bug hunt in the orchards and the chance to discover the creatures living in among the apples. On Wednesday, October 24 there will be a Meet the Owls Evening, when you can see the owls swoop and fly in the barn. On Friday, October 26 there will be a Wild Weather Day when you can ride the tractor trailer to Brogdale’s interactive weather station, take scientific measurements, and learn about the weather. Book your tickets at brogdalecollections.org

Bluewater Toy Testing Lab
Bluewater Toy Testing Lab

Bluewater Shopping Centre

Bluewater Shopping Centre is inviting children to test and review this year's must-have toys between Monday, October 22 and Friday, October 26. Popular brands including LEGO, Build-a-Bear, Disney, John Lewis, The Entertainer, Hawkins Bazaar and Early Learning Centre will all be bringing some of their toys to the Toy Testing Lab for children to play with. Further details here.

Canterbury Tales

The attraction in Margaret Street holds its Spook Quest for half term from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28. There will be ghosts and ghouls hidden throughout the venue, and alongside the regular storytelling tours, young visitors can enjoy a spooky trail. Armed with their trail sheet, kids can hunt down ghosts, and when they complete the trail, they can claim a spook-tacular prize. Entry is £10.95, with five to 15 years £8.95 and a family £32.50. To book call 01227 696 002 or visit canterburytales.org.uk

Chatham Historic Dockyard

Enchantment and Magic is back at the dockyard for October half term, when the Enchanted Garden returns in the grounds of The Commissioner’s House. There will be craft activities, and pumpkin carving, plus to ensure all your dreams are enchanted, there will also be a chance to create a dream catcher. There’s also wand making and storytelling throughout the day and for weekend visitors, there's the chance to see the Pumpkin Express. A visit to the Enchanted Garden is included in the entry ticket, though there is a small extra charge for some activities. Go to to The Historic Dockyard Chatham. Learn more here and dockyard.co.uk for tickets and details.

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Demelza Hospice Halloween Pumpkin Hunt

The Halloween Pumpkin Hunt is being organised by Demelza Hospice Care for Children on Thursday, October 25 and Friday, October 26 and taking place in towns across the county including Whitstable, Gravesend, West Malling and Sevenoaks.

In each chosen town, pumpkins will be on display with various retailers and at local landmarks and children will be required to hunt for them while picking up treats from shops and businesses along the way. Fancy dress is encouraged and the best Halloween costume in each location will win a prize. The Halloween Pumpkin Hunt takes about an hour to complete and is open to children aged three to 11. To learn more click here.

Dover Castle

Who's feeling brave? The castle will become a Haunted Castle from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28, between 10am and 4pm every day. Prepare to be scared when you can try a frighteningly fun day and enter the tunnel of terror or say boo to a ghost or two. There will also be creepy crafts, and prizes for the best children's Halloween costume. To find out more about visiting english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/haunted-castle-dover

Hauntingly good fun for the family is promised at Dreamland
Hauntingly good fun for the family is promised at Dreamland

Dreamland Margate

There will be seven days of hauntingly good fun for the family from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28. Get spooked in a slippery slime factory, put your craft skills to use in a Halloween-themed costume workshop, get jumpy in a spooky games arena or get lost in a puzzle hedge maze. There will also be a appearances from children’s TV superhero favourites, PJ Masks on Wednesday, October 24. Get Spooked will run from noon to 4pm each day, though the park itself is shut on Monday, October 22 and Tuesday, October 23. There is also the scare festival for adults, Screamland - for those who dare! Details at dreamland.co.uk

Hever Castle

Prepare to be spooked at the castle this Halloween and half term, with activities running from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28. Listen to ghostly tales in the Ghost Catcher’s Lair, follow the pumpkin trail in the grounds and hear tales of the ghosts of Hever in the castle. There will also be a craft workshop to create a ghost puppet in a free creepy craft workshop or decorate a ghoulish biscuit. There will also be prizes for the scariest costumes. To find out more visit hevercastle.co.uk

Hop Farm Paddock Wood

A spook-tastic feast of fun for the holidays runs from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28. Kids can go to the family park in in their best Halloween fancy dress and take part in pumpkin carving, face painting, laser games, storytelling, as well as magic shows and and meeting the animals. On Wednesday, October 24, Fireman Sam will be popping by on Wednesday, October 24. Details at thehopfarm.co.uk/events

Hornby Visitor Centre

Visit the Margate attraction on Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21 to make and paint an Airfix model. The event takes place between 11am and 3pm and costs £2. Entry to the visitor centre is £2 but free to those who come in fancy dress! For more details see the centre's facebook page.

Take your babies to Howletts and Port Lympne with its kids go free offer
Take your babies to Howletts and Port Lympne with its kids go free offer

Howletts and Port Lympne

The Aspinall Foundation is bringing back its fantastic Kids Go Free offer for the half term break. Available from Saturday, October 13 to Sunday, October 28, inclusive of weekends, one child, aged up to and including 15-years-old, will enjoy free day entry with each full paying adult. More here.

Kent Life Maidstone

There's a spooky week on offer from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28. The farming attraction will be transformed for the spooky season. There’s pumpkin carving, a creepy cuddle corner, spooky farm rides and daily fancy dress competitions. You can also try a trick or treat in one of the historic houses if you're brave enough to see who’s lurking behind the doors! To find out more click here and go to kentlife.org.uk for ticket details.

Halloween fun at Leeds Castle last year
Halloween fun at Leeds Castle last year

Leeds Castle

From Monday, October 22 to Sunday, October 28, help Monster Hunter Valerie Van Helsing on her quest through the castle grounds to investigate The Case of the Halloween Monster - but watch out for Halloween bandits along the way. Characters will be hiding across the estate from 11am to 1pm and again from 2pm to 4pm, including Vinnie the Vampire and Frank Frankenstein. Complete the trail card to claim a chocolate reward. There will also be a new haunted trail through the Woodland Walk and a Monster Mash Ball from noon to 3pm with daily fancy dress contests at 2pm with prizes. New family tickets for the castle cost £70 online or £74 on the day and last for a year. For details go to leeds-castle.com

Lullingstone Castle, Eynsford

There will be a Halloween & Pumpkin Carving event on Sunday, October 28 between noon and 7pm, which is also the last day the house and World Garden are open for the season. For more details call 01322 862114 or go to lullingstonecastle.co.uk

Maidstone Museum

The museum in Earl Street will hold Make It workshops from Tuesday, October 23 to Friday, October 26, between 10.30am and 4pm. Each day will have a different craft activity, including making an autumn suncatcher, a tealight candle holder, a skeleton scarecrow and a megaphone. You need to book your session at museum.maidstone.gov.uk

Penshurst Place

There will be a host of Halloween happenings going on at the house and gardens from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28. There will be a Halloween Garden Trail every day when young visitors must unravel ridiculous riddles and rhymes between 10.30am and 6pm daily. Look out for abandoned broomsticks that passing witches leave hanging about in the air and on the way out, enter the annual Guess the Weight of the Pumpkin competition - with all pumpkins grown in the estate’s plant nursery. There will be Wicked Witches Storytelling between Monday, October 22 and Friday, October 26, and Not-so-Spooky Storytelling, also from Monday, October 22 to Saturday, October 27, led by Aardvark Productions. Hands-on-History will also be performing some fun mock demonstrations of Halloween skull surgery and leg amputation on Sunday, October 28 and there will be creepy crafts daily throughout the week. For more details go to penshurstplace.com

Fright at the Museum - The Beaney Canterbury
Fright at the Museum - The Beaney Canterbury

The Beaney, Canterbury

The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge is inviting families to stay into the evening to enjoy a spooktacular fundraising event.

For one afternoon and one night only, the city museum is becoming a haunted house and launching frighteningly good family fun on Friday, October 26 between noon and 8.30pm. There will be a ghost hunt trail, pumpkin carving, a chance to see artefacts up close from the museum's collections and The Black Cauldron Bar and Halloween themed menu at the cafe will keep everyone refreshed. To learn more click here.

NATIONAL TRUST:

Chartwell near Sevenoaks

Creepy things are lurking in the shadows around Chartwell for Halloween this half term from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, November 4. Follow the pumpkin trail around the gardens or guess the weight of the pumpkins. The trail is £1on top of normal admission costs.

Emmetts Garden, Sevenoaks

There will be a terrifying tree trail from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, November 4. Grab a trail sheet and find as many as you can. The trail is £1 on top of normal admission costs.

Ightam Mote, Borough Green

There's a bat trail with bat-themed clues around the garden to solve the trail running from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, October 28, between 10am and 4pm. The trail has been written by children from two local schools, Weald Community and Leigh Primary schools. There will also be a bat craft day on Thursday, October 25. Activities are £2.50.

Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst

Follow in the footsteps of the Victorian children who lived and played at Scotney Castle with the Children of Scotney Halloween trail between Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 28. The trail costs £2.

Smallhythe Place, Tenterden

There will be Halloween themed arts and crafts on Wednesday, October 24. Grab your broomsticks, hats and cloaks for an afternoon of spooky arts and crafts and coressed in your scariest Halloween costume, for a prize.

For more details of all National Trust activities across Kent, go to nationaltrust.org.uk/southeast

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