Halloween is just around the corner and this October half term (Monday 24 October to Friday 28 October 2016) there are plenty of ghoulish goings on and spooktastic days out and short breaks to enjoy as a family. We've picked some of the best things to do with the kids during the school holidays in England, from a night at a haunted gallery to swimming with sharks after dark...
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Join a haunted sleepover at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London
Pack up the kids' sleeping bags for a Halloween sleepover with a difference at the Dulwich Picture Gallery from 29 to 30 October. Little monsters can pay a visit to the on-site haunted house, interact with the paintings brought to life by mystery guests and create a vintage-inspired Halloween print to take home. Bed down for the night among the Old Masters and wake up to breakfast and a classic film. All children (suitable for 7 to 13 years) must be accompanied by an adult. £50 per person.
Have a fangtastic night out at Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire
Discover the inspiration behind the gothic tales of Dracula at Whitby Abbey with frighteningly fun activities during the half term break. Visitors to the medieval church can join a scary storytelling session and travel along a spooky trail. During the evenings of 26 to 29 October families can see Whitby Abbey illuminated in colourful lights and hear dark tales of the sordid past. Make it a short break and stay at North Yorkshire Moors Caravan Club Site, set in the relaxing surrounding of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, from £17.90 per night for two adults and two children. £23.40 per family for the Illuminated Abbey and £18.40 per family for Spooky Abbey events.
Roll up to the Eden Project's circus-themed spectacle in Cornwall
Visitors to the Eden Project will be spellbound by spooky illusions, magic shows and bubble wizardry as the spirit of the circus haunts Halloweden this half term (22 to 30 October). Expect pop-up performances, puppetry and ringmaster training, as well as bewitching owls and pumpkin carving. One of the big attractions will be the bubbleologist and magician the Bubble Wizard who will thrill audiences with his breathtaking bubble sculptures. Don't miss the Victorian flea circus featuring a troupe of minute stars, the Little Monsters' Ball on 29 October and a spine-tingling skate on Eden's ice rink. £62 per family of four for advanced tickets, Little Monsters' Ball and ice skating extra.
Meet wicked witches at the Wookey Caves in Somerset
Explore Somerset's mysterious Wookey Caves with a guided tour from ghosts and ghouls residing in the caverns this half term (22 to 30 October). Families will be greeted by the Wookey Hole Witch, before discovering the secrets of the famous caves. After touring the Wookey Caves, you can watch the Halloween circus show and children will have the chance to enter a fancy dress competition when they visit dressed as their favourite Halloween character. Just six miles from Wookey Hole, you can make a mini-break of it by staying at Cheddar Caravan Club, from £26.70 per night for two adults and two children.
Snorkel with sharks in the dark at SEA LIFE London Aquarium
This Halloween, the exclusive Snorkeling with Sharks in the dark experience returns to the SEA LIFE London Aquarium from 27 to 31 October, offering would-be divers the chance to come face-to-fin with over 15 magnificent sharks after hours. The evening experience will see shark lovers submerged beneath the water in a mesh divers net, equipped with explorer-style red light torches to spot six species of shark in the eerie darkness. A transparent perspex floor will give clear views right to the bottom of the five-metre-deep display, where a bowmouth guitarfish and several nurse sharks dwell, while all around you impressive sand tiger sharks, brown sharks and sleek black tip reef sharks circle just feet away. Participants must be at least 1.3 metres in height. £180 per person.
Experience spine-tingling fun at Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire
Dare to get spooked this Halloween? Then head for Drayton Manor Theme Park with the whole family (safety in numbers), but beware of a crack or the sound of footsteps behind you as you enter into some frightfully-fun activities in the park. From 15 to 30 October, Thomas Land will be transformed into the spooktacular island of Sodor, where little ones can explore Flynn's Fire Rescue and Toby's Tram Express, and uncover what's lurking behind Fat Controller's door. Meander through the haunted house for a scare a minute and get into the 'All Hallows' spirit as you take on The Haunting. From £59 for advanced family tickets.