Half term boredom buster!
It's that time again - gawd, it rolls around fast, doesn't it?! But with our guide you can keep everyone, from over-excited tots to mono-syllabic teens, entertained all week long.
There’s tonnes of grisly, gruesome goings on for kids this Half Term, and our local stately homes and grounds just make the perfect spooky settings don’t they? For starters, events experts, Sneaky Experience are heading to Hatfield House (28th-31st) with a theatrical trail, pimp a pumpkin tent, spooky disco, plus stories, songs and creepy characters (aimed at 2-10 year olds). There’s also a Halloween trail at Knebworth House from 25th-29th, and you can book a family Sunday lunch with a difference at Knebworth Barns on 31st with spooky stories and a Halloween gift for the kids.
At Ashridge House the gorgeous gardens are getting a gruesome makeover from 25th-28th. Then there’s a Spooky Woodland Walk for 5-12 year olds at Wrest Park from 29th-31st and a Halloween Quest based on kids’ author Cressida Cowell’s bestselling Wizards of Once series.
Over at Wardown House ages 12+ are invited to hear the ghostly gardener tell some spine-tingling tales from 27th-30th. And kids aged 3-15 can explore the gardens and hangars of the Shuttleworth Estate after dark, meet some spooky characters and solve the mystery of the Lost Pilot (29th-31st). Finally, head to Rothamsted for Pumpkin Week (25th-29th) where kids can get creative with carving, decorating and crafting.
Loads of our local wildlife haunts (geddit?!) are putting on Halloween themed fun this month, where kids can get into the spirit (bam! I’m on fire!) while seeing the animals, too. At Mead Open Farm there’s a Pumpkin Spooktacular from 23rd-31st, with a pumpkin patch (plus a free pumpkin to take home), fairy tale villains trail, haunted house and a tiny terrors tractor ride. Head to Foxholes Farm from 23rd – 31st for the chance to win a hamper of farm fresh goodies for the best fancy dress, plus crafts, games and pumpkin carving.
Paradise Wildlife Park will be decked out for Halloween from 23rd-31st and the resident tigers will enjoy their annual pumpkin feast, plus there’s a special dinos after dark event from 22nd-31st, where the Jurassic residents will come ‘alive’ by moonlinght. Scary stuff! Finally, at Willows Activity Farm there’s a Pumpkin Festival from 16th-31st, with a picking patch, pumpkin hunt, gourd grotto and the usual programme of fun from Peter Rabbit and friends.
For littlies there’s Big Red Bath at the Quarry Theatre in Bedford (29th-31st), and both the Hat Factory in Luton and the Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre on 27th – a sweet picture book adaptation for 2-5 year olds and the ever popular The Hungry Caterpillar Show (23rd-25th) – both wins if you’re bringing along younger siblings too!
For slightly older, but still Primary age kids, there’s the whacky, yet endearing sounding puppet show based on Edward Lear’s absurd poem, The Dong with the Luminous Nose, coming to South Mill Arts on 25th for ages 7+. Four to eight-year olds will be taken on a magical adventure back in time (also on 25th) with Tiny Mites’ production of Cave Girl at the Radlett Centre.
Meanwhile at Wardown House, Bagshawe’s Antarctic Adventure (25th-26th) celebrates the 100th anniversary of the explorer’s expedition, as he comes ‘back to life’ to regale young audiences with exciting tales (age 7+). And Bubble Man (The Radlett Centre, 29th) never fails to impress with his amazing skills (even the tweens might enjoy this one!) – think bubble volcanoes, people inside bubbles and other bubble-based artistry!
Got a tweeny-bopper in the house? Grab the earplugs and treat them to their first live gig. Girl group tribute act, We Love Little Mix, are bringing all the hits to the Radlett Centre on 26th. While Ariana Grande and JoJo Siwa tribute act takes on the mega pop stars at The Grove Theatre in Dunstable on 24th.
Finally, 12’s and over might get a case of the goosebumps with this production of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at The Place Bedford on 23rd.
Cinemas are open again – yay! Enjoy a couple of hours of peace and quiet (we won’t tell if you doze off for a bit!) while the kids catch a movie. New on the screen is the punky update on the Disney classic, Cruella (12A) on 30th at The Rex in Berkhamsted, starring Emma Stone as the dalmatians’ arch nemesis. Teens are going to love the retro vibe of Gremlins 2 (PG13) at South Mill Arts, also on 30th.
The good old The Addams Family (PG) is showing at The Odyssey St Albans on 25th as is Cruella on 27th, modern twist on the Grimm tales, Into the Woods (PG) on 29th and wizardry from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (PG) on 30th, plus Tim Burton’s eerie Edward Scissorhands on 31st.
Younger viewers can catch Farmageddon (U) and The Princess and the Frog (U) on 16th and 17th, and 90s classic, The Iron Giant (PG) and all-new Space James LeBron James (U) on 23rd and 24th at the Broadway Cinema Letchworth. Plus there’s Peter Rabbit 2 (PG) on 28th, Paw Patrol: The Movie (U) on 25th and Big Hero 6 (PG) on 26th, all at The Rex.
And, book this Halloween craft event with a free screening of Hotel Transylvannia at Southern Maltings on 30th. There’ll be a prize for the best fancy dress, too!
CAMPS AND CREATIVITY
Theatre-loving 12-16 year olds will love getting hands-on for this workshop: Play in a Week(end) at The Place Bedford from 23rd, which covers playwriting and acting. And younger drama fans can join Trestle Theatre Company for two spooky-themed workshops – We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt for ages 5-10 on 26th and The Mummy’s Curse, for 11-16 year olds on 27th.
Or how about a different kind of storytelling… Code Ninjas are running a Half Term Storytelling in Scratch camp from 25-29th at Wyllyott’s Theatre in Potters Bar, where techie kids ages 7-14 can learn to get creative with coding. And for budding scientists Horrible Science at St Joseph’s in the Park School on 29th will be right up their street.
Kids prefer the great outdoors? Try Adventure School for size, where they’ll get chance to have a go at kayaking, paddle boarding, orientiering, raft building, archery and loads more at the Kempston Outdoor Centre, with Canoe Trail (25-29th) for ages 6-13. Or, sign them up to the Bushcraft Workshop at the Home Farm Glamping Site in Elstree on 29th where they’ll learn survival skills like campfire cooking and plant identification (ages 5-14)
For something a bit different that grown-ups will appreciate too, head to St Albans Cathedral for a spectacular light projection show reflecting on the planet over the course of a day. Under 5s go free. Life | What a Wonderful World is on from 26-30th.