Mwa-ha-halloween and half term guide!
Spooky tours, starry skies and pick your own pumpkins. Over 30 ideas to guarantee a happening half term in Devon and beyond.
PYO Pumpkin Festival, Thornes Farm Shop, Stockleigh Pomeroy, Crediton, Thurs 29 – Sat 31 Oct
Mid-Devoners, head to the patch at Thornes Farm Shop for three days of picking, plus any child that turns up in fancy dress is promised sweets. (Cafe will be open for food and drink.)
Sundown Adventure, Go Ape, Haldon Forest, various dates
As if whizzing through a tree canopy at vertigo-inducing heights isn’t scary enough, now your little thrill-seekers can do it in the dark. Ages 6 and over. or 1.2m-plus
Halloween Family Fun Day, Ashcombe, 10am-midday, Sat 31 Oct
An outdoorsy Halloween for mud-pie makers and woodsy types, A Touch of the Wild’s fun morning promises apple bobbing, broomstick making, marshmallow toasting and spooky stories round the campfire.
Halloscream, Woodlands Family Theme Park, Blackawton nr Totnes
Plenty on for thrill-seekers including rides on Tractors of the Woodlands Ghost Farm, a Ghost Walk and a mystical maze, as well as the usual zoo-farm, falconry and rides.
Halloween Fun by Day, The Big Sheep, Bideford, half term
One of the few places kids can still do pumpkin carving, plus there’s apparently a witches’ flying school which sounds interesting. Plus, a ghost train, roller coaster, all-weather play barn with slides tunnels and ball pits (time limitations apply. Booking essential.
Where to pick your own
Didn’t get round to growing your own? Thank the lord we can fall back on those trusty farmers with their early starts and bulging pumpkin patches, eh? Here’s nine pick your own patches to go foraging for that perfect Halloween lantern.
And for when you’re tired of pumpkins (never!)
Piglet racing at Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh, open daily
Yes, it’s still on! Though the day is now split into two half-day sessions and contact with the animals is restricted to strokes rather than cuddles, you can still enjoy the sight of Pennywell’s piglets and the Red Rocket, Tractor/Trailer and Rainbow Railway rides are running, as wells the new miniature pony and donkey centre.
Paignton Zoo, Paignton, open daily
All the outdoor attractions at the zoo are open, although the reptile nursery, nocturnal house and giant tortoises are off limits. Loads still to see though, from baboons having breakfast to big cats and orang-utans, giraffes and more. Here’s what’s happening today. (groups of six only).
SPORT: Devon Duathlon, Bicton College, Woodbury Common, Budleigh Salterton, Sun 25 Oct
So how many Joe Wicks did you honestly do in lockdown? Not enough? Then perhaps this is for you – a 10 km 2 lap run on tarmac & gravel paths and a bike leg of 40 km. If, like me, you thought about exercise far more often than you actually did it then maybe the novice race is more your bag. Age and gender are gloriously irrelevant: the event is open to all. (Note new location/previously called the Dartington Duathlon).
KIDS: Seasports Holiday Club, Teignmouth
Keep kids busy on the ocean with two days mastering SUP, sailing, windsurfing and kayaking.
CHILDREN’S THEATRE: According to Arthur, Exeter Phoenix, Mon 26 – Weds 28 Oct
PaddleBoat Theatre’s tale of an isolated old man as he re-engages with the outside world, and with the exciting, adventurous life he once led – all brought to life through a blend of puppetry, object play, music, mime and storytelling.
Bear Town, Westcott, Cullompton
The Bear Trail family assault course at Cullompton have a new indoor attraction opening for 1-12 year olds, aimed at learning through play with 12 themed role play areas, where kids can be pretend to be vets, chefs, bank tellers and more. Pre-booking is essential, one child tickets costs £8.96 and includes 1 adult ticket and babes in arms are free.
Attractions open for half term
National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth
Book online for your timed slot and take your card as they’ve gone cashless during Covid. Takeaway food available.
Fun for all ages and where your budding Bob the Builders can have a go on life-sized diggers, dumper trucks and JCBs, plus rides on Go-Karts and Dodgems.
The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth
Sidmouth is open (and still free!) for donkey-bothering though the regional centres remain closed, as is the cafe and gift shop. No need to book but they advise you check their Facebook before setting out.
Exmoor Zoo, Bratton Fleming nr Barnstaple
Big cat lovers rejoice, Exmoor is open with a one-way zoo trail and through they’re not offering any handling or animal encounters, there’s still loads on, including talks and feeding sessions.
Halloween at Bodmin Jail, Bodmin, Cornwall, Mon 26 Oct – Sun 1 Nov
Admittedly this is just over the border into Cornwall but I won’t tell if you don’t. Bodmin Jail is going all out to terrify this half term with their terrifying dark walk attraction, not to mention the even more spooky late night ghost walks, scary cinema and paranormal tours. Oooooh! (suitable for 16-plus).
Halloweden, Eden Project, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, 17 – 31 Oct
The popular Little Monsters Ball may be off the agenda this year but there is still a spooky trail around the gardens and biomes, the outdoor ice-skating and dressing up to be had.
Monsters of the Deep, National Maritime Museum, Falmouth
The National Maritime Museum continues with their Monsters of the Deep exhibition. Explore the centuries-old myths and legends, when chance sightings and odd appearances led to tall tales of deep sea creatures. Learn how, even today, these stories continue to capture imaginations, fuelled by fake news and conspiracy theories.
Half Term at The Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset
Drive a mini Landrover, free trails and a brand new WWII exhibition at the UK’s best collection of tanks (300 of them) covering 100 years of history.