FAMILY: Exmoor Dark Skies Festival, Mon 14 Oct – Sun 3 Nov
Look to the stars at the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival in Devon and over the border in Somerset, plus a mobile planetarium at Barnstaple and for the nesh: how about a cushy stargazing break at lovely Hunters Inn in the Heddon Valley?
THEATRE: One Under, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Thurs 17 – Sat 26 Oct
A young man jumps in front of a train Cyrus is driving, leading him to search for answers in a drama about atonement, the power of guilt and the fragility of the human relationship. Winsome Pinnock, a company renowned for placing deaf and disabled artists centre stage, brings you the audio-described and fully captioned, One Under.
KIDS: Where’s Wally Big Museum Hunt, Torquay Museum, Sat 19 – Sat 26 Oct
Wally has a rubbish sense of direction as we know and this time he’s lost in Torquay Museum (it’s easy to do). It’s down to the kids to help locate him amongst the amazing artefacts, with over 500 fiendish spot-the-differences to find. That’ll keep them busy for ooh, a good few minutes.
KIDS: Crealy Halloween Spookfest, Clyst St Mary, near Exeter, Sat 19 – Sun 27 Oct
Boo! A spooky selection of activities, including the Creaky Haunted Hotel, and a whole range of other terrifying attractions. PLUS, a free pumpkin for every littl’un who dares to enter!
KIDS: Halloween Hocus Pocus, Milky Way Adventure Park, Bideford, Sat 19 – Thurs 31 Oct
Witches and wizards are welcomed to Milky Way’s school of magic and sorcery this spooky season. Expect wand-making lessons, potion cooking and spell casting, as well as the other slightly less creepy attractions the park has to offer.
FAMILY: Day of the Dead Trail, Cockington Court, Torquay, Sun 20 Oct – 3 Nov
The talented artists of Cockington Court have conjured a Day of the Dead trail decorated with painted skulls for the kids to discover. And no tricks, only treats for the best skull-spotters.
KIDS: Marine Monster Mysteries, Living Coasts, Torquay, Mon 21 – Thurs 31 Oct
Join the marine monster trail, discovering the creatures of the deep, uncovering freaky facts and menacing myths this Halloween before collecting a ghoulish prize once completed. Who knew sea creatures could be so terrifying?
FAMILY: Star gazing: Orionids Meteor Shower, Dartington Hall Estate, 9pm, Mon 21 Oct
Wrap up and turn up (with a blanket) to Foxhole car park for Dartington’s star-gazing, to catch a load of the Orionids Meteor Shower, and here’s your chance to add a few constellations to the ones you know (yep, Orion and er…). Telescopes, hot dog and hot chocolate provided.
KIDS: Pumpkin Carving, The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth Weds 23 – Thurs 31 Oct
Have fun petting and cooing over the cute rescue donks, then they can pick and carve their own pumpkin to take home. £3 per pumpkin, the sanctuary itself is free to enter (so all the more to spend in the fab caf).
FAMILY: Disney on Ice, Westpoint Arena, Exeter, Weds 23 – Sun 27 Oct
Let the Disney nostalgia begin, as 50 Disney characters, from Anna to Olaf, Snow White to Cinderella, grace the ice. The perfect retelling of our favourite films and the most magical songs in celebration of its 100th anniversary.
DAY OUT: Apple Day, Clovelly, Bideford, Weds 23 Oct
Tis apple season! A time for cider, pie and apple bobbing (kids and adults alike) and Clovelly is giving us exactly what we want, once again, with their annual apple festival perfect for families with littlies who enjoy getting busy with crafts and games.
ART: Your Face/My Face, Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter, Weds 23 Oct
We see our own reflections in the mirror every day but ever wanted to know how other people see you (er, no)? Your Face/My Face pairs family and friends in a messy painting workshop to capture each other’s faces in all their glowing glory.
FESTIVAL: Pumpkin Festival with Spookley the Square Pumpkin, Darts Farm, Topsham, 2-4pm Wed 23 Oct
You can outsource it all at award-winning Dart’s Farm: pick the pumpkin, decorate it, hear a spooky tale from Spookley the Square Pumpkin and enjoy a wander round the farm. Worth every penny at £9.95, including a personal pumpkin for your littl’un to take home.
SHOW: Disney on Ice, Westpoint Arena, Exeter, Weds 23 – Sun 27 Oct
Hallelujah – some non-pumpkin themed half term fun! Let the Disney nostalgia begin as 50 Disney characters, from Anna to Olaf, Snow White to Cinderella, grace the ice. The perfect retelling of our favourite films and the most magical songs in celebration of its 100th anniversary.
KIDS THEATRE: It’s Hot, It’s Not, Reckless Sleepers, Dartington Hall Trust, Thurs 24 – Sun 27 Oct
Amuse the teenies (2-5 years old) with a trip to see It’s Hot It’s Not from Reckless Sleepers, a dialogue-free 45-minute piece of fun and games about the weather: why it can rain and shine at the same time, what happens in different hemispheres and why one person can be chilly, while another is hot and bothered (pass me the fan).
FESTIVAL: Festival of the Dead, Great Hall, University of Exeter, Fri 25 Oct
Want to get in on the scary Halloween action? This deathly fiesta for over 18’s combines creepy acrobats and circus performers, as well as a giant Skelton called El Diablo, plus live DJs and music. Sounds like a great excuse to slap on the face paint.
KIDS: Birmingham Royal Ballet First Steps, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Fri 25 Oct
Any budding Darcy Bussells in the family? Birmingham Royal Ballet’s fully interactive kiddies’ show brings the story of Peter and the Wolf to life with exquisite costumes, music and storytelling to immerse ages 3 and up in the wonders of dance.
HALLOWEEN: Fright Fest, Poltimore House, Exeter, Fri 25 – Sat 26 Oct
Are you brave enough to enter? This one’s definitely not for the littlies (12-plus and must be accompanied by and adult). A brand-new, knee-knocker of a maze as you’re guided through dilapidated, reputedly haunted Poltimore House exploring its spooky history dating all the way back to the 16th century. PS: there’s a bar should your nerves need a bit of calm afterwards.
DANCE: Barbican Theatre’s FUSE Diverse Dance: Fierce, Plymouth Athenaeum, Derry’s Cross, Sat 26 Oct
Shake your shimmy! An evening celebrating female artists – and the wild in all of us – in the dance of many cultures curated by FUSE Diverse Dance and Chhaya Collective. Expect an invigorating mix of styles, including contemporary, Indian, Flamenco, and West African.
Pumpkin Day, Riverford, Wash Farm, Buckfastleigh, Sat 26 Oct
It’s Riverford’s legendary annual Pumpkin Day – and their first ever plastic-free! Wellies on and down on the farm you go for this festival of autumnal cheer. Yes, you can expect all the usual pumpkin carving, face painting, entertainers, plus a creativity area. But there will also be a Farmer’s Market, and the chance to experience divine food from the Field Kitchen. This one’s a Muddy fave.
Words by Molly Grogan.