12 ways to celebrate Halloween with the kids in Essex

PUBLISHED: 16:56 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:08 30 September 2020

Audley End Miniature Railway at Halloween (photo: Emma Jenkins / Audley End Miniature Railway)

Audley End Miniature Railway at Halloween (photo: Emma Jenkins / Audley End Miniature Railway)

Audley End Miniature Railway

From a trail of terror to pumpkin carving and a coven of witches, here’s how to celebrate Halloween with the family in Essex

*Note* For all events, booking or advance notice is recommended. Please be aware that if Covid-19 restrictions are re-imposed there may be cancellations or alterations to these activities or the way an event is delivered.

1. Shriek Week & The Trail of Terror at Colchester Zoo

24 Oct-1 Nov

Join in the fang-tastic themed displays and activities and see the dinosaurs during Shriek Week at Colchester Zoo this October Half Term (24 Oct-1 Nov). The ever-popular Fright Nights will not be happening this year due to Covid-19, but instead, Colchester Zoo has created The Trail of Terror, a 90-minute long spooktacular route with scares, screams and laughter featuring rustling bushes, masked monsters and more (safe zones are available as well as food outlets for snacks and drinks). Taking place on 30 & 31 October with additional dates to be confirmed (6pm-10pm, £15pp).

Maldon Road CO3 0SL; colchester-zoo.com

2. Halloween Special at Audley End Miniature Railway

24 Oct-1 Nov

This is an exciting day out you will never forget. Jump abroad on its brand-new luxury carriages, chugging deep into the estate woodland where you will arrive at the witches’ house and be greeted by the coven of witches together with their cheeky pumpkin friends. If you return from your train journey, the entertainment continues as you venture back into the woods to meet Herbert the funny, haunted, talking house and much more. Adults £15, kids £15 (children under 92cm, £7.50).

Saffron Walden CB11 4JB; audley-end-railway.co.uk

3. Spooky Nights Family Halloween at Barleylands Farm, Billericay

26-30 Oct

Looking for somewhere to go this Halloween with the family? Barleylands Farm is offering spellbinding fun for all ages over the October Half Term. It will be filled with little scares and spooky fun for everyone and most likely animals too! Stay tuned for more details on the website. From 10am. Entry £12.50 for adults and children (under 2s free).

Barleylands Road, Billericay CM11 2UDS; 01268 532253; barleylands.co.uk

4. Pumpkin Carving & Creepy Crawlers at Beth Chatto Gardens

27 Oct

This family garden activity morning is a great way to get ready for your Halloween celebrations. Carve your own character pumpkin to take home and find some real creepy creatures. The latest recommended hygiene and social distancing practices will be adhered to creating. 10am to noon. Tickets £9 per adutl-accompanied child.

Elmstead Market, Colchester CO7 7DB; bethchatto.co.uk

5. Autumn Fun for Kids at Museum of Power, Maldon

28-31 Oct

Take the little ones along to the Museum of Power during the holidays and join in the wide range of fun. There will be a bug hunt with Essex Wildlife Trust to find insects in the grounds, painting, hiding and finding rocks around the museum grounds, craft activities, exciting engineering and so much more. From 10am. Adults £6, kids aged 5-15, £2.50, under 5s free.

Hatfield Road, Langford CM9 6QA; museumofpower.org.uk

6. Halloween Obstacle Courses at Wild Forest, Brentwood

19-30 Oct

Wild Forest has added two new Halloween obstacle courses for half term - the Halloween Obstacular Assault Course for ages 11+, and the Halloween Pumptastic Obstacle Fun Course for ages 6-10. The 11+ course, a one-hour session where parents can drop and go (or join in), features obstacles like Beat the Nuclear Wall, monkey bars, a new nuclear rig and plenty of mud. The activities are outdoors, Covid-secure and hosted by the Wild Forest crew. Priced £16pp for 11+ and £14.50 for ages 6-10. Available Monday to Friday.

Parsonage Farm, Kelvedon Hatch, Brentwood CM15 0LA; wild-forest.co.uk

7. Pick your own Pumpkins at Foxes Farm Produce, Basildon & Colchester

3-4 Oct, 10-11 Oct, then daily from 17-31 Oct

Foxes Farm Produce has been growing and harvesting pumpkins for over 10 years now, so you know where to go for a quality to carve! This year, Foxes Farm Produce’s Pumpkin Patch is operating an online booking system to help with social distancing. Oh and Denise van Outen has been known to PYO here... Family Ticket (four people) £5, additional tickets £1.50.

Watch House Farm, Wash Road, Basildon SS15 4ER & Aldham, Colchester CO6 3PR; foxesfarmproduce.co.uk

8. Halloween themed Maize Maze & PYO Pumpkin Patch at Cammas Hall, Hatfield Broad Oak

1-31 October (closed Mon 5th, 12th & 19th)

Cammas Hall on the Essex/Herts border is running things a little differently this year, but the fun must go on! There will be no tractor rides out to the pumpkin fields as in previous years, and access to the pumpkin patch will be ticketed (£2). Table bookings have been suspended, but you can get takeaway, with breakfast, lunch, cakes, pumpkin lattes, mulled apple juice and butternut squash soup available daily 9am-4pm. At weekends and during half term they will also be firing up the BBQ and pizza oven. The Maize Maze will offer two experiences - the Tooth Scary mini maze and Ghost Town main maze! £3.50pp or £3pp for families of four or more.

Needham Green, Hatfield Broad Oak CM22 7JT; cammashall.co.uk

9. The Lost Knights of Mountfitchet Castle Treasure Trail, Stansted

24 Oct-1 Nov

Mountfitchet Castle & Norman Village of 1066, the world famous visitor attraction in Stansted, is offering spooky Halloween fun in the form of a Lost Knights of Mountfitchet Castle Treasure Trail and a new Labyrinth of Dungeons. There’s no extra charge, just the general admission charge of £12 for adults and £10 for kids aged 3-13. Call 01279 813237 to book your slot.

Stansted CM24 8SP; mountfitchetcastle.com

10. Halloween Family Trail at Marks Hall Estate, Coggeshall

24 Oct-1 Nov

Uncover beastly facts and see the spooky sights of Marks Hall Estate this half term. Can you spot the Screaming Oak? What will you find in The Wild Wood? Solve the creepy clues and claim your hauntingly good munchkin pumpkin prize to take home. Collect a trail sheet from the admission kiosk. Suitable for ages 5-12 years priced £2 per child. No need to book, just turn up. Marks Hall Estate is closed on Mondays.

Marks Hall Road, Coggeshall CO6 1TG; markshall.org.uk

11. Dr Gore’s Spooky Mad Lab at Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

24 Oct-1 Nov

Join the scary Dr Gore and Mad Lab assistants for spooktakular science shows and interactive family fun every day from 24 October to 1 November at 11.40am, 1.40pm and 3.40pm. Evil Dr Gore will be conjuring up wickedly messy experiments as part of a hauntingly delightful mix of science and fun for all the family. Families can also get into the spirit by making witches hats, dressing up, and getting hands on with a range of Halloween arts and crafts. Tickets include all the exhibitions on the 300-year-old site. Adults £10.50, kids aged 3-15 £8.50.

Beaulieu Drive, Waltham Abbey EN9 1JY; royalgunpowdermills.com

12. Where’s Wally? Spooky Museum Search at Colchester Castle

9 Oct-1 Nov

Join the search for Wally at Colchester Castle this half term. Part of the national Where’s Wally? Spooky Museum Search, organised by Kids in Museums and Walker Books, this special Halloween event celebrates the release of the new Where’s Wally? book, Spooky Spotlight Search. Pick up an activity sheet and hunt for Wally in the castle’s collections. Some friendly ghosts will be on hand to help you find Wally, as well as some special QR codes unveiling some of the real ghost stories linked to the castle’s long history. The event is included as part of the admission price (adult £10, kids aged 4-16 £5.95).

Castle Park, Colchester CO1 1TJ; colchester.cimuseums.org.uk

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