Let’s face it – a turnip on a bit of string and a black bin liner transformed into a witch’s outfit doesn’t cut it anymore. There was nowhere to buy a pumpkin or face paint in 1980’s Yorkshire – Good God, NO. It was mum’s black eyeliner, red lippy and a shit load of Sudocream that transformed us all into little horrors before we set upon the streets, knocking on neighbours doors and receiving cold, hard cash (made up of 2p’s and 1p’s). Not sweets!
The boys would roam the streets dressed up as mummies wrapped tightly in three rolls of bog roll – if it rained, we were all screwed…
Fast-forward 30 years and everywhere has cottoned on to the over-the-top American craze of Halloween. Enough ‘candy’ to rot the strongest of teeth and state-of-the-art costumes that cannot, by any means, be worn again next year.
Oh! The shame of having to re-use an outfit for the second year running at 6 years old.
The only thing worse than parting with your dough for some over-priced skeleton costume is the thought of having to make your own only to be subsequently judged by other, better-at-this-shit mums for your shoddy use of WonderWeb when really you should have spent some of all that spare time you have on hand-stitching.
But, fear not! We’re here to take the pressure off Halloween… certainly when it comes to impressing the little people with a bloody good show.
Lyndsey – Girl About Editor
Bolton Abbey’s Pumpkin Trail
Bolton Abbey’s Pumpkin Trail is always a winner. The kids manage to walk an entire mile without moaning thanks to a well-thought-out clue-filled adventure along the riverside path, which winds through Strid Wood from The Pavillion Cafe up to the famous Strid. Open clue-filled doors to Halloween faves such as snakes, rats, and a witch’s cat. My personal fave, which will be a source of laughter for years to come, is this particular cupboard pictured below.
The giant red-eyed spiders hanging precariously in the trees are a little disturbing for anyone with arachnophobia like me. But fear not, there is hot chocolate and face-painting when you reach the Strid.
Best of all? IT’S FREE!
The estate’s admission of £10 per vehicle applies. Collect your trail form on arrival from riverside car park kiosk. Hand your trail form in at the Cavendish shop to enter the competition to win a Bolton Abbey Season Ticket valid for 12 months.
This is a family event, suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Dogs are welcome on a lead.
For more information visit: https://boltonabbey.com/whats-on/pumpkin-trail/
Emma – Girl About Halifax
Brighouse Spooktacular Halloween Trail – Freaky & Free
Our favourite family Halloween adventure is in the town of Brighouse, just a couple of miles outside of my hometown of Halifax. Every year the shops and cafes take part in a free (and we love the word ‘free’ in Yorkshire) Halloween “Spooktacular” trail for the kiddies.
Some of the shops in Brighouse really go for it. Talking skeletons, cobweb-infested shops and spooky ghouls set up home for the night. In previous years we’ve taken a chance on ‘poisoned’ apples from the local fruit & veg shop and walked away with sweets, cakes, books and even a bath bomb!
Czerwik’s Deli send those who dare to step inside their shop, down to the haunted wine cellar, and Treble Clef music shop is always awash with scary surprises.
There’s no obligation to buy anything from any the participating businesses – the carpet shop certainly isn’t expecting you to commit to re-carpeting your front room but it’s nice to support small local businesses, and who knows, you might just spot a shag pile and fall in love with it whilst your little ones are navigating pumpkins and plastic tarantulas.
There are a couple of cafes and pubs along the way too so everyone’s a winner.
Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/242861456398353/
Charlotte – Girl About York
York Maze – It’s a-maze-ing!
Crowned the ‘most haunted city in Europe’, York is the perfect place for some seriously spooky Halloween shenanigans. However, with a toddler in tow, I have to give the ghost walks and haunted house nights a miss in favour of something a little less blood-curdling.
My favourite place for some family-friendly Halloween fun is the York Maze Halloween Festival. There is so much to do, it’s packed with themed activities to entertain the little ghouls.
It wouldn’t be Halloween without pumpkins and this place has a pumpkin patch with thousands of the giant orange orbs. Every child gets a free pumpkin and after choosing one from the patch, there is a carving tent where they can get cracking on bringing their creative vision to life (or just hack at it).
My little horror always dons her finest Halloween regalia as there is a daily fancy dress parade with prizes for the best dressed, although sadly we were beaten to victory by a baby zombie.
There’s also a haunted maze treasure hunt, a ‘phantomine’ show, face painting and tractor ‘ghost’ rides. For those feeling brave, there is a Halloween petting section with snakes, creepy crawlies and owls to hold. On top of the Halloween attractions, there’s still all the regular York Maze activities on offer like giant slides, crazy golf, quad bikes, jumping pillows and my personal favourite, the water bomb catapults.
The York Maze Halloween Festival opens on 27th October and runs until 4th November. It’s a-maze-ing!
Find out more here: http://www.yorkmazehalloween.co.uk
Helen – Girl About The North York Moors
Spilman Farming – Insta-worthy, Good, Clean Fun
Since having the boys, we have kept Halloween quite low key, however there is no pulling the wool over the older boys eyes this year; they want all the costumes, cobwebs and candy (yes they are already pseudo-american at age 2 and 3). Thankfully they are still at an age where they don’t mind all wearing the same skeleton costume which cost £8.
Up here in North Yorkshire, Spilman Farming near Thirsk is the place to go. They are open every day throughout October; they provide the barrows, you provide your wellies and off you go. Do watch out for the giant spiders!
This year they have some additional spooky activities on set days (see their website for the dates). These include tractor rides, face painting and spooky walks. The bit which most makes me want to give Spilmans a high five though is the pumpkin washing station and dedicated carving barn, you carve your pumpkins and they take care of the mess.
Obviously, you need to prepare for the weather and it can be muddy but as long as you’re wrapped up it’s a great way to spend an afternoon, the kids loved it and I have enough pumpkin pictures to last till they’re 18.
For more information click here: https://www.spilmanfarming.co.uk/
Vicky – Girl About Sheffield
Tropical Butterfly House – Creepy Crawlies and Crafts
The Tropical Butterfly House is a firm favourite in our household and every Halloween they seriously go to town.
This year their Halloween Spooktacular is taking place from the 27th of October to the 4th November, from 10am-5pm. There’s absolutely heaps to do here so you definitely get your money’s worth: visit the Witch’s Cottage and Haunted House, brave the ghoulish tractor trailer ride through the Freaky Forest and come face to face with ghosts and monsters, carve a pumpkin or take part in some cleaner spooky crafts.
There are also daily costume competitions and bird shows. For the braver kids (and mums) out there, you can go and stroke a snake or cuddle up with some creepy crawlies. I think I’ll stick to the lemurs….
There are also Halloween Fright Nights (27th and 31st October, 6pm-9pm).
For more information click here: https://www.butterflyhouse.co.uk/events.php
Kirsty – Girl About Leeds
Birchfield Farm Nidderdale – Pumpkins and Ice Cream
I really love Halloween. It’s the unconditional right to scoff as much chocolate and sweets as I like and I get to dress up! It’s also an excuse to have a bit of fun and do something out of the ordinary. That’s exactly what we did last Saturday when we went pumpkin picking at Birchfield Dairy Farm. Okay, so I technically strayed outside of Leeds, but turns out pumpkins grow much better in the countryside than the city… And what a cute place. It’s small, friendly, set in stunning Yorkshire countryside and has everything you need to enjoy the run up to Halloween.
There is a nice-sized field to choose your ‘scary mouth’ as my toddler calls it but that’s just a small part of the action. A lovely (but very busy) cafe serves ice creams and hot food. There is a mini farm, ride on tractors, space to carve your pumpkin, corn blasters (great for older kids) a wooden adventure playground and not one but two farm ‘trains’! We chose the bigger family train and bounced along the fields past sunflowers, sheep and a family of tiny pigs.
The pumpkins were very reasonably priced, as were the ice-creams – but do expect a very long wait! Everything was very well thought out and the whole place had a really friendly vibe. Sure beats elbowing the other mums in Asda trying to get the least battered pumpkin.
For more information click here: https://www.birchfieldicecream.co.uk/
Sarah – Girl About Harrogate
Harlow Carr Gardens – Room on The Broom Adventure Trail
For any Harrogate girl, there’s one place that can always be relied upon to deliver engaging activities and a damn good day out in the school holidays. Of course that place is RHS Harlow Carr Gardens just outside the town centre of Harrogate.
It’s a great destination to entertain kids (and adults) of all ages with the Learning Centre, library and pretty pathways winding around stunning formal and informal gardens. And, the kids’ adventure playground areas are really awesome.
From the 27th October through to the 4th November there will be a Room on The Broom adventure trail. Sounds perfect for my tribe, who I know will spend a few hours exploring the woods and expending their seemingly endless energy, whilst I indulge in a Betty’s fondant fancy. Throughout half-term week, Kids Go Free! So, definitely worth sticking on your “to-do” list this Halloween.
For non-members price of entry is £12.65 per adult and £6.33 per child aged 5-16 years (inclusive of Gift Aid). There are also family tickets available which cut the cost per person down slightly.
For more information click here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/harlow-carr/whats-on/Room-on-the-Broom-at-half-term
And here are a few more of our favourite Halloween adventures across Yorkshire:
National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield
Going down’t pit on Halloween… yikes does it get much more scary?
They’re running a Family Halloween Experience on Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st October. This family-friendly adventure starts with a trip down the coal mine at Caphouse followed by a guided tour around the old pit buildings with some spooky stories being told along the way! Tours start at 5pm and go every half hour, as well as Halloween crafts and freaky treats in the café.
For more information on how to book, see: www.ncm.org.uk/
Stockeld Park, North Yorkshire
Stockeld Park doesn’t need much introduction here in Yorkshire. This Grade I listed Country House and Estate is THE home of seasonal goings on in Yorkshire and this Halloween is no exception.
The Stockeld Halloween Adventure is running from 25th until 31th October, 10.30am – 8.30pm. Activities include Nordic Skiing, Ice-skating at the Enchanted Forest complete with a ‘Spider’s Lair!’ – a wonderful web of climbing nets, tunnels, jungle bridges, slides and zip wires.
Other events include
- ‘Meeting the Mystery Gang’ – 26- 31 October – Help Scooby and co. solve the mystery.
- ‘Spiders in The Maze’ – 26-31 October – Venture into the Illuminated Maze and see how many spiders you can find.
- ‘Witch and Wizard Spell School’ – 27-31 October – Learn how to make spells and become a certified witch or wizard at the Halloween Training School.
- ‘Halloween Catwalk’ – 27 & 28 October – Time to grab your overpriced Halloween outfit and strut, creep and crawl down the Halloween catwalk.
- ‘Fright Nights at Stockeld Park’ – 26-31 October, 6.30 – 10.30pm – This actually looks quite terrifying and isn’t suitable for under 12s. Activities include ‘Shooting Dead’, ‘Victorian Terror’, ‘Captive’ and ‘Twisted Circus’.
For more info, head over to stockeldpark.co.uk/
Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds
This Halloween, Kirkstall Abbey is putting on an outdoor cinema event for all the family.
Hocus Pocus (PG) – yeah, the one with SJP – turns 25 this year, so rather than sobbing into our cauldrons, why not celebrate with this fun filled Halloween event.
Film times are:
- Friday, 26th October: 6.30 – 8.10pm & 9.00 – 10.40pm
- Saturday, 27th October: 1 – 2.40pm & 3.30 – 5.10pm
Castle Howard, North Yorkshire
From Saturday 27th October to Sunday 4th November, Castle Howard is running a Pirates V Zombies themed Halloween week.
The House and Grounds of this fantastic estate have been taken over by a gang of ghostly pirates and ghoulish zombies and they’re on the lookout for new recruits. Hidden deep within Castle Howard’s burnt out wing lies the ancient cure to zombification, whilst somewhere amongst the haunted woodland paths is a trove of lost Pirate treasure waiting to be discovered. But which side are you on? #TeamPirate or #TeamZombie?
Visit their site for more info – www.castlehoward.co.uk/DB/whats-on-view/halloween-pirates-v-zombies
Ilkley Scare Trail – Ilkley, West Yorkshire
Ilkley Scare Trail is taking place Saturday 27th October in Middleton Woods and it looks bloody awesome.
For the younger ones, there’s a pumpkin trail around the woods – with a few added ghouls thrown in for good measure. Gates open at 2pm and close at 5pm.
For those a little braver, there’s the ‘Frightmare Trail’. A 1.5km walk through the dark woods…. Watch out for the live and undead actors, spooky stuff and chilling challenges. Make sure you bring good walking boots and someone to hold hands with. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult, and under 8s aren’t recommended to attend. The trail opens at 6.30pm with last entry at 9.30pm. Be prepared to be scared.
Visit https://ilkleyscaretrail.co.uk/ for more info.
Tong Garden Centre – Bradford
Tong Garden Centre is a great place to take the little ones to burn of some energy without causing nightmares and ruining all that hard work you did to time them out. Running 24th – 31st October, Tong’s Halloween Week includes face-painting, donkey rides and a trick-or-treat treasure hunt.
For opening times, see https://tonggardencentre.co.uk/blog/post/halloween-half-term/
Kirklees Light Railway – Bradford
From Saturday 27th October to Sunday 4th November, join the Kirklees Light Railway for their Half Term Horrors.
Activities include creepy crafts and spooky storytelling sessions. Plus, all children getting into the spirit of things in freaky fancy dress will travel for half price!
There are also Halloween Ghost Trains running on the evenings of Friday 26th, Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October. These journeys come with a scare warning so may be better suited to your older monsters!
See www.kirkleeslightrailway.com/ for info on how to book
And the best of Pumpkin Picking….
Farmer Copley’s – Pontefract
Farmer Copley’s is perhaps THE place to go if you want the perfect pumpkin. It is the largest Pumpkin Festival in the UK and there are over 120,000 pumpkin plants of every shape size and colour. There’s a rainbow of pumpkins – red, green, white, blue, black, yellow, mixed, warty and of course orange. Rumour has it, they even have square pumpkins.
There’s also a range of pumpkin inspired food available, including Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Sausages and Pumpkin Pie.
Other activities include an assault course, spinning teacups, bucking pumpkin, corn cannons and much more.
Visit www.farmercopleys.co.uk/event/pumpkin-festival-2018/ for more info.
Cannon Hall Farm, Barnsley
Another firm favourite with our Girl About Sheffield, Cannon Hall Farm’s Pumpkin Festival is running 20th – 31st October. The Pumpkin Patch has thousands of pumpkins available for visitors to pick – then go along to the special pumpkin carving marquee where expert carvers will be on hand to help families create the perfect spooky lantern.
There’s also a ‘School of Wizardry’, ‘Witch Shows’ and costume competitions.
More info can be found at http://cannonhallfarm.co.uk/
Piglets Adventure Farm Park, York
With spellbinding magic shows, a Mischief Manor, the Mysterious Maize Challenge, Pumpkin Carving, a tractor ride to the Pumpkin Patch and a Boogie Bone’s Laser Disco, there’s enough to do at Piglets Adventure Farm Park to spend a whole day here. Oh, and they have over 10,000 pumpkins meaning you’re not gonna get stuck with a knobbly one from Aldi that collapses in on itself as soon as you carve an eye into it.
Halloween activities are taking place from 10am – 5:30pm every weekend in October and every day from 27th October to 4th November at Piglets Adventure Farm.
Head to http://pigletsadventurefarm.com/event/pumpkin-festival/ for more details.
If we’ve missed anywhere in Yorkshire – comment below and we’ll include them next year.
Happy Halloween from The Yorkshire Blog Squad!