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October Half-Term in London: Halloween Special

by Catherine O'Dolan on 22/10/2015

The evenings are drawing in and there’s a chill in the air as London prepares for a frightful week full of terror. Aaaaargh! And that’s just the shrill cry of parents who are dreading the challenge of how to keep the kids amused. Fear not! There are spooky shenanigans and devilish events springing up all over town…

Destination: London Wetland Centre
Event: Amazing Giant brick-animal trail
Famous for its magnificent wildlife, the London Wetland Centre boasts some rather more static creatures lurking among some of their real-life cousins. The awesome models, which include a giant otter, the Hawaiian goose (the world’s rarest goose), a Bewick’s swan and a mallard. Visitors will also be able to join in Lego activities (pre-booking required) and take home their own Halloween Lego brick pumpkin!
Ages All ages.
Cost Adult £12.75, child 4-16 years £7, under-fours free. Trail is free with admission; workshops £8.50 per person.
Details Queen Elizabeth Walk, London SW13 9WT, tel 20 8409 4400

Destination: The London Dungeon
Event: Séance!
Ghastly at the best of times, the London Dungeon cranks up the scare factor for Halloween. New for 2015, Séance! is set in 1873 at a gathering hosted by the most celebrated medium of the era set in – where else? – the most notoriously haunted house of the time. Expect ghostly spirits, supernatural disturbances and surprise visits!
Ages Although officially recommended for ages 12 years and above, it is up to the discretion of the accompanying adult and younger kids who crave macabre may enjoy it, too. However, a warning to more skittery grown-ups: it get very dark inside the building and there are lots of loud noises.
Times Opening times vary, see website
Details Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd SE1 7PB, 0871 423 2240
Cost From £17.50 (adult), £15.95 (children)

Destination: Legoland Windsor Resort
Event: Brick or Treat
Join Frankie the Friendly Monster and his not-so-evil side kick Lord Vampyre for lots of awesome LEGO themed fun and games, including creating your own Lego pumpkin (not for pie-making!), cobweb colouring and a mini figure Monster Trail.  Look out, too, for an invasion of the ghostly kind in Miniland. There’s also spectacular fireworks at weekends of 17/18, 24/25 and 30/31 October.
Ages All ages
Cost From £36.90 (adults), £33.75 (child), under-threes free.
Details Winkfield Road, Windsor SL4 4AY, 0871 222 2001

Destination: Sea Life London Aquarium
Event: Hallow Marine

Spot some of the scariest creatures in the ocean as eagle-eyed visitors keep an eye out for the elusive bogey-fish! Spooky images dotted on displays will help visitors seek out theysneaky Devil’s Scorpionfish, the deadly Lionfish and Moray eel, which has a second set of jaws ready to tuck into prey. On October 31, the Fish Witch will be making a special appearance, too, to cook up a cauldron full of spooky fun. Dress spookily for the occasion to receive a tasty free treat!
Ages All ages
Time Open seven days a week from 10am with last entry at 6pm.
Cost Prices start from £19.98 per adult and £14.41 per child for attraction tickets.
Details County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7PB, tel 0871 663 1678

ZSL London Zoo

Event: Boo at the Zoo
A cauldron of animal activities and frightful talks awaits visitors to ZSL London Zoo for a week of fiendish fun. Guests of all ages will be amazed by arachnids in the Zoo’s In with the Spiders exhibit, learning how they use their venom to snare their prey and unravelling the mysteries of their web-spinning talents, while coming face-to-face with breath-taking golden orb spiders in Europe’s only walk-through spider forest. There’s arts and crafts in the Bat Cave, pumpkin carving (£3), spooky storytelling, and the chance to prepare fruit for the bearded pigs to bob for.
Ages All ages
Time Boo at the Zoo activities 11am–4pm.
Cost Activities included in the ZSL London Zoo standard admission price, adults from £22.50, child from £16.65, under-threes free.
Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RY, tel 020 7449 6200.

Destination: Kew Gardens
Event: The Great Spice Heist Adventure
Set sail on a treasure hunt around Kew Gardens, following the trail of Pirate Pepperbeard and his dastardly crew. There will be maps to follow, puzzles to solve and pirate hats to make, on top of a swashbuckling finale in one of the great glasshouses. Add a little more spice by ambling along the Chilli Display which measures the heat factor from mild to blow-your-head off hot Habanero Katie which measure a whopping 1.5million on the scale. Needless to say, not for the faint-hearted!
Ages All ages
Times Open daily 10am–6pm. The Great Spice Heist Adventure performances every day at 12pm, 12.30pm, 1pm, 2.15pm, 2.45pm, 3.15pm and 3.45pm.
Cost Activity free with entry, Adults, £15, under-16s free.
Details Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, tel 8332 5655.

Destination: Shrek’s Adventure
Event: Halloween Spooky Swamp
The other famous green one (who is not of the witchy variety) has spruced his swamp with pumpkins, cobwebs and all things Halloween to create the perfect alternative to a Halloween scare-fest. From yucky dips to silly tasks, be prepared for lots of audience participation and heckling and surprises around every corner.
Ages All ages
Time Sun-Fri 10am-5pm, Saturday 10am-6pm
Cost From £23.40
Details Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road
London, SE1 7PB

Destination: Battersea Park Zoo
Event: Pumpkin Trail

All week long you can follow the clues to find which animals are playing trick or treat by seeking out the tell-tale sign of pumpkins! Try your hand at sketching the animals at The Big Draw event on Oct 24 and learn all about spiky critters on Hedgehog Day on Oct 29. Oct 31 is Halloween Fun Day, where weeny witches can enjoy (Slightly) Scary Story Time at 11.45 and 2.15pm, make a trick or treat bag or sample spooky face-painting at drop-in sessions between 11am-12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm).
Ages All ages.
Time 10am-4.30pm.
Cost Entry Adults £8.75, child £6.50. Small additional fees apply for some activities.
Details Battersea Park, Chelsea Bridge Gate SW11 4NJ, tel: 7924 5826.

Destination: KidZania
Event: Halloween Town
Things are about to get spooky at London’s newest family attraction, as kids will travel around the city taking part in a wide variety of spooktacular activities. They can be transformed with BOO-tiful face-painting by Snazaroo, learn monster dance moves, walk in the super-scary fashion show and even join the KidZania Halloween parade! A Zombie epidemic has also broken out and kids can join our Emergency Response Team and help Urbano race against time to find the antidote to the outbreak – and save KidZania from a ghoulish fate!
Ages All ages.
Times Varies, see Kidzania website for details.
Cost Adult from £16.50, child from £28, Early Years (1-3) from £10, under-1s free.
Details Westfield London Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, W12 7GA, tel: 330 131 3333

Destination: London Eye
Event: Witch Academy

Wicked witches are taking to the skies for spooky storytelling and spells on board the London Eye, which will be illuminated in ghoulish green for the occasion. A witchy host will join young guests and bestow a bag of slugs and snails. Nah, not really! It will be treats including a witch’s hat, activity pack, pencil and sweets.
Ages 4–9 years.
Time 12.30-6.30pm.
Cost From £26.55 (adult), £16.65 (child).
Details London SE1 7PB, 0871 781 3000.

Destination: JW3
Event: Kafka Fest
To celebrate the centenary of the publication of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, kick off your afternoon with a creepy-crawly Kafkanoon (for 2-9 years). Perfect for those who like to think outside the box, it promises artistic activities “visually inspired by German Expressionism”. Join award-winning puppetry director Oliver Hymans in Kafka Kids: Shadow Puppetry workshop (for ages 5-11 years) and delve into the world of bugs, creepy-crawlies and strangely shifting shapes.
Time Kafkanoon, 2pm drop-in. Kafka Kids: Shadow Puppetry, 3pm.
Cost Kafkanoon, free. Kafka Kids: Shadow Puppetry, £12
Details 341-351 Finchley Road, London NW3 6ET, tel 020 7433 8988

Destination: Hyde Park
Event: Hair-Raising Halloween Discovery Day
Use the rich natural enviromnent of the landscape to delve into the dark secrets of the park, exploring ‘feely boxes’, make your very own bat mask to take home, learning about hibernating hedgehogs and conjure up some magical potion using the nature’s bounty. Dressing up encouraged.
Ages All ages.
Time 11am-3pm.
Cost Free
Details Education Centre, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH, tel: 020 7036 8056.

Destination: Cutty Sark
Event: Ghost Ships and Spooky Shadows
As well as all the usual delight on board the world’s most famous Tea Clipper, landlubbers can create a spooky shadow puppet show with ghost-ships, sea monsters and your own Halloween puppet to take home and play with.
Times 11.30am-1.30pm and 2-4pm.
Ages All ages
Cost Included in Cutty Sark admission price, adult £13.50, child 5-15 years £7.
Details King William Walk, London SE10 9HT, tel 20 8858 4422

Destination: Greenwich Market
Event: Ready, Steady Scream It’s Halloween
The fancy-dress festivities start early with a free kids costume workshop with the formidable talents of Miss Libby Rose (booking essential; email followed by all manner of spooky shenanigans from zombie dancing, Halloween Hoola Hoops, free face painting, balloon modelling, a Beastly dog show, live music, scary fashion show and pumpkin carving competition, with prizes galore. Other half-term events are Crafty Halloween drop-in workshops on 27, 28 and 29 October where teeny crafters can make a spider’s web or a pom-pom spider.
Time 10.30am-8pm
Cost Free entry
Details Greenwich Market, London SE10 9HZ.

Destination: The Horniman Museum
Halloween Fair
Snuggle up for spooky storytelling, haunting happenings, creepy creatures, magnificent arts and crafts markets, fiendishly fine food stalls plus lots more. Come dressed in your favourite Halloween costume and join the Halloween parades taking place throughout the weekend.
Ages All ages.
Time 10.30am–4.30pm
Free entry, but some events may have a small charge.
Details Horniman Museum and Gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London, SE23 3PQ, tel 020 8699 1872.

Destination: National Maritime Museum
Event: Ghost Ship
There’s something amiss at the popular children’s activity play area AHOY! It’s infested by ghosts, ghouls and sea monsters, but don’t worry. They’re in a playful mood. Come in fancy dress to enjoy frights and delights, take part in spooky activities and listen to scary maritime stories. Other half-term highlights include Here Be Dragons (11.30am-1.30pm and 2-4pm, 26-30 October), a workshop focused on the myths and legends of the sea and Frightening Faces (11.30am-1pm and 1.30-2pm, Oct 26,28 and 30), where you can be inspired by the museum’s weird and wonderful watery objects to create amazing masks to petrify your friends in time for Halloween. Mwah-ha-ha-ha!
Time 11am-4pm.
Ages All ages.
Cost Free.
Details Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF, tel 020 8858 4422.

Destination: St James’s Park
Event: Halloween arts and crafts day
Spooky larks are the order of the day at Horseferry Playground, a rather fitting location as it is enclosed by metal railings, designed by artist Chris Campbell, depicting the darker side of London’s past, such as The Great Fire of London and Lord Nelson’s Funeral Barge. The newly refurbished playground features a sandpit, swings, a wide slide, dance chimes and a water play installation designed to represent the River Thames – as well as some carved wooden horses heads languishing on the ground that evoke shades of The Godfather. Halloween crafts include mask- and witch’s hat-making. From 4-6pm, the festivities move to St James’s Park (by cafe Inn the Park) for face painting and pumpkin carving. Be sure to dress for the occasion as there’s a prize of a family ticket to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland for the spookiest costume.
Cost Free.
Age All ages.

Destination: Biscuiteers
Event: Spooky Halloween Icing Party
Sugar fiends should head to either the lovely Biscuiteer Boutiques in Notting Hill or Northcote Road for an hour of Halloween games, face painting and, of course, biscuit icing from our Trick or Treat collection – all accompanied by the prerequisite licking of sticky, sugary fingers. Dress spookily and scarily for a chance to win prizes for the best scary costume, too.
Ages 2+
Time 2-5pm.
Cost £15 per child for a one-hour session
Details Notting Hill Boutique, 194 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 2ES, tel: 020 7727 8096; 13 Northcote Road, London, SW11 1NG, tel: 020 7924 5488.



Lesser spotter Lego Duck at London Wetland Centre
Swanning around London Wetland Centre
Seane at The London Dungeon
Mini Figures larging it at Legoland Windsor
Brick Or Treat at Legoland Windsor
Fishwitch at the Sea Life London Aquarium
Boo at the Zoo at ZSL London
Squirrel Monkey at ZSL Boo at the Zoo
The Great Spice Heist at Kew Gardens
Autumnal arboreal antics at Kew Gardens
Spooky Swamp at Shrek's Adventure London
Pumpkins aplenty at Shrek's Adventure London
Bewitching tales at Battersea Park Zoo
Halloween Town at KidZania London
Frightening face paint at KidZania London
The Witch Academy on the London Eye
Kafka for beginners at JW3
Beneath the Cutty Sark
Darkness descends on the Cutty Sark
Fancy-dress pararde at Greenwich Market
Halloween Fair at the Horniman
Ship in a Bottle at National Maritime Musuem
Ghost Ship at National Maritime Museum
Pumpkin spotting in St James's Park
Spooky Icing Party at Biscuiteers
Perfect pumpkins at Biscuiteers

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