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Halloween and half-term fun

Celebrate Halloween and the October half term from 25 October – 2 November with a host of spooky family events in Shakespeare’s England.

HalloweenCarve pumpkins, enjoy family ghost trails, learn how to make potions and spells or simply enjoy an autumnal walk. For the very brave there are plenty of ghost hunts, ghost tours and séances plus a special new attraction “Blackout” at Warwick Castle……

The Royal Shakespeare Company is offering families plenty of Halloween fun with free activities from a special witch inspired family trail around the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, to dressing up as a princess or a king with props from the RSC’s very own costume store. Workshops will also be available for families to learn how to create their own Halloween inspired cuts and bruises plus checking out some of Shakespeare’s spooky spells.

Hunt for Shakespearian spectres hidden in the rooms of Shakespeare’s Birthplace. At Mary Arden’s Farm take part in their All Hallows Eve celebrations, carve a pumpkin, bake a soul cake and make a plague charm.

Discover what Tudor England was like during the plague as you wander through the woodland walk at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage & Gardens and enjoy a Spooktacular Puppet Show on 31 October.

At New Place & Nash’s House, celebrate the harvest end and prepare to welcome winter. Get into the Hallow spirit and find out the meaning of Halloween and Gaelic festival ‘Samhain’. Take part in ‘Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble’ at Hall’s Croft and help the hag find the ingredients for her spell!

On 31 October & 1 November walk around Stratford-upon-Avon and discover terrible tales of ghosts, witches, murder and misery on the Stratford Town Ghost Walk and finish with a talk at Hall’s Croft.

Warwick Castle is the place to be this Halloween as The Haunted Castle promises frightening levels of fun for the whole family. During the day families can encounter headless horsemen and heinous hags and enjoy storytelling and a pumpkin trail.

The Haunted Castle after dark is a horrifying treat for adults: the Castle remains open until 9pm with a fireball finale at 8.30pm. This year, a new attraction “Blackout!” takes visitors on the hunt for Mary and Henry Black, whose spirits have been unleashed after a year confined to the dank depths of the Castle. Not for the faint-hearted, this receives the highest scare-factor of all The Haunted Castle capers.

During the day at Tudor World in Stratford-upon-Avon enjoy family friendly activities with Halloween shows, quizzes and ghost tours. On Halloween night and the following night, special ghost tours take place within the building as well as a Haunted Town Tour with Dashing Jack. There is also a Halloween Séance event until midnight when the veil between this world and the next is said to be the thinnest. All night time events include a test tube blood cocktail to get participants into ‘the spirit’.

Enjoy an ‘Apple Day & Country Fair’ at Hill Close Gardens on Sunday 19 October. Over 60 varieties of heritage apples grow in the different gardens and many will be on display in the large glasshouse. Taste some of the varieties as well as purchase some of the more unusual ones. There will be a range of craft stalls and local food producers, alongside bees, tree and plant sales, competitions and children’s activities. Plus see many different varieties of Chrysanthemum at a special weekend on 25 & 26 October.

Attend Forest School at Compton Verney and learn how to build a den, make a shelter, hunt for bugs and join the group around the campfire. The Big Draw takes place from 28 October – 2 November and this year’s theme is ‘It’s Our World’, an exploration of the rural, urban and coastal. Use natural materials to draw your own environment in the Studio.

Join the Ranger and Park Walk Guides for a tour of Charlecote Park on 2 November as part of the National Trust Walking Festival. This is the only opportunity each year to go into the deer sanctuary and look across the river Avon directly into ‘Camp Ground’ located on the other side. Throughout half term take part in the Halloween Pumpkin Trail around the grounds to find Pumpkins and spell the ‘spooky’ word to claim a prize.

Two of the biggest stars of the small screen will be appearing in the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival Autumn Season. On Friday 24 October, chat show host and compere Graham Norton will be in conversation at The Courtyard Theatre talking about his memoir The Life and Loves of a He Devil. Actress and star of the hit show Miranda, Patricia Hodge has been delighting theatre and TV audiences for many years. She will be talking about her prolific career with Fiona Lindsay at Stratford Artshouse on Thursday 30 October.

Visit the Heritage Motor Centre to celebrate Family Arts Week and The Big Draw. The resident artist Ian Cook from PopBang Colour will be there from Monday – Thursday. Get involved and create some unique artwork using all of Ian’s techniques for painting a car, from spoons to tyres to remote controlled toy cars.

Take a walk through the grounds at Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire and see which members of the Vernon family you might meet or follow a spooky trail through the gardens. For a frightful night, come on a tour on the 30 and 31 October. Bring little ones on a tour around the house and gardens or later on take in the candlelit church and dark graveyard, where members of the Vernon family are buried. Some souls might just take chance to relive a trip to the church on All Hallows Eve. Children can enjoy a trail around the gardens from 25 – 31 October, as well as craft activities and face painting on 28, 30 and 31 October.

Enjoy a spectacular night of fireworks, an amazing light show and a bonfire at Ragley on Friday 31 October. The gates open at 5pm with fairground rides, food stalls, a licensed bar and live music. The bonfire is lit at 6pm and the fireworks start at 7:30pm. Visit during half term to enjoy a themed haunted castle display, spooky stories, pumpkin carving and crafts.

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