Looking for some ideas for this half term? Check out our 20 Things To Do for local events, activities and spooky goings on..
1. Pumpkin carving
Get hints and tips on how to carve the perfect Halloween pumpkin at Kew Gardens, where you can see their master vegetable grower in action. Or, if you want to try it for yourself, Osterley Park and House is having a Pumpkin Festival on 26th and 27th October where you’ll be shown how to design and carve yourself – and also try traditional games like apply bobbing. Or take a pumpkin along to Claremont Landscape Garden in Esher on 28th October where help is on hand to create your own scary pumpkin character.
2. Ghost walks and scary tours
Dress up in your scariest costume and bring along a torch to the home of all things Gothic, as Strawberry Hill House hosts a spooky “What’s behind the door?” evening tour on 30th October where children 7+ can explore the house and gardens. Hear stories of ghostly apparitions and paranormal activity as you and children aged 6+ join the State Apartment Warders at Hampton Court Palace for a ghost walking tour on Saturday 2nd November. Said to be one of the most haunted houses in the country, Ham House and Gardens is running daily ghost tours for families, sharing stories of the ghost dog and a haunted step!
3. Get up close with creepy crawlies at WWT
WWT London Wetland Centre in Barnes is hosting a Spider Weekend on 26-27th October, where you can learn more about arachnids and see a display of exotic species, or hear experts give a talk on our native spiders and learn how to identify them.
4. Make something arty at local Houses and Gardens
There are lots of craft workshops taking place this half-term. If you’re looking for something Halloween themed, head to Strawberry Hill House for three craft workshops. You can make Ghoulish Gargoyles on 26th October, create witches’ broomsticks on 28th October, or conjure up a magic potion on 30th October in their Confusing Concoctions workshop.
Most of the National Trust properties have Halloween themed arts and crafts activities, with the free Craft Cart landing at Osterley Park and House on 31st October, while Claremont Landscape Garden, Esher is running workshops to make creepy creatures from 29th to 1st November.
Create an art piece inspired by your visit at Ham House and Gardens – open all week except Friday.
5. Catch a firework display
NPL Sports Club in Teddington kick off the firework season with a bang on Saturday 26th October from 6pm, with a BBQ and live entertainment. On Friday 1st November, Kingston Athletics Ground has a children’s fun fair and activities before the display, starting 6.30pm. Barnes Sports Club hosts its family friendly firework and entertainment on Saturday 2nd from 5.30pm, while Kempton Park Racecourse has a large display and fun fair the same evening. On Sunday 3rd you can choose from a display at Richmond Athletic Ground or a Charity Fireworks evening at The Anglers pub, Teddington.
6. Drama workshops
Look out for the various drama workshops in the area, including a week-long workshop from Storytelling Adventures. Its Halloween Adventures explores wizardry and magic though drama, songs, dance and crafts. You can drop-in for the day. Children can act, sing, dance and direct at a Halloween Scene Workshop at Polka Theatre, Wimbledon on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th October where they get to create a stop frame animation short film.
There are lots of free drama workshops through the Richmond Arts Festival , held at Richmond Theatre. Join Miranda’s Musical Moments or a Carry On Shakespeare! Comedy workshop – both on Saturday 26th October, or let loose with Midsummer Mayhem! Drama Workshop on 29th October.
7. Catch a performance at our local theatres
There is so much on at the local theatres this half-term. Polka Theatre, Wimbledon celebrates the 30th anniversary of the classic award-winning picture book Gorilla with adaptations for 3-5 year olds, plus a shorter version for 1-2 year olds. From 30th October to 2nd November, Tea Time is the perfect show for anyone who has ever made an island out of mash with a sea of gravy!
Watermans, Brentford has a series of special half-term performances, including The Princess and The Pea on Sunday 27th October, A Pinch of Pickle, A Whisk of Wise on Monday 28th, Mr Honk and his Sad Trombone on Wednesday 30th, and Misunderstood Monsters on Sunday 3rd.
The Rose, Kingston will be running a stage version of Julia Donaldson and Lydia’s Monks’ farmyard adventure What the Ladybird Heard from 29th October to 3rd November.
8. Arts, crafts and ceramics workshops
Happy Potter, Teddington is running a series of Halloween themed workshops where children can paint pumpkins, lanterns and witches. All artists get a ghoulish lunch and a suitably scary goodie bag to take away.
If you want to try something not related to Halloween, The Pottery Cafe, East Twickenham is holding a Dinosaur Week. Decorate a ½ pint mug or a Bridgewater breakfast plate with a huge choice of dinosaur sponges.
Orleans House Gallery is running a number of arts and crafts workshops, including Colourful Collagraphs for 4-7 years on Wednesday 30th and Autumn Mobile Making Workshop for 4-7 years on 1st November.
9. Follow the clues on a spooky trail
If you and your family can brave the darkness, Claremont Landscape Gardens is staying open until 6pm on 31st October for a lantern lit walk around the lake…to discover what’s hidden behind the grotto! Ham House and Gardens is running a trail for children to help Meg the cat find ingredients for her potion.
10.Pick Your Own pumpkin
Want to choose your perfect pumpkin to carve? Head to Garsons Farm in Esher where you pick your own pumpkin from their latest crop, or any other seasonal fruit and veg – from carrots to blackberries. Plus on Monday 28th, there will be spooky story writing and colouring competitions.
11. Visit farms and see the animals
Once again Kew Little Pigs in Richmond is running mini pig keeping sessions for children throughout the October half term, including feeding, grooming and mucking out and playing with the pigs. At Bocketts Farm, you can see the animals and handled them at regular sessions. Plus it’s Wizards and Witches week, with arts and crafts events plus, spooky trail and pumpkin display. Further afield, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade are hosting Halloween inspired animal talks, feeds and demonstrations, craft workshops and activities.
12. Enjoy the Edibles at Kew Gardens
As well as pumpkin carving, Kew Gardens boasts an eye-popping pumpkin display, including a towering pyramid of pumpkins in the Waterlily House. It’s the last week of Kew’s IncrEdibles festival, so kids get the chance to learn about fungi through simple science experiments and free workshops.
13. Introduce your children to Shakespeare
As part of the first UK-wide festival of family arts events, Richmond Theatre is hosting a series of free Shakespeare themed tours and workshops. In addition to its drama workshops mentioned above, on Thursday 31st October you can join Shakespeare’s Arty Spooky Halloween People and create a spooky friend, plus join a Ghostly Goings On Drama Workshop where you can rehearse and perform Macbeth in an hour! The whole family can come along to the fun, interactive Talented Thespian Family Tour on Saturday 2nd November.
14. Visit a Queen at Hampton Court Palace
This half-term, Queen Elizabeth 1 will be at Court where you’ll also find a host of pirates, poets and sailors and you can discover the truth about Sir Walter Raleigh’s life. This hands-on experience includes ruff making, object handling and storytelling.
15. Become a conker champion
Kids love playing conkers, so take them on a conker hunt at your local park to find the biggest and the best and challenge each other to a friendly family conker competition.
16. Kicking leaves and den building
Nothing beats wrapping up and heading out to one of our beautiful local parks or green spaces for an energetic run and kickabout in the autumn leaves. Or try the woodland areas of Richmond or Bushy Park for a day of den building, using the fallen leaves to create canopies for your secret hideout. Don’t forget to grab a hot chocolate to keep warm!
17. Go Victorian at Kew Bridge Steam Museum
This Halloween, you can explore the dark and hidden corner of the museum and discover spooky Victorian words to make a scary poem to decorate with Halloween shapes.
18. Enjoy scary storytelling
As part of Black History Month, Bridge Arts will be at Twickenham Library on Wednesday 30th October retelling stories of Anansi, a West African god who often takes the form of a spider.
There’s plenty of spooky storytelling going on too, with Ham House and Gardens holding regular storytelling sessions for the children, from Room on the Broom to Funnybones. At Claremont Landscape Gardens on 31st October, children can enjoy a storytelling session in the play area between 4.00- 5.00pm – plus and children can trick or treat the wicked witch in the Thatched Cottage
19. Find the pumpkins at Squires Garden Centre
There’s a range of activities at Squires Garden Centre, Twickenham during half-term, including painting a pumplin tea light holder to a pumpkin trail around the centre and a colouring competition where children can win a prize.
20. Parties and concerts for kids
Get into the party mood this half-term as The Little Gym, Hampton and Teddington and TLC Family host a Monster Halloween Party on Wednesday 30th October. Imagination Den will be on hand with arts and messy play. Join Tempo Tots for a spooky wooky sing-along, dancing, live music making, special Halloween props and a gorgeous little Halloween present for all on 31st October.
For something more mellow, join Tempo Tots for a live classical music performance by Aurora Duo on Friday 1st November , for children aged from 3 months to 4 years. All money raised goes to local charities.
For lots more great ideas, visit: www.forsanityssake.com