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Hallowe'en: Brilliant half-term events to book now

There’s an array of hair-raising Halloween activities to get your fangs into this half term, from a School of Sorcery to ghoulish gourd picking. Louise Cummings takes a petrifying peek


Climb aboard the Halloween Express for a creepy journey into the enchanted woods at Audley End Miniature Railway. Look out for a coven of wicked witches cackling and chanting spells around their cauldron in the cobweb-clad clearing, visit Belinda the fortune-telling witch and William, the woodland wizard. When hunger strikes enjoy devilishly delicious food at the café and then hit the adventure play area. Don your best Halloween garb for this frighteningly good day out.

The Halloween Special at Audley End Miniature Railway runs October 22–31. Booking essential at audley-end-railway.co.uk


Ghostly walk around Bury St Edmunds, Picture Phil Morley (59018696)
Ghostly walk around Bury St Edmunds, Picture Phil Morley (59018696)

Not for the faint-hearted this one; join a 90-minute Ghostly and Macabre Guided Walk around Bury St Edmunds, promising chills and thrills galore. A terrifying tour guide will have you transfixed by ghostly stories of murder, screaming skulls, a mysterious monk, witchcraft, and a mummified cat. Setting off from Moyse’s Hall, the tour winds around dark streets, finishing up in the deserted Great Churchyard, where you’ll hear about the infamous Grey Lady.

The guided walking tour runs over the Halloween weekend and continues each Friday, November 4 to March 23. Age 14 plus. More at burystedmundstourguides.org


Wasp spider Argiope bruennichi, adult female suspended in web, Bedfordshire, Picture Ben Andrews (59018717)
Wasp spider Argiope bruennichi, adult female suspended in web, Bedfordshire, Picture Ben Andrews (59018717)

Marvel at the weird and wonderful world of nature at the region’s RSPB reserves, which include Fen Drayton Lakes, Fowlmere Nature Reserve, and Ouse Fen Reserve, Earith. Uncover strange and slimy creatures on bug safaris by searching under damp logs and in wall crevices. At RSPB The Lodge in Bedfordshire, see the mysterious Wasp Spider which resembles a flying insect to ward off predators and spins large orb webs.

Keep your eyes peeled for freaky fungi such as Dead Man’s Fingers and Elbow Patch Crust, dotted around the reserves. Or visit at dusk to capture the jagged silhouettes of bats as they dart and dive to catch insects (they can eat up to 3000 gnats in one night!).

To find your nearest RSPB Halloween event, visit rspb.org.uk/halloween


Pumpkin picking fun, Picture M&Co (59018713)
Pumpkin picking fun, Picture M&Co (59018713)

It’s gourds-a-go-go at Bury Lane Farm Shop this year, with an estimated 20,000 plump specimens ripe for the picking! Scour four acres of farmland to find your perfect pumpkin ready to carve into an eerie expression or bake in a pie. Bury Lane’s MD Will Clayton says of this season’s crop: “We have large, small, gourds and some surprises! Pick your own provides a wonderful opportunity for young people to understand where their food and flowers come from. It also creates happy memories and gives satisfaction in consuming a big orange pumpkin that you have taken from the ground, not a shelf.” Besides the veg picking, and some spooky surprises, Bury Lane also offers a playbarn, cafe and a fine range of foods, gifts and Christmas items.

Find out more at burylanefarmshop.co.uk Image: M&Co


Halloweenies at Kentwell Hall, Picture Paul Sillence (59018705)
Halloweenies at Kentwell Hall, Picture Paul Sillence (59018705)

Calling all little witches and wizards! Polish your wands and dust off your spell books, as Halloweenies - Kentwell Hall’s School for Sorcery – is open for magic and mayhem. Explore spooky outdoor zones, featuring Halloween challenges and activities aimed at children aged three to 14, and board your broomstick to zip around 30 acres of gardens and grounds. Don’t forget to slip into some frightful fancy dress.

Halloweenies runs October 22-30. For details call 01787 310207 or visit kentwell.co.uk


Pumpkin Jim's (59018711)
Pumpkin Jim's (59018711)

Pop on your wellies and commandeer a wheelbarrow as there are many patches to Pick Your Own this October. Our family’s perennial favourite is Pumpkin Jim’s in Ickleton, a working family farm, which boasts a rainbow of varieties, from big carvers to edible squashes. Feast on tasty fare from the resident food trucks and savour a coffee at Fat Pumpkin Café whilst the small people let off steam on the hay bales.

If you like your pumpkins stripy, warty or even pink, you’re in luck, as Milton Maze Pumpkin Patch boasts all three – alongside your traditional orange-hued variety! Farmer Rob has planted more than 30,000 pumpkin seeds, meaning this year’s yield could top 60,000 juicy orbs. There’s also a Field of Fun, tempting treats from Candy Chaos and Los Churros, and spooky stuff to keep kids amused.

Pumpkin Jim’s is at Ickleton, Saffron Walden. Book at time slot for the Halloween event, running October 22 - 30 at pumpkinjimspatch.co.uk

Find out more about Milton Maze Pumpkin Patch, located on the A10, at themiltonmaizemaze.co.uk


Terrible Tales at Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds (59018715)
Terrible Tales at Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds (59018715)

Fancy smelling a pus-ridden hand, climbing inside a gibbet cage or trying a ball and chain for size? If you’re a fan of the gruesome, Moyse’s Hall Museum will be right up your street! Horrible Histories creator Terry Deary has helped the museum to bring Bury St Edmunds’ gruesome history to life by linking its most horrific artefacts to six Terrible Tales. Hear about The Battle of Fornham, spoken through the eyes of a blacksmith, or listen to the nun who tended to the body of St Edmund describe her appalling end, whilst handling hideous artefacts (including the aforementioned ‘disease box’, housing the revolting waft of a decaying hand). Gross.

Find out more about Terrible Tales at Moyse’s Hall Museum at Bury St Edmunds by visiting moyseshall.org

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