Haunted castles, deadly disco dancing, zombie archery courses – Halloween has really upped its game in recent years.
Gone are the days when a refuse sack with holes in it constituted a costume, and bobbing for apples was top notch entertainment.
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There are a rake load of activities for families to take part in over the Halloween and mid term break.
Dracula’s Disco returns to Meeting House Square this October Bank Holiday as part of the Bram Stoker Festival. DJ Will Softly will take to The Ark’s outdoor stage and play all your favourite ghoulish song (so lots of The Monster Mash and Thriller). There are confetti cannons, ghostly glo sticks and plenty of ‘deadly dancing’. Dracula’s Disco takes place on Monday 30 Oct 2-4pm and is suitable for kids aged 5+
There are an embarrassment of riches for families to avail of at this year’s Bram Stoker. The activities and events range from night time lantern spectacles to outdoor horror film screenings.
It’s an Insta world and we’re simply living in it. Getting a picture of your rosy cheeked child sitting atop of giant orange gourds has become a thing in recent years.
And there are plenty of pumpkin patches around the country willing to help parents capturing those precious moments/ create wholesome autumnal Instagram content.
But patches are so much more than a pleasing backdrop for an impromptu photoshoot – kids can paint, collect and carve pumpkins or jump into bales of hay. Kennedy’s Pumpkin Path, Julianstown, Co. Meath offer face-painting, storytelling, and serve up homemade non-alcoholic apple cider, while those visiting The Farm in Grenagh, Co. Cork can help the Good Witch Esmeralda practice her spells for Halloween, and make treats to take home.
The annual Halloween parade by Macnas is always spectacular, and draws huge crowds. This year the company celebrate their 33rd anniversary, and the theme of the parade is ‘Danse Macabre’ .
‘Danse Macabre’ will take audiences on a journey with a boy called Conor and will conjure a magical world “brimming with fizzing light, the transcendental and the magical.” (Lots of giant puppets and pyrotechnics).
The parade takes place on Sunday 27th October 2019 at approximately 5.30pm.
Creepy Cave Crawlin’
This one is not for the faint hearted or easily spooked. Dunmore Adventure Centre have decked out their cave and mineshaft with cobwebs, witches hats, and monster masks, and are inviting kids and teens to take part in games and adventures set in the depths of the creepy caverns. It all sounds absolutely terrifying, and under no circumstances should you watch The Descent beforehand.
If the weather holds out then watersports such as kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding are available. Suitable for 7 – 12 year olds. Taking place over the Halloween break from 10am – 1pm.
As part of their ‘Spooky Hollow’ weekend, Redhills adventure in Kildare are offering Zombie Archery classes where you and your nearest and dearest can take down the living dead. Or if that sounds far too violent you can opt for the Field of Spooks – a scavenger hunt set in grass maze complete with a host of spooky characters who will pose for snaps and give you directions. There are other activities like pumpkin carving, make and do, ghost stories, and face painting. Running over the October Bank Holiday weekend 27th and 28th.
Dublin’s Ghostbus Tours (Ghostbusters – gettit?) are encouraging families to hop aboard for their family friendly kids tour.
Fancy dress is encouraged, and your tour guide Teddy the dismembered torso will tell terrifying tales, and “the gruesome gory secrets of our fair city” The tour is suitable for 7 – 14 year old, and kids and teenagers will be presented with a Certificate of Survival by Count Dracula himself when they disembark the bus.
Westport House hosts it’s annual ‘Halloween Fest’ in the Basement from 26th and 31st October from 11:00am to 5:00pm. Those who have steely nerves can visit the dark dungeons, where the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley kept prisoners locked up. If you prefer treats to tricks than you can tuck into ghoulish goblin cakes at the Spooky Spoons Workshop.
A pop-up Victorian fun park will open its gates outside Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin on October 25th and 26th. The gothic themed festival includes a food village, old time-y festival games, a helter-skelter, some macabre street entertainers, and plenty of face painting. Runs from 11am – 4:30pm.
A weeklong series of ‘Halloween Happenings’ take place in the heritage and discovery park. There are haunted holograms, terror train trips (with lots of surprise zombie attacks) and ‘terror treasure hunts’. There are also prizes for the best Fancy Dress ensemble so bring your A-Game. Running from 26th October – 1st of November inclusive.
Halloween at Tayto Park
Tayto Park’s Halloween experience starts with storytelling around a cauldron in the Wicked Witches Lair, kids can wander through the magical pumpkin, and get their face painted. The added bonus here is that guests can avail of the Tayto Park zoo and all other attractions. Everyone will leave with their own customised Halloween trick or treat bag to take home. Kids in full Halloween costume will be granted free access to the park on October 31.
The renowned Ballymaloe is offering a ‘theatrical trail’ from 25th to 31st October. The interactive experience is for all the family and will see the East Cork venue taken over by a cast of creepy characters on a mission to find the Prince and send him back home. Trick or treaters will be guided through the a maze by some friendly neighbourhood zombies and werewolves. At 2pm the lights will go down and the ‘fear factor’ will increase.
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