October half term – sorted!
Half term looms (aaaaaargh!) so what to do with the little monsters? Fear not, Muddy to the rescue with the lowdown on things to do, be they terrifyingly ghoulish or otherwise.
Museums & Libraries
Libraries have had their day? I don’t think so… The Library Presents is the autumn programme from 23 of Cambridgeshire’s libraries and runs throughout the month of Oct, Nov and into December. You’ll find all sorts of arts, dance, magic, comedy and theatre events to attend. On the 23 October there’s a family day in Ely, which is not to be missed!
Children’s crafts, Ickworth House, Bury St Edmunds, 19 – 27 Oct
It’s the season of change and Ickworth are celebrating this by incorporating nature into their October Half Term crafts. Having just celebrated the 30th anniversary of their Wood Fair, the projects will be centred on the trees that surround this stunning Stately Home.
Night-time creatures, Anglesey Abbey, Lode, 19 – 27 Oct
It’s all about things that go squeak in the night at Anglesey Abbey this October half term. From the 19 – 27 Oct, kids can follow the estate’s bats on a quest that’ll take them into the house, Lode Mill and around the grounds. Then it’s on to the Wildlife Welcome Hub to learn all sorts of facts about these winged creatures – both nice and disgusting. Plus, the Bat Roost Activity Space will be bustling with bat-tastic activities, talks and crafty fun.
Oi Frog and Friends, New Wolsey Ipswich, 24 – 25 October 2019
“Cats sit on mats, hares sit on chairs, mules sit on stools, gophers sit on sofas and frogs sit on logs”. Who knew you could rhyme so many words with animals! Oi Frog and Friends is a delightful, light-hearted play full of puppets, songs and fun for families with children 3+ at the New Wolsey, Ipswich from 24 – 25 October.
Dear Zoo, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, 23 -24 October 2019
I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet and they sent me… an entire theatre show of the book in Bury St Edmunds. Result! A great starter performance for young ones, there’s animal puppets, music and lots of audience interaction.
Tom Gates Live On Stage, Cambridge Arts Theatre, 23 – 26 Oct 2019
Got kids that love Gangsta Granny and Horribles Histories, then they’ll want tickets to this show from the same award-winning producers. The production is based on the books by Liz Pichon and contains her amazing illustrations as well as fun music and hilarious moments for ages 5+.
The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, 25 – 27 October 2019
From the West End… to Bury St Edmunds, everyone knows and loves The Tiger Who Came to Tea. This show has been running for an incredible 10 years, so they must be doing something right. Probably the fact that there’s lots of magic, sing-a-long songs and surprises along the way. And it’s all based around tea – a guaranteed British crowdpleaser.
Zoopernatural half term at Africa Alive!, Kessingland, Suffolk, 19 – 27 Oct
Make a half term trip to the zoo even more fun with a trip to Africa Alive, which is coming over all magical this half term. As well as the usual animal antics, there’s also spooky story-telling, a wizarding school, frightful face-painting (err isn’t it always frightful!), pumpkin carving and Halloween crafts. Harry Potter meets Africa. An interesting mix!
Room on the Broom family morning, Foxburrow Farm, Melton, 22 Oct
Follow the much-loved children’s story around Foxburrow Farm Nature Reserve on the 22 October, and make a broomstick and a smelly potion as you go around! Such fun.
Children’s writing workshop, Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve, 25 Oct
Got a budding Jane Austen or JK. Rowling in the family? Keep their imagination in check (and give yourself a break from their tall stories!) this half term by booking them onto a children’s writing course at Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve on 25 Oct. You never know, they might just pen a bestseller and then you can retire!
Parent-and-child baking class, Cambridge Cookery, 22 October
Use the half term to help your child hone at skill that’ll make life easier for you by enrolling you both on a course to master the art of bread-making. You’ll mix, knead and shape your creations using a variety of different techniques – and just imagine the smell and the delicious taste of warm bread at the end. There’s a morning class at 10am and another at 1.45pm.
Morgan & West Unbelievable Science, Cambridge Junction, 20 – 21 October
Magicians/ qualified scientists (basically the same thing in my mind!) Morgan & West bring spills, thrills and bangs that’ll give you the chills in this captivating show that youngsters will love. It’s all the fun bits of science in one show, plus some mind-blowing magic that’ll have you pondering for hours.
Holiday bushcraft for 5 -12 year olds, Wandlebury Country Park, Cambridge, 21 – 23 October
Outdoor activity experts, Wild Thyme & Embers (mmm sounds like a lovely massage oil to me!), are coming to Wandlebury to inspire children to get outdoors more (aka take the kids off your hands for a few hours), and teach them hoot survive in the wild. All the basic bushcraft skills will be covered… shelter building, knots and ropes, whittling, plant and tree recognition, wilderness cooking and woodland games. All very wholesome stuff, that the kids will love. Runs from 8:30 – 4pm.
Week of Wickedness, Skylark Garden Centre, March, 19 – 27 October
Skylark Garden Centre isn’t your average garden centre… it’s also home to a maize maze and fun yard and hosts events galore throughout the year. Halloween is no exception, as they’ve got an entire week devoted to wickedness coming up! There’s pumpkin picking and carving, Phantom Blaster tractor rides, magic shows, a Buzz Lightyear quest in the maze, pig racing and a scarecrow smash, all of which will delight those little devils of yours.
Halloween Express, Audley End Miniature Railway, Saffron Walden, 25 Oct – 2 Nov
Audley End’s miniature railway will be transformed from 25th October – 3rd November into a ghost train, where kids journey on the Halloween Express with trick or treat bags to visit the witches in their haunted house. Fancy dress is very much encouraged. The craft tent is in action as always, so little monsters can create a creepy craft, have their faces painted, test out their thriller dance moves and listen to a spooky tale.
Creepy Critters, Audley End House, Saffron Walden, 19 Oct – 3 Nov 2019
Just over the road Audley End House itself is also dusting off its skeletons and joining in the fiendish fun with their creepy critters event. From the 19 October – 3 November, little ones can take part in creepy crafts, a wicked witch-themed quest and the daily fancy dress competition (go on, get your sewing machine out!). Here’s the bit where you’ll find me somewhere in the grounds having abandoned my child… there’ll also be animals to meet, including snakes, spiders and all other types of critters.
Pumpkin Carving Workshops, Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, 19 Oct – 2 Nov
It wouldn’t be halloween without some pumpkin carving. Get the kids to do the hard work for you by taking them to the Pumpkin Carving workshops at Wimpole Hall’s Great Barn from 19 October – 2 November. They provide all the pumpkins and tools – your kids just need the ideas. Halloween pumpkin – sorted!
Craft workshop, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, 23 October
Now here’s a good idea – let your little devils make a big old mess outside your house with this craft workshop on 23 October at Bury St Edmunds’ The Apex run by The Crafty Foxes. Kids can go to town making slime in a jar and glove monsters complete with birth certificate. Old clothes are encouraged!
Spooky tea and Creature of the Night workshop, Scotsdales, Great Shelford, 21 – 31 Oct
There’s nothing scary about Scotsdales Great Shelford’s Halloween offering this year. They’ve focussed on the treats side of trick or treating with a delicious themed spooky tea served up from the chef’s cauldron every day from 21 – 31 October. Kids can work up an appetite first on the 22 October with the Creatures of the Night craft workshop, where they’ll decorate a ceramic bat tea light holder.
Spooky Spectacular Family Rave, The Maltings, Ely, 26 Oct
Don’t just want to stand on the sidelines and watch your little monsters having all the fun this year. Let us suggest the Ely Spooky Spectacular Family Rave instead then. Yes you heard us right, there’s a rave happening at The Maltings in Ely on 26 October, organised by award-winning Big Fish Little Fish. DJ Trax + Countmonkula will be playing old school (grown up) music. The event will feature themed crafts, giant balloons, glitter cannons, bubble machines, amazing lighting, face painting and a parachute dance (you’ll just have to go and find out what this is!).
Halloween events, Easton Farm Park, Suffolk, 19 – 27 Oct
Easton Farm Park never pass up the opportunity to get behind a theme, and you know they’ll always have something up their sleeve to delight the kids. This year between 19 – 27 October, there’s everything from a spooky trail to discover and make-a-broomstick workshops to creating your own wand (stupefy! – any Harry Potter fans with me?!) and completing a creepy quiz for prizes.
Pumpkin picking, Undley Farm, Mildenhall, until 27 Oct
Head to Undley Farm in Mildenhall to select the plumpest of pumpkins for your Halloween carving on weekends and during half term from 5 – 27 October. Not only can you select your pumpkin and pick it yourself, but there’s a maize maze to loose the kids in (ahem I mean for the kids to enjoy) as well as live magic shows, an inflatable obstacle course and a pumpkin-shaped bouncy castle.
Octoberfest, 26 Oct and Scarewell, 19 – 27 Oct, Sacrewell Farm, Peterborough
Sacrewell Farm has two exciting events happening this half term. First up… Scarewell (see what they did there!) their Halloween offering. You can grab a wheelbarrow and visit the giant pumpkin patch then get creative in the carving tent. There’s also an interactive Farmhouse of Horror and the chance to make some ghoulish-themed chocolates.
Then on 26 Oct, it’s their silent fireworks display. You get all the awesome colours, but the only sounds will be the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of the crowds, as these are bang-less fireworks, No tears and no scared animals. I approve! There’ll be a bar on site as well as food, live music, face painting, marshmallow toasting, pumpkin carving and the indoor Play barn will be open too.