I love Halloween. It’s always a great time for dressing up and getting out with the kids. It’s fun, spooky and autumnal. Lots of places put on Halloween activities, particularly around Autumn half term, so here’s a round-up of some of Devon’s best. All the places on this list are places which my children love visiting already, so Halloween activities are simply a bonus.
Paignton Zoo is a fantastic place to visit any time of the year. It’s got some fantastic animal attractions, and play areas. Paignton Zoo is surrounded by trees, and has some lovely nature walks so Autumn is an even better time to visit than most. Between 21st and 31st October, the zoo is organising a Wild Potions trail. Pick up a clue sheet at reception and find the ingredients for the witch’s brew for a small prize. There are various other talks and activities taking place as well.
This Theme Park promises a Crealy great day out! There are over 60 rides at Crealy and it claims to be the biggest family theme park in Devon. My children always enjoy this attraction and we make sure we get dressed up in our best Halloween outfits for a great visit in October. Crealy put on various holiday activities including a brilliant witch’s trail, a haunted hotel, shows, mazes and free pumpkins for every child. To top it all off, don’t miss the Fireworks spectacular on Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th October.
Hidden down winding Devon lanes is the little-known gem of Compton Castle. This National Trust Castle takes some finding, but you will find a warm welcome and an enjoyable day out. The castle has wisely decided to keep things small-scale this Halloween. You won’t find lasers and light shows, but you can join the Minibeast Monsters Trail. Unusually, this trail is included in your admission, so there are no extra charges.
Between the 19th and 27th October, Dartmouth Castle are organising a Halloween trail around the castle. Dartmouth Castle majestically guards the entrance to the River Dart with its imposing presence. The earliest parts of the castle date to the 14th Century when it was built as an artillery fort to keep the French army from attacking Dartmouth harbour. It’s a good place to visit at any time of the year, but this October children and families can be kept busy with spooky crafts and a creepy Halloween trail.
For something very different, why not head on down to Babbacombe Model Village in Torquay? Between October 24th and 31st you can see the model village in a whole new light, literally, in an evening visit. The attraction closes at 8.45pm during this week and there are all sorts of creepy goings-on. There is a spooky maze, sound and light effects, a haunted house 4D cinema, and to top it all off a workshop of horrors tour. Take a lantern trail behind a deserted workshop. But is it as deserted as it first seems?
Overbecks is a beautiful National trust house and gardens in Salcombe. My children always hunt down Fred the mini-ghost when we visit Overbecks. He is only a tiny figure who usually hides in the doll’s house, but my children enjoy the familiarity of this small ritual. Overbecks are getting involved with the Halloween fun this October by suggesting that families dress up in the best costumes. There will also be a larger-than-usual ghost hunt for Fred which includes clues to help you search, and badges for successful ghost hunters.
Lydford Gorge is the deepest river-gorge in Devon, with a play area and fantastic nature walks. Dress up in warm clothes and sensible footwear and come and see the spectacular waterfalls at this great site. Rickety bridges and moss-covered rocks make this area seem timeless, so it lends itself nicely to the traditions of Halloween. This October there are flaming torch lit walks, while the sounds of music accompanies the sounds of rushing water. You can finish your walk with hot chocolate and melting marshmallows over a bonfire. There is also a skeleton trail to follow for small prizes. As well as these great activities, there is a potions class on Saturday 26th October, and a spooky day on Sunday 27th.