1. Scream Factory – Twilight Tour 29–30 October, Extreme Tour 21–24 and 26–31 October, Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar
The biggest scare event in the region returns for more chills this year; with sets and live actors, it’s a full sensory experience based around possibly the most unsettling children’s book ever written, Alice in Wonderland. The Extreme Tour isn’t for the faint of heart (or anyone under 14), while the Twilight Tour is more chilled-out and family-friendly.
2. Halloween Spooktacular! – 22–30 October, Tropical Butterfly House
With haunted hayrides through the Freaky Forest and pumpkin carving to allow you to release your inner artist, don’t miss Sheffield’s biggest and best family event of the year. There’s a fancy dress competition for kids (although we hope the ‘for kids’ part is optional) and the bravest can have a go at trick or treating at the witch’s Creepy Cottage. Of course it wouldn’t be a visit to the Tropical Butterfly House without seeing some animals and they’ll be in abundance this Halloween – snakes, owls and meerkats to name a few.
3. Spooky Scarecrow Trail – 22–31 Oct, Lotherton Hall
Collect your free trail sheet from the visitor centre and follow the creepy clues around the estate – but watch out for vampires, werewolves, wizards and witches along the way. Don’t miss Lotherton Hall’s spectacular Halloween Weekend on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October. There’s plenty of horror-themed fun from face painting and fancy dress competitions to haunted houses and creepy crafts. Will you make it out alive? There’s only one way to find out.
4. Spooky Woodland Trail – 22 October–1 November, Burton Agnes Hall
One of East Yorkshire’s treasures, experience the beautiful woodlands of Burton Agnes Hall at their best – when they’re filled with witches, covered with spider’s webs and haunted by ghosts of course. Put your minds to the test in the woodland trail to solve clues and complete your spooky quest. Under fives go free, but they might need a hug from mum and dad at the end of this eerie woodland walk. There’s a good incentive to reach the end of this haunted trail though – a treat will be waiting at the gift shop for all those who succeed.
5. Fright Nights – 24–25, 28–29 and 31 October, Beamish, near Stanley
The Victorian era was full of terror – typhoid flowing out of your water pump, coming home from a 38-hour shift at t’mill to find that somebody’s built a railway on top of your hovel, the ever-present threat of accidentally walking into a music hall – but Halloween at Beamish is a bit more fun than all that. Dress up and go trick-or-treating at the doors of the long-deceased, dodging petrifying ghouls on the cobbled streets.
6. Haunted Happenings – 25–29 October, Nunnington Hall
Built by the brother of Catherine Parr (the last of Henry VIII’s wives), Nunnington Hall has seen its fair share of bloodshed, but nothing quite like what will unfold this October... The haunted house will be overtaken by ghosts and ghouls for an entire week. With spooks and scares, they’re out to terrorise all who cross their path. Are you brave enough to follow the Halloween trail and discover what really happened all those years ago? Trust us, it’ll be a fright to remember. [Cue evil laugh]
7. The Dark Garden – 25–30 October, The Alnwick Garden
The most terrifying thing you’re likely to encounter in your garden is a lone slug while you’re putting out the bins in your socks, but things are a couple of rungs further up the scare-ladder at the Alnwick Garden. Theirs is an immersive experience which makes full use of the garden’s shadows and with darting silhouettes, shadowy figures and lurking dread hiding in the undergrowth.
8. Halloween Camp – 26 October, Sledmere House
There’s so much going on at Halloween, with spooky parties and ghoulish discos, your little ones are going to need some first-rate costumes and that’s before we’ve even got to the trick or treating. So, helpfully, Sledmere House are running a craft camp for youngsters aged five to 12 during half term. It’s a great excuse for them to unleash their creativity, help with the costume making and, best of all, you don’t end up with a kitchen full of glitter at the end. Hallelujah.
9. All Hallow’s Walk – 28–29 October, Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland
You’d think that there’d be more than enough spirits contained within the walls of the 800-year-old castle to provide enough crikey-what-was-that moments for several lifetimes, but this Halloween they’re heading out into some of the 800 acres of parkland too. Join the 40-minute torchlit trail and hear historical tales, local legends, and meet characters from the castle’s paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán in sketches throughout the evening.
10. Halloween Ghost Trains – 28–30 October, Kirklees Light Railway
The ultimate ghost train. Witness fire breathers, ghouls and plenty of things that go bump in the night as you travel through the West Yorkshire countryside this Halloween. We can’t promise you’ll have much time for sightseeing though, with creatures from the dead, terrifying monsters and ghastly ghosts on the loose, it’s best to keep your wits about you. Did someone say scream if you want to go faster? Not suitable for children under three years old, this is only for the super tough big kids. But don’t worry, if you chicken out you can always treat yourselves to baked delights in The Buffer Stop Café instead.
11. Woodhorn Halloween Weekend – 29–30 October, Woodhorn Museum, Ashington
Pro storyteller Gary Cordingly has been rifling through the Northumberland Archives and presents the most chilling true stories from the county’s past here. Sufferers of ornithophobia will find the second half of the Halloween events even more terrifying: Ridgeside Falconry will be bringing along their birds of prey to swoop and flap about. (Ornithophobia is, as you’ll know, the irrational fear of birds, but surely a fear of birds is entirely rational – the claws! The beaks! And don’t get us started on that seagull which was filmed stealing a bag of Wotsits from a corner shop. Terrifying.)
12. Nature Fright Night – 29–31 October, Washington Wetland Centre
If we were to tag Halloween with a spirit animal (excluding the Wotsit-stealing seagull we mentioned before) it’d have to be the bat: bit scary on first glance, but spend enough time with them and they’re actually adorable and lovely. You can spot some here while wandering around listening to stories by lamplight and carrying your own homemade jam jar lantern. Then, mix up some potions and shake off the heebie-jeebies with hot chocolate and a cookie.