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Kent Halloween half term events and attractions for October 2014

The scariest thing for parents this Halloween is entertaining the little horrors for the whole week, but look no further for hang-outs to haunt this half-term...

A theatrical spectacular will take place every day of the holidays at GROOMBRIDGE PLACE, near Tunbridge Wells, thanks to the Human Zoo Theatre Company. Prepare to be spooked to the spine as you step onto the ghost boat and ride down the runaway riverto the Pirate’s Lair and Captain Timber’s Tavern. Dodge the fire-breathing mutineers, as sword fights break out in front of your eyes in this immersive performance event. Other thrills include the Find-The-Missing-Bones Treasure Hunt, a Thriller dance workshop culminating in a flash-mob performance in the forest and activities including freaky face-painting and make a magic wand in the teepee craft workshops. Tickets cost £9.95 for adults, £8.45 for children, or £33.95 for a family ticket, and are valid from 10am until gates close at 7.30pm. Visit www.groombridgeplace.com or call 01892 861444.

Halloween Shriek Week at Drusillas
Halloween Shriek Week at Drusillas

An award-winning zoo has lots of seasonal surprises and eerie entertainment for young visitors. DRUSILLAS, near the Kent and Sussex border, invites you to venture through the creepy, cobwebbed corridors of Haunted Heights into the terror-tory of sin sisters, Hocus & Pocus, as they play hide and shriek with the unsuspecting public. In Eden’s Eye, a missing Mummy from the ancient tomb has been seen wandering through the shadowy pathways of the twisted maze. All this between Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, November 2, plus Scooby-Doo will be making a special appearances at intervals throughout the day on Wednesday, October 29.

For price details, visit www.drusillas.co.uk or call 01323 874100.

A musical show promises to have the family bouncing up and down during a visual interactive adventure. The Musical Balloon Band at THE WOODVILLE, Gravesend, incorporates the art of balloon modelling and great music making. It also uses voices, puppets, props, poetry and storytelling mixed with movement. Hear them play at The Woodville on Monday, October 27 at 1pm.

Tickets cost £9 for adults and £5 for children. Visit www.woodville.co.uk or call 08442 439480.

Spooky treasure hunts, face painting, Sand Art Workshops, plus Halloween-themed art and craft workshops will all be going down at HEMPSTEAD VALLEY shopping centre in Medway between Monday, October 27 and Sunday, November 2. Activities will run from 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm daily.

The free sessions are suitable for all ages from toddlers to grandparents. Visit www.hempsteadvalley.com

Baby Loves Disco was a sell-out at last year’s CANTERBURY FESTIVAL and this year it’s back with Boogie Halloween. Get on the dancefloor for some shiny, happy toddler-friendly funk and funk. It all takes place the Canterbury Festival Spiegeltent at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on Saturday, November 1 at 2pm.

Tickets cost £6. Visit www.canterburyfestival.co.uk or call 01227 787787.

Scare Glow is a unique UV experience put together by Wiley Wofl Productions at the RARE BREEDS CENTRE, near Ashford, this Halloween. Vunderbar the Wizard will be telling his scary tales and singing spooky songs in the Discovery Room, and you can even help him with his spells! Plus make your own broomstick to rival Harry Potter’s from Saturday, October 25 and Sunday. November 2 between 10.30am and 5.30pm.

Tickets cost £9.95 for adults, £8.50 for children, £28 for a family pass and £99 for an annual family pass. Visit www.rarebreeds.org.uk or call 01233 861493.

The Orchard Youth Theatre workshop
The Orchard Youth Theatre workshop

Take part in a series of Halloween-inspired workshops where you can have theatrical fun and make friends. The ORCHARD THEATRE, Dartford, is holding improvising and storytelling, creating characters, and movement and mime workshops for seven to 11-year-olds between Tuesday, October 28 and Thursday, October 30 from 10am until noon.

Cost is £6 per session of £15 for all three. Visit www.orchardtheatre.co.uk or call 01322 220000 to book.

Step in to the world of film and television special effects for a Halloween make-up workshop at PENSHURST PLACE AND GARDENS, near Tonbridge. Award-winning theatrical make-up artist Kate Griffiths uses everyday household materials to create fake cuts, bruises and amputated fingers to add a frightening flourish to any Halloween costume on Thursday, October 30. Pumpkin trails and scary tales have already started at Penshurst and will continue throughout half term until Sunday, November 2, daily from 10.30am. On Friday, October 31 there will be a Not Too Scary Storytelling at 2pm, 2.45pm and 3.30pm.

Visit www.penshurstplace.com or call 01892 870307.

Little ones who want to dress up in costume without any scares will enjoy the play Dusk at the GULBENKIAN THEATRE, Canterbury. Put on your tail, prick up your ears, and get ready for Dusk, the time when everything changes. Celebrate the wide, wild world around you with a group of creatures with furry tails, who are watching and waiting for you to arrive. This inventive show, combining film and live performance, explores the meaning of home, family, change and reunion for four to seven-year-olds. Older children are welcome. Tails will be provided! Dusk is at the Gulbenkian from Wednesday, October 29 until Saturday, November 1 at 10.30am and 1.30pm. Tickets £8. Visit www.thegulbenkian.co.uk or call 01227 769075.

Port Lympne was a winner at the Beautiful South Awards 2014
Port Lympne was a winner at the Beautiful South Awards 2014

Make your own monsters to take home plus see nature’s biggest beasts in their own homes at PORT LYMPNE RESERVE, near Hythe. As well as the creepy craft activities on offer, you can take a chilling trail through the spooky maze with the chance to win a Junior Ranger or Keeper Academy Experience day. Meanwhile over at sister park HOWLETTS, near Canterbury, visitors can enjoy a freaky fact trail, pumpkin carving, make a own spider to take home and see the wild animals tearing into some truly tasty treats. For prices and times, visit www.aspinallfoundation.org

Feeling brave enough to enter DOVER CASTLE’s Tunnel of Terror to say boo to a ghost or two? While you’re there, have a go at creating creepy crafts and see if you can scare staff enough to win a prize for the best children’s Halloween costume, bestowed upon the most spine-tingling attire each day. The fun lasts from 10am to 4pm each day between Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, November 2.

Entry costs £17.50 for adults, £10.50 for children over five, and £45.50 for families. Visit www.english-heritage.org.uk or call 01304 211067.

A garden centre chain is preparing for a hair-raising Halloween with a spooky selection of in-store activities. NOTCUTTS in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells will be holding spooky witch hunts, as well as hat and mask making between Saturday, October 25 and Friday, October 31 from 10am. Activities are free, but for 50p you can also take a guess at how many jelly snakes are in the jar. The winner will take home all the sweets to enjoy and share with their fellow trick or treaters. Visit www.notcutts.co.uk

A brand new factual and fun Spider Trail around the HISTORIC DOCKYARD CHATHAM forms the basis of its Wicked Webs and Spider Spells family event. The return of Megan the Witch with her spell-binding stories will also be a big draw, and families can also challenge their creative skills by trying their hand at pumpkin carving from Saturday, October 25 to Sunday. November 2.
Full details and prices at www.thedockyard.co.uk

Spotlites have a fun, spooky and exciting Halloween lined up
Spotlites have a fun, spooky and exciting Halloween lined up

Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars, Elsa from Frozen and Harry, and Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter are among the magical and mysterious characters you can meet at a stage workshop. Spotlites at the KINGS THEATRE, Chatham, has all sorts of interactive events and spectacles to amuse and entertain children aged between five and 12 from Tuesday, October 28 until Friday, October 31. There’s also the stage shows Puss In Boots and Oz and the Space Pirates to get involved in and enjoy.

Prices and times vary. For full details visit www.spotlites.co.uk

Witches and Halloween horrors at Hever Castle
Witches and Halloween horrors at Hever Castle

There’s a spine-tingling array of ghostly goings-on at HEVER CASTLE, near Edenbridge. Thrills for visitors of all ages include themed craft workshops and ghoulish activities, daily prizes for the best Halloween costumes, tales of witches and warlocks and, for those brave enough , the spooky trail where you can search for clues hidden around the grounds. The gardens open at 10.30am and the castle opens at noon.

Entry costs £15.50 for adults, £8.70 for children and £39.70 for a family ticket. Visit www.hevercastle.co.uk or call 01732 865224.

Historic houses and gardens of the National Trust are alive not only with autumn colours but with Halloween secrets and surprises. At IGHTHAM MOTE, near Sevenoaks, the house was allegedly exorcised sometime after 1953, as the owner who bought it claims to have woken in the night with the hands of a ghost around his neck! Seasonal events there include a pumpkin-themed trail around the garden on Thursday, October 30 and a ghost and gourmet meal on Saturday, October 25 and Saturday, November 1 at 7pm. At SCOTNEY CASTLE, near Tunbridge Wells, it’s also about the pumpkin trail from Monday, October 27 to Sunday, November 2, while at CHARTWELL, near Westerham, you can hold a scary beast, track wild animals and go bug hunting in some spooky surroundings from Monday, October 27 to Friday, October 31. If you’re coast-bound, then head into SOUTH FORELAND LIGHTHOUSE, near Dover, on Friday, October 31, where you can explore by torch light whilst listening to some scary ghost stories. Dress warmly and be prepared for a fright or two. Children’s Halloween activities run from 6pm to 8pm, fancy dress optional.

For prices and times, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk


With tours tailored to every age group, FORT AMHERST, Chatham, supplies one of the most authentic haunted histories in the country. Having been originally been built in preparation for a Napoleonic invasion, and then used in both World Wars, Fort Amherst is known best for its fascinating military history and unique underground tunnels. This week, the Medway attraction is offering age-appropriate children’s and teens tours for the first time, from Friday, October 24 until Saturday, November 1. Tickets cost £7.50 for the teens tour (12-16) and £3.50 for the children’s tours (12 and under). Visit www.fortamherst.com


A show of crazy animals is part of the freaky fun at the HOP FARM Family Park, near Paddock Wood. A magic show, a ghostly disco and face painting are also in the mix, and don’t forget to dress up in your fancy dress best if you’re visiting between Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, November 2.

Visit www.thehopfarm.co.uk or call 01622 872068.

Dating back to 1555 and sitting on the site of Sanding Farm, near Maidstone, KENT LIFE is said to be one of the most haunted museum’s in the county. But with little ones in mind, the lighthearted focus is on who will brave the snakes, spiders and scorpions in creepy cuddle corner? And will it be a trick or treat for you in the frightening farmhouse? Take a trip on the terrifying tractor ride or join one of the many scary characters for ghost stories in the house. Open daily from 10am to 5pm.

Tickets cost £9.25 for adults, £7.25 for children over three. Visit www.kentlife.org.uk

Halloween at Leeds Castle
Halloween at Leeds Castle


The Spooky Quest and Haunted Halloween Hunt will keep both younger and older age groups busy at LEEDS CASTLE, near Maidstone. The Spooky Quest takes place around the woodland walk, while the Halloween Hunt involves clues from spooky characters around the castle estate. A fancy dress competition for the best blood curdling outfit takes place daily at 2pm near the maze, while Spooky Stories with Raggedy Jack will entertain younger children in the playground area throughout the day daily from Saturday, October 25 until Friday, October 31.

Day tickets cost £19 for adults and £11 for children, or annual passes cost £24 for adults and £16 for children. Visit www.leeds-castle.com or call 01622 765400.

Stories take a sinister turn at the Canterbury Tales
Stories take a sinister turn at the Canterbury Tales

For 12s and over seeking some tweenage chills, head to THE CANTERBURY TALES, where Chaucer’s classic stories will be taking a sinister turn with live horror performances in a church graveyard. The Terrible Tales, which have been updated with new twists and turns, will be performed by drama students from the University of Kent. Performances will be followed by a guided tour through the attraction, where nasty surprises await as you walk the diseased streets of medieval England. Performances are at 7pm every evening from Friday, October 24 to Friday, October 31. The really brave can join the late-night 9pm tour on Friday, October 31.
Admission costs £10 per person. Not ssuitable for under-12s. Visit www.canterburytales.org.uk or call 01227 454888.

The Boy Who Kicked Pigs at the Theatre Royal, Margate
The Boy Who Kicked Pigs at the Theatre Royal, Margate

Tom Baker is known by generations as the fourth Dr Who. However, for teenagers whose memories don’t go that far back he’s about to gain a new identity as the brain responsible for a blackly comic The Boy Who Kicked Pigs. Baker’s novel has now leapt off the page to splash bloodily onto the stage and is coming to MARGATE THEATRE ROYAL. This macabre, cult classic centres around an evil 13-year-old named Robert Caligari; a boy who wants to take over the world, cause deadly mayhem and, for reasons of his own, kick pigs. But today is the day Robert gets his comeuppance. His very bloody comeuppance. See it on Saturday, October 25 from 7.30pm.
Tickets cost £14. Visit www.theatreroyalmargate.com or call 01843 296111.


Freak Week Resurrection at the Hop Farm
Freak Week Resurrection at the Hop Farm

Genuinely among the most terrifying of all the Halloween-themed events, and strictly for over-16s only, is Freak Week. The award-winning fright event - winner of the 2011 Screamie Award – is back at the HOP FARM Family Park after a break last year. Freak Week Resurrection returns for 2014 with five new elements including the asylum, the creep, Mississippi madness, the infected and the funhouse, plus the world’s first interactive maze.
The venue near Paddock Wood opens on Wednesday, October 22. Not suitable for under-16s. Tickets from £22.25. Open 6.30pm to 11pm. Visit www.hopfarmfreakweek.co.uk

Eerie evenings at Chatham Historic Dockyard
Eerie evenings at Chatham Historic Dockyard

As darkness descends, the HISTORIC DOCKYARD CHATHAM takes on an eerie atmosphere, providing the perfect backdrop for tales of history, mystery, murder and intrigue mixed with a little adventure and romance. This winter’s ghost walks will take visitors around the darkened Dockyard, where they can linger in front of the reputedly haunted buildings and experience the eerie atmosphere. The walks take place on Friday, October 24, Friday, November 28 and Friday, December 12, all at 8pm and lasting approximately 90 minutes.

Tickets £12 per person. Only suitable for 16s and over. Pre-booking is essential. Call 01634 823852 or email ghostwalks@chdt.org.uk

The annual Halloween Horrors scare attraction for adults at FORT AMHERST, Chatham, has been described by the experts at Scare Tour UK as ‘not for the faint of heart’. Ross Friday says of the fort’s Halloween popularity: “The genuine history plays a role – the area includes an ancient Saxon burial ground and is heavily researched by paranormal investigators who regularly report unexplained phenomena.”

Tours run from Friday, October 24 until Saturday, November 1. Tickets cost from £10 for over-16s only. Visit www.fortamherst.com

Bring Cluedo to life with an interactive murder mystery meal in which you are the detective and need to solve the crime. Dead Over Dinner is a Halloween event at the MERCURE TUNBRIDGE WELLS HOTEL, which includes a three-course meal and coffee. Eat, drink and make merry with murder on Saturday, October 25 at 7.45pm.

Tickets cost £32. 95. Call 0844 8159074.

Illuminated Dover Castle
Illuminated Dover Castle

Hear the strange but true experiences of those who work at DOVER CASTLE and discover the myths and legends surrounding this atmospheric ancient site, during evening ghost tours on Friday, October 31. But will you survive the night? Book your tour between 6pm to 8pm, or 8.30pm to 10.30pm.

Tickets cost £25 to English Heritage members or £30 for non-members. Participants must be over 14. Visit www.english-heritage.org.uk

It’s not only the kids who get to play dress-up. Head to the MANOR FARM BARN pub in Southfleet, near Gravesend, a Fright Night fancy dress party on Friday, October 31. Guests are invited to dress as zombies, with prizes for the best costumes, and there will also be a performance of classic Halloween-themed hits by band Beer Pressure. The night starts at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £15 in advance only. Admission includes a hog roast supper. Visit www.shepherdneame.co.uk or call 01474 834967.

‘Bring out your dead’ is the sinister-sounding tagline of the Folkestone Zombie Walk from the LEAS CLIFF HALL on Saturday, November 1 from 3.30pm. The walk takes place in aid of East Kent Hospitals and is free to enter. A zombie makeover is available to buy at The Office Bar from midday before the walk leaves at 3.30pm. Afterwards, a bar crawl will kill some time before the Leas Cliff Hall throws its own Halloween disco from 8pm. Tickets cost £5. Visit www.atgtickets.com/folkestone or call 0844 8713015.

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