Celebrate the Day of the Dead, and join in Halloween festivities around the Mendips
Celebrate the Day of the Dead, and join in Halloween festivities around the Mendips
Bath Bristol Cheddar PLACES WHAT'S ON

Week of horror: 13 scary goings on over Half Term

Halloween seems more eclectic than ever this year.  Here’s thirteen(ish) ideas for spooky events and horrible happenings near you.  No clowns for the coulrophobic amongst you.

There’s full on fear factor in some events over the next week, but also more gentle pursuits so check before you go, as some of these are for preschoolers, and others are more suitable for teenagers and older.

Halloween has always been a celebration with many influences; both folk and Christian.  Now the Day of the the Dead influences from Mexico join our more American tradition of trick or treat, and dressing up as a modern form of danse macabre.  Enjoyed by many but disliked by some, it all joins together to form a subversive carnival on our streets.

So spare a thought for those who don’t want to join in the fun of Halloween.  Pumpkins are a good signal for people who want to participate in the whole trick or treat thing.  Don’t knock on a door without Halloween decorations!  Once you’ve parked your hand crafted pumpkin by your door, head out to explore the spooky scene around the Mendips.

Carve a Jack o'Lantern
Carve a Jack o’Lantern

Get your hand in early on Saturday 22 October. Get creative with spooky squash at Tyntesfield and make some Jack O’Lanterns.

If it’s all getting a bit dark and sinister, make a lantern to shine as the nights draw in at Tyntesfield on Sunday 23 October.

What better place to celebrate Halloween than at the American Museum? Join Wiltshire Scrapstore to create an array of creepy crafts in preparation for the big day. Come along in fancy dress and enjoy the autumn colours in the gardens and grounds.

On a darker note, the American Museum’s evocative Period Rooms are the perfect setting for a sinister tale on a evening. Join them on Wednesday 26 October for a chilling journey through some of the darkest chapters of American history, starting in a seventeenth-century home in colonial Massachusetts at the height of the Salem witch trials.  Not suitable for children.

Make a spooky Halloween mask and follow a pumpkin trail through the house and gardens to claim your chocolate prize at Blaise Castle on Wednesday 26 October.

There are two days of spooky fun at the theatre for those looking for something to keep the kids busy this half term. Scary stories, creepy creations and hair-raising hijinks at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol on from the 26-27 October.

The ghoul-guided family friendly Torchlit Tours are back at Bristol’s Aquarium, which is a seriously spooky place as twilight falls and who knows what may be lurking in the dark as Halloween approaches!  The family friendly version is on Friday 28 October but if you’re faint hearted don’t go there the next day!  Aimed at those brave souls who aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night, join the ghostly gang to discover what comes out to play when the lights go out.  What terrors of the deep lie in wait as you explore a twilight world filled with sinister shapes and spine-tingling sounds?  At Bristol Aquarium on Saturday 29 October, 15 +

For more peculiar parties near the waves groove with a Deadly DJ at Weston Pier for what promises to be a frightfully fantastic night of live scare zones as well as all the thrills of our rides and attractions with some added suprises with cocktails including Witches Brew.  Aimed at 18+

Bristol hosts its own Day of the Dead event – details to be announced.  There’ll be a skull troupe, a giant skull procession and you’ll be able to get your own skull make-up free.  For a chance to register interest visit the website.

Join the Bristol Museum for their annual Day of the Dead celebrations on Sunday 30 October – the Mexican festival where families gather to remember their dead.  Create Day of the Dead crafts, add your memories and photos of loved ones to the colourful ofrenda (shrine), get your face painted and watch traditional Mexican dancing against the beautiful backdrop of the museum.

The American Museum is holding a fiesta to celebrate the Mexican festival of Day of the Dead on Sunday 30 October, in which families honour deceased loved ones with sugar skulls, dancing skeletons, and piles of marigolds. Leave an offering on the altar.  The band Mariachi Tequila play at the American Museum from 2pm – 3pm, as the band perform traditional Mexican corridos, boleros, rancheros, and jarabes, included with gardens only admission.

And last but not least, if you aren’t trick or treating enjoy a bit of magic in the Mendips on Halloween itself.  Family screening of an all time classic, Hocus Pocus at Cheddar Football club. After three centuries, three witch sisters are resurrected in Salem Massachusetts on Halloween night, and it is up to two teen-agers, a young girl, and an immortal cat to put an end to the witches’ reign of terror once and for all.  This is outdoor cinema so Be Prepared!

Ok, was fibbing about the clowns.  The Tobacco Factory proudly present Caulrophobia from Monday 7 November.  A 75 minute show featuring disappointing nudity, mime, cardboard and rue language more suitable for people 16+.  Hysterical and terrifying, apparently.

There’s lots more eerie events on the our what’s on page, why not take a look?