The spooky season is upon us and if you’re looking to keep your kids busy during the school holidays, here’s a range of events and activities to keep everyone happy.
1. Pumpkin patch
Halloween isn’t all about the scare factor, and a visit to a pumpkin patch trades scares for scarecrows, with plenty of opportunity for a healthy photo op. Set in the picturesque grounds of the Castletaylor Estate in Ardrahan, the Galway Pumpkin Patch is a fun day out for all the family, open four weekends from 8th October.
At the Ballycross Apple Farm in Wexford, visitors can stroll through the witches’ village on their way to picking the perfect pumpkin. Tickets start at €7.50 and children under the age of two are admitted free.
2. Carve and roast
Once you have selected the perfect pumpkin and brought it home, the design can begin. Whether you’re carving spooky faces into the pumpkin itself, or playing it safe and using paint or markers to design the outside, make sure you don’t throw away the insides.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are a great snack that can be baked in the oven (200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6) in just 15 minutes with just a little olive oil and seasoned to taste.
3. Tayto Park
If you’re looking for something spookier than Cadbury’s with a crunchy flavor, head to Tayto Park for thrills even the younger members of your party can enjoy. The theme park hosts a series of events throughout October, with Tayto After Dark allowing visitors to ride their favorite attractions at night. It’s worth noting that this is a “No Scare” event. So if you’re looking for scary clowns, ghosts, and zombies (oh my god!), you won’t find them here. Tickets start at €16.
The Tricky Trail, on the other hand, is included in all ticket prices and ensures an unforgettable day out for young and old. The Treasure Hunt is a spooky, interactive adventure through the park with many surprises to be found. The trail is open from October 22nd, 23rd, 29th to November 2nd. taytopark.ie/events
4. Beat the hay
In Cork, Leahy’s Farm is hosting the Boo!! Experience that encourages costume dressing for young and old. Take a ride on a haunted carriage, help a shriveled witch prepare a potion and shake off the cobwebs on a farm visit included in the ticket price (from €5). For an additional €5 you can pick and carve a spooky pumpkin to take home.
5. Movie magic
The scariest part of any movie these days is the price you pay to get a family in, so skip the lines and expense at Leopardstown’s retro drive-in cinema. From October 21st you can enjoy cult classics such as Gremlins, Hocus Pocus, Ghostbusters and even the first two Harry Potter movies. Entry starts at €35 for a five-seater. retrodrivein.ie
6. Galway Abu
The Galway Aboo Halloween Festival takes place on the Saturday and Sunday of the October bank holiday weekend and turns the city and surrounding areas into a Halloweentown scene.
While the Macnas parade has sadly been cancelled, there are still plenty of scares to come, from the spooky orienteering run in Wildlands (ticket holders get in free, otherwise €5) to the treasure hunt in Brigit’s garden. See galwaytourism.ie/event/galway-aboo-halloween-festival/ for more.
7. Costume Creations
Gone are the days of the trash bag outfit that was a staple for elementary school Halloween, but it’s still fun to dabble in DIY costume design. Have a brainstorming session to figure out which TV or movie character is this week’s most popular character, and delve into the forgotten corners of their wardrobe to see what suits them.
Sometimes the crazier the better, and even the most bizarre of outfits can be considered abstract.
8. Heartlands Hullabaloo
In Ireland’s Haunted Heartlands, the Hullabaloo Children’s Arts Festival returns with a packed program of music, theatre, performances and workshops. The event will take place from November 2nd to 5th at the Birr, Clara, Edenderry and Offaly libraries and aims to introduce children to the different genres of art.
Head north to Let’s Go Hydro in Belfast where the water temperature is usually scary enough! Just a two-hour drive from Dublin, the Aquapark is transformed into a Halloween festival. They close off the water for a funky display of inflatable pumpkins, witches, ghosts and goblins, and visitors can enjoy everything from ghost stories to hay rides and s’mores.
On Halloween night, the ‘Best Dressed’, ‘Funniest Costumes’ and ‘Scariest’ will be crowned and awarded exclusive prizes, and there will be a fireworks display at 7:30pm. Tickets for 31 October are £8 (€9) per adult and £5 (€5.70) per child. letsgohydro.com/halloween
10. Harvest Moonshine at Marina Market
Cork’s Marina Market is already a hugely popular attraction, but their Halloween offering is even more magical. Harvest Moonshine will run in three time slots on Saturday, October 15th. The immersive show tells the enchanting tale of the Good Witch and the Pumpkin Fairies with interactive theater, song, dance, and a pair of fairy wings, a harvest crown, and a wand for each child in the audience.
The event is ideal for children aged 3-7 and their designated adults, with the only rule being that you believe in fairies. Tickets cost €25 for children and €5 for adults. eventbrite.ie/e/harvest-moonshine
11. Light, Camera, Action
Pulling on sheets to romp in the garden is a TikTok trend that hasn’t stopped in 2021. If you’ve got a foggy, dreary October afternoon and a bunch of kids to keep busy — grab some old sheets, your phone, and a pair of sunglasses to craft an appropriately cute or spooky video.
12th Púca Festival
The Celtic New Year is ushered in with the Púca Festival, which takes place in Ireland’s Ancient East (or Trim in Meath as we know it). Púca, meaning “spirit” or “ghost”. as Gaeilgecelebrates the haunted, ancient traditions of an ancient Ireland.
The jam-packed program of music, comedy, art and food spans four days (October 28-31) with events for the whole family and all budgets. See pucafestival.com/all-ages/ for events not only for adults.
13. Pooka Spooka
While few fearlessly deal with Causey Farm’s farmaphobia, their Pooka Spooka event is the family-friendly, all-ages equivalent. Find yourself in the mirror maze, lose yourself in the corn maze, try your hand at limb throwing or try your hand at broomstick. The event takes place over the last three weekends of October and is suitable for children aged 2 to 12. Tickets cost €14 and children under the age of 2 are free. causey.ie/halloween
14. Traditional games
If you’re staying home on Halloween night or are hosting a party, traditional Halloween games are a surefire crowd pleaser. Make a pile of flour with a grape on it and have each player cut portions of flour with a knife without the grape falling off.
Whoever fails only has to retrieve the grape with their mouth, resulting in a scary face for them and a laugh for everyone else.
15. Story time
Perhaps one of the simplest and oldest Halloween traditions, gathering in the dark to share stories doesn’t have to be nightmarish. Set the scene with lights out and torches, taking turns telling (age appropriate) scary stories.
Check with your local library to see if they have spooky storytelling events, or borrow one goose flesh Roman to keep you all up at night.
Dublin’s Rediscovery Center is hosting two Halloween workshops for children on October 29th. There, the educational team guides children through fun and educational Halloween activities, games and crafts. The event is suitable for children aged 6 to 12 and tickets start at €10. Rediscovery Center.ie
17. Creepy Spleodar
Spleodar (the Irish word for revelry) is an arts festival in Nenagh that takes place every Halloween and is celebrating its 22nd year this October. Lantern making, costume design and art workshops are available for €5. There’s even a sensory-friendly demonstration by Clifford the big red dog on October 29th.
The event concludes with the Halloween Parade, which takes revelers to Nenagh Prison for a spooky performance. spleodar.ie
Each evening, the Northern Lights will appear in Dublin Castle’s Upper Courtyard as part of Dublin’s Bram Stoker Festival, which takes place from 28th to 31st October. The free event will light up the same sky that Bram Stoker would have viewed from his desk in the castle building.
BOREALIS is a fascinating light and sound installation by Swiss artist Dan Acher and brings the natural phenomenon a little closer to home. Participation details will be released in early October. www.bramstokerfestival.com
19. Watch a show
At Evil Wexford’s Mermaid Arts Centre, on November 1st, The legend of sleepy hollow is brought to life on stage with a mix of performances by two talented actors, some puppets and the children in the audience.
The show is suitable for children aged 5 to 10 and tickets cost €35 for a family of four. mermaidartscentre.ie
20. Trick or treat?
It seems like an obvious choice, but given the past two years, trick-or-treating is just one of many activities that could look a little different post-pandemic. Last year the government gave the go-ahead for spooky doorknocks, and this year appears to be the first year the beloved tradition is back in full force. So put on your best costume and hit the streets for an evening of scares, fun and a terribly stuffed bag of candy.
https://www.independent.ie/life/20-of-the-most-fun-events-and-activities-to-do-with-kids-this-halloween-42060939.html 20 of the funniest events and activities for kids this Halloween