Guide to October Half Term Activities

The evenings draw in by October half term but there are fireworks and lights to brighten the end of those crisp autumn days. Plus there are spooky things about and even a few strange spirits. Here’s a short round up:

For families...

Blackgang Illuminations run throughout October every Friday and Saturday evening and for the whole half term week (October 6th & 7th, 13th & 14th, 20th and 21st to 29th), from 5pm till 9pm, after normal opening hours during the day, with additional entertainment for half term. Plus the park is open on evenings only from October 30th to November 4th for the illuminations.As daylight begins to fade, the park awakens, with creative, interactive lighting effects and displays. Rumpus Mansion is brought to life with 3D character animation, you get to meet Blackgang’s very own mystical dragon, Cedric and there’s a Magical Den of potions, crafts and fairy tale activities.

Sister attraction Robin Hill has their popular electric woods event, Festival of Light inspired by Diwali, which this year will be celebrating the 70th Anniversary of India’s independence with stunning, creatively themed light, colour, sound and entertainment that captures the many aspects of Indian culture. Every evening from September 30th to November 4th, 6pm to 10pm, visitors can experience the lush colours, flavours and magic of the Asian sub-continent set in Robin Hill’s glorious autumnal ancient woodland. Plus every new guest gets a free bag of holi powder.

At Osborne House there is Victorian Falconry during half term from Tuesday 24th to Thursday 26th October. Gaze skywards in awe as hawks, owls and falcons soar above Queen Victoria's seaside estate. Discover the art of training, exercising and hunting with birds and learn about birds of prey in Victorian times.

And Carisbrooke Castle becomes Spooky Castle from Saturday 21st October to Sunday 29th October with terrifying Halloween crafts to make, macabre stories of times gone by from Victorian ghost hunters, especially discovering the gruesome deaths of the graveyard’s occupants, and a prize each day for the best Halloween costume.

It’s Wizard Week at the IW Steam Railway from October 23rd to 27th, and along with the wonderful railway rides you get magic shows and enchanting Woodland Walks where you can meet the friendly witches of Havenstreet and help them with their magic spells and potions. Dress-up as wizards, witches and other spooky characters with prizes each day for the best costumes, and there’s a Halloween Treasure Hunt. Then on Saturday 28th October it’s Halloween Fright Night when everyone dresses  up as witches, wizards and ghouls to take the ghost train through the deserted night time countryside with lots of spooky tales and dancing to the Timewarp at the end of the evening.

Over at the IOW Reptilarium in Yarmouth’s Victoria Fort it’s going to be Fright Week at Half Term with some of the Victorian Fort’s Ghosts and Ghouls rumoured to be returning around Halloween. The Reptilarium will have a mild horror theme throughout the week so along with being able to see their amazing reptiles you’ll have to keep a keen eye open for the resident ghosts, ghouls and zombies. Plus on Saturday 21st October you can actually handle the snakes with Georgina’s Snake Experience and on Saturday 28th October you can meet the bats with live bats from the Isle of Wight Bat Hospital on display at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Spooky Farm Fun is on offer up at Tapnell Farm with a ‘wicked week of tricks and treats’. Enjoy Bugs & Beasties Encounters, themes Arts & Crafts to make Halloween themed things and Wonda the Witch’s Treasure Hunt around the park. There’s a scary Face Painter and you can have a go at different Halloween Games including Pumpkin Toss, Ghost Skittles, Witch's Hat Hoopla and Dress Your Mummy as a Mummy! Plus there are visits from the Isle of Wight Bat Hospital on 22nd October, Haven Falconry on 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th October and Snake Handling with Georgina on 27th October.

For Couples...

It’s for kids too, but the Dinosaur Island museum in Yaverland is running guided fossil walks throughout Half Term with five walks on offer. At Yaverland beach you can find dinosaur and other fossils on Monday 23rd, Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th October. There are fossils of sea creatures to be found at Shanklin on Thursday 26th October and on Friday 27th you can see the world-famous dinosaur footcasts at Brook Bay.

Or for something completely different try Park of the Dead from October 25th to 29th at Puckpool Park, near Ryde, but book now as it’s filling up fast. The brief is:

“With the ‘Z’ virus finally under control, the country is trying to return to normality. Only small pockets of ‘infected’ remain and are slowly being eradicated. The government is recruiting all survivors to help search the abandoned hospitals and medical facilities for any remaining patients and survivors that have been left trapped.You have been summoned by your country to help search one of the last remaining facilities… the Asylum at Lab 17.”

Warnings: “You should be aware that it could be a high intensity experience that is not for the faint hearted. You should expect loud noises, flashing lights, disorientation, close quarter encounters, extreme darkness and moments of madness.”

Jo Macaulay

9 October 2017

By Jo Macaulay in Articles