KENT GOES GHOULISH
It’s dark, there are strange creatures running around the streets, your stash of chocolates is disappearing quicker than the sun on a bank holiday, and it’s 31st October. It can only mean one thing: Halloween. And if you, like many, want to celebrate Halloween Kentish style, then there is plenty going on to entertain you this spooky holiday.
House of the Dead & The Mystery of the Pumpkin Ghost // Bluewater // 14-31 Oct
There are two different creeptacular events taking place at Bluewater shopping centre this Halloween. The first is The Mystery of the Pumpkin Ghost, a family-friendly spook-fest that will have everyone getting their Mystery Inc on to solve the so-called haunting. Enter the toyshop where you will be greeted by the toymaker himself who will share with you the secret history of the Pumpkin Ghost, then send a shiver down your spine with tall tales of the curse that has plagued the shop for generations. With plenty of courage and a torch in hand, enter the workshop in search of clues to unlock and solve The Mystery of the Pumpkin Ghost.
The second attraction is the House of the Dead – and this one’s for the grownups. Dare you enter the most immersive, terrifying and utterly unique horror experience the UK has to offer? Do you have what it takes to survive the House of the Dead with your sanity intact? Packed with your worst nightmares, House of the Dead will take you on a terrifying walk-through journey in an unreal world made up of phenomenal, horror movie quality sets, routes of terror and most importantly, the most horrific monsters and creatures Bluewater has ever seen.
Witches and Wizards’ Academy // Leeds Castle // 22-28 Oct
Leeds Castle turns creepy this Halloween, and is giving young witches and wizards the chance to hone their dastardly skills! Learn how to fly a broomstick, have a go at making a potion and cast plenty of spells. There is a daily fancy dress competition with great prizes to be won, as well as loads of games and the opportunity to sing with a ghoulishly good choir! After all of that, why not follow the Halloween-themed children’s trail around the grounds?
Halloween Spooktacular // Kent Life // 22-31 Oct
Kent Life is usually such a cheerful place to be… but at Halloween all of that changes and the spooks come out to play! Cuddle Corner turns creepy and instead of rabbits and hens you’ll find spiders, snakes and scorpions. Dare to take a trip on the farm’s terrifying tractor ride and search for friendly ghouls on the wooden hunt. And the farmhouses are no longer comforting places to visit – they are full of trick or treating mischief makers… Along with a daily fancy dress competition, pumpkin carving and craft activities, Kent Life’s Halloween event is one not to be missed.
Haunted Castle & What Lies Beneath // Dover Castle // 22-30 Oct & 27-29 Oct
Feeling brave enough to take on Kent’s most haunted castle? Prepare to be scared this autumn half term as a frighteningly fun day out awaits you. Then pluck up your courage for a tunnels tour with a twist, staged within the castle’s secret tunnel complex. Not for the faint hearted. What Lies Beneath ages 13+. Pre-booking required.
Broadwitch Hauntfest // Southfleet // 21-31 Oct
Two time National Scar Award winners Broadwitch Hauntfest are in a spin as construction is well underway on Kent’s first scare attraction vortex, but its location within a haunt is under wraps until the Hauntfest opens to their visitors this Halloween. After an inspiring trip to the States earlier in the year, every haunt is being refreshed for 2016.
‘Thirteen’ brings all your nightmares to life. Will you tempt fate as fears and age-old superstitions challenge even the most rational minded person? Thirteen houses our darkest nightmares, feeding on your anxieties, as you see horrors that are beyond your imagination.
‘MassAcre’ is an intense and disturbing corn maze that will take you to the brink of terror. Fear and carnage await you in the killing fields of Massacre Farm. Its blood-crazed inhabitants are on a murderous cannibalistic rampage and you’re on the menu. It’s no longer a fairytale; this is your worst nightmare.
‘The Spooky Castle’, ‘Biometrix’ and ‘The Edge’ are the remaining three haunts that will both scare and enthral you. Not forgetting the daytime attractions for younger guests.
Spooky Sprint // Tonbridge School // 15 Oct
Do you want to be scared and raise money for charity at the same time? Then join in with the Spooky Sprint! This is a race that takes place entirely in the dark, with just a head torch to illuminate your path. Even the most fearless of runners find that this is an experience to really test the nerves, and your fitness. You can challenge yourself to either the 5K or 10K routes, and once you sign up you will be sent a head torch (it’s vital!), chip timing and a fabulous – exclusive – glow in the dark t-shirt. And for the little ones there is a family run over 500m so that everyone can take part. Every pound raised will go towards supporting Parkinson’s UK.
Halloween Half Term // The Hop Farm // 22-30 Oct
The Hop Farm is the perfect place to trick or treat your little monsters during half term this year. Get kitted out in your best Halloween costume and you could stand a chance of winning a prize. There is also pumpkin carving, face painting, the Monster Mash disco, a zombie shootout, 4D cinema, creepy story-telling, the animal farm, and a super magic show!
Screamland // Dreamland // 14-29 Oct (Friday and Saturday nights only)
The multi-award winning Screamland, the region’s largest scare festival, returns for a second year running at Dreamland Margate. Dubbed ‘the best scare event of any UK park’, Screamland will be more terrifying than ever, providing even more reason to discover the full scare experience. Dreamland will be transformed into Screamland with fully immersive scare experiences throughout the park, as well as unlimited use of all the favourite rides.
Halloween Horrors at Fort Amherst // Chatham // 21-31 Oct
Halloween has been celebrated in style at Fort Amherst for over 30 years, and every year the scares just get bigger and better. Take a night-time tour through the spooky tunnels, led by your very own guide. But beware – there are ghosts, ghouls and possibly even some goblins lurking around every corner! This creepy, dark labyrinth is scary enough, but add some spectacularly scary extras, a good dollop of special effects and enough screams to power Chatham and you’ve got a sure fire frightfest on your hands.
Betteshanger Park //22-30 Oct
A hair-raising half term is planned at Betteshanger Park, near Deal, with spectacularly spooky activities taking place throughout the week.
As night falls on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 October, join Betteshanger’s boldest and walk the Terror Trail in the pitch dark to parts of the Park only few ever dare to travel. The challenge is to make it through without screaming. There’s no need to be afraid of the dark … is there?
The Terror Trail takes place at 4pm (under 12’s and scaredy cats); 5.30pm (under 12’s and scaredy cats) and 7pm (strictly over 12’s). £4 per person or £12 for a group of 4. Adequate footwear and weather- appropriate clothing required.
On Saturday 29 October, in partnership with The Open Air Cinema, Betteshanger Park will be screening the scariest horror film experience ever – The Blair Witch Project. Participants will meet at the Visitor Centre for a chilling hike through the woods, following in the footsteps of the student filmmakers on their ill -fated journey in search of the infamous legend. This is not for the faint-hearted – guests should be prepared to be terrified in this fully-immersive evening! Doors open at 7pm, film at 8pm. £10 per person in advance. £15 on the day. Tickets include a warming post-screening toddy. A bar plus hot food and drinks will be available before and after the film. Guests should dress for a hike through the woods, bring walking shoes, waterproofs, blankets, chairs, groundsheets and items to keep warm. A torch and a strong nerve are essential!
For a less frightening experience, from Saturday 22 October to Sunday 30 October follow Tawny Owl, Guardian of the Woods, his loyal friend Spider and Betteshanger’s bravest children on a mysterious Halloween Trail around the Park (10am-4pm daily).
Halloween is not complete until you have a spooky pumpkin. Save your kitchen from getting messy and carve pumpkins in the Betteshanger Visitor Centre.
There will be lots of ghoulish ideas to get children started at the carving station (12pm-3pm daily). Pumpkins £3 each. Carving kits £2.50 each. £5 for both.
Tracy Brunt, Betteshanger Park’s Event Manager, said: “There is a lot going on during half term and we’re looking forward to welcoming children and adults for some fearsome fun this Halloween!”
In addition to Halloween-themed activities, Betteshanger Basecamp, the Park’s action-packed school holiday club, takes place daily from Monday 24th to Friday 28th October. Basecamp runs from 10am-4pm, with an optional breakfast club starting at 8am. Children are guaranteed an exhilarating, fun- filled day. They will try awesome activities, make new friends and have great fun in a safe outdoor environment. Participants will experience three activities before finishing the afternoon with team games. Activities include cycling, archery, climbing, obstacle course and geocaching. Activities will rotate depending on the group size and weather.
Basecamp is run by qualified instructors and is suitable for ages 8-14. Sessions cost £25 per day and bike hire, helmets and all activity equipment is included. Basecamp will happen whatever the weather – appropriate dress is vital. Pre- booking essential.
For more information and to book activities visit www.betteshanger–park.co.uk or call 01304 619227.
Halloween Dine & Stay with Ciaran O’Keeffe // Hever Castle // 30-31 Oct
Luxurious accommodation and a delicious meal are on offer at this dine and stay event at Hever Castle. However, once the sumptuous three-course meal is finished, it is time to meet with Ciaran O’Keeffe, specialist parapsychologist, who will conduct the rest of the evening. Paranormal investigations and vigils throughout the castle are on offer, using the most modern of techniques including thermal imaging and infrared with static detection. The castle will be divided into different areas so that guests can be as involved as little or as much as they like in the séances, Ouija boards and vigils.
Contagious! // The Canterbury Tales // 27-31 Oct
Medieval England is decimated by the plague, and contagion is in every building, every alleyway, every person you meet… And yet you must journey through the dangers in order to reach Canterbury – a safe haven in the midst of the terror that has swept the country. Do you dare? Will you make it? And will you find the cure that could save humanity?
Back for its second year, Contagious! at the Canterbury Tales is a unique take on a well-loved attraction, offering a new insight into the well trodden paths of Chaucer’s country.
Crabble Corn Mill // Dover // 28-29 Oct
Crabble Corn Mill is one of Dover’s hidden gems, an attraction that allows those who love their history and their county to discover more about both. But at Halloween, this peaceful, serene museum becomes the site from some truly terrifying goings on! Do you dare to embark on a tour of the mill after dark? It is said to be haunted, you know…
Forest of Fear //Groombridge Place // 17-18 & 24 Oct – 1 Nov
This year it is the turn of Hansel and Gretel to set the scene for all the spooky goings on at Groombridge Place. They will be there between 10am and 5pm for families to witness their screamingly good adventures. The evil witch is after them, and when they do finally escape, they find themselves in the mad world of the Monster Mash Halloween party! Once there, Hansel and Gretel will guide children through a number of different themed activities including crafts, games, face painting, dancing and much, much more.
When darkness comes the games are over… will you enter the Enchanted Forest of Fear? With a guide (can they really be trusted?), you can explore the haunted forest in an experience you never forget! This activity is ideal for those over 10, and anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. If you want to stay after dark but prefer to stay away from the things that lurk in the trees, there are plenty of other activities on offer for your entertainment. There will also be plenty of Halloween themed food and drink through the day and evening.
Fright Night // Maidstone Museum // 27 Oct
Maidstone Museum is full of weird and wonderful artefacts, and some of them have some very spooky stories to go with them. On this after-hours tour of the museum, your curator will be able to divulge all the facts that are normally kept secret… for fear of scaring away the visitors! Once the tour is complete, sit back and relax (as much as you can) to watch dance troupe Anaconda perform a dramatically ghoulish routine.
Ghost Hunt At Upnor Castle // Rochester // 30 Oct
Come and join in a ghost hunt at Upnor Castle in Rochester. Organised by Ghost Hunt Events, this unique experience is ideal for novices and experts alike. Using top of the range equipment, and being guided by ghost hunting professionals, this night-time hunt (from 7pm until 1am) is one on which anything could happen. This is only the second ghost hunt to take place at Upnor Castle in its 445-year history.