Halloween in the Cotswolds ∙ Fun & Frights for Half Term
The Cotswolds, usually known for outstanding natural beauty, is gearing up for a Halloween celebration that is less about beauty and more about bats, black cats, haunted houses and terrifying trails.
With amazingly scary attractions and events, there is something for everyone to enjoy during this spooky season in the Cotswolds. For those who prefer a more family-friendly Halloween experience, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy. Pumpkin carving contests and trick-or-treating are popular events in many Cotswold villages, and there are Halloween-themed festivals and events taking place throughout in the next couple of weeks.
No matter what your interests are, you are sure to find a Halloween celebration in the Cotswolds that is perfect for you. Check out these 21 Things to do in the Cotswolds for Halloween 2023 to plan your spookily good time in the Cotswolds this year for Halloween.
Top 21 Things to do in the Cotswolds for Halloween 2023
1. Spookyard Halloween Festival
Don’t miss this frightfully fun day out for the whole family at Over Farm in Gloucester. Calling all brave witches, wizards, and ghouls, the Spookyard Halloween Festival is back for October half term, packed with spooky fun.
Put on your freakiest fancy dress and head to countryside adventure for a fang-tastic day out. Enjoy spooky daily live shows, a Monster Mash-Up dance competition, and a spellbinding woodland trail where you can spot pumpkins galore.
Spookyard tickets include full access to the attraction, so you can also feed the animals, get lost in the maize maze, bounce on the jumping pillows, and much more.
There’s nothing really scary about Spookyard, apart from missing it! So book your tickets today and get ready for a frightfully good time.
- Zoom on the Broom! Broomstick Flying School: Join Batilda Bristles and Minerva Moon for their world-famous broomstick training.
- Fancy Dress Competition: Crack out your best fancy dress and rock up to Spookyard in style.
- Monster Mash-up: Boogie with Wizard Wibble and Witch Hazel and show them your scariest moves.
2. EEK! Week at Slimbridge
WWT Slimbridge offers a wildlife learning adventure for the whole family this half term. Explore the interactive trail and discover the mysterious world of wetland nature this October half term; keep your eyes peeled and your senses sharp as you make your way around the wetlands for an exhilarating experience.
Put your courage to the test with Slimbridge’s interactive activities: Dare to put your hand in a snake box, take a selfie with a bat, or get up close and personal with a toad. It’s a wild and weird day out for the whole family!
- Follow the trail and meet interesting characters along the way
- Visit Professor Slug’s House of Bugs on 28-29 October and 4-5 November
- Create an origami toad at the Art Hub
- Discover what lurks beneath the surface at Pond Dipping, held daily from 12-1pm at the Pond Zone
- Make a recyclable dragonfly at the Art Hub from 2-4pm
3. Ghoul School at Berkeley Castle
Ghoul School at Berkeley Castle is a fun and educational audio extravaganza for children of all ages. It takes place in a spooky setting with various teachers who impart their delights, frights, and vampire bites.
Tickets cost £1 per child in addition to the admission ticket, and the event is available from Sunday 23 to Wednesday 26 and Sunday 30 October. You can also enjoy roasting marshmallows in the Woodland area from 2pm to 4pm (included in the admission ticket) and face painting will be available from midday on 23, 24, 25, and 30 October for £4 per child (cash only).
4. Creepy Corinium Cupcakes
Make art that you can eat in our Creepy Corinium Cupcakes workshop. Create your own monster cupcake and learn about some of the monsters in our collections. This is a food-based activity, so please let us know about any allergies.
5. Blackfriars Priory Ghost Hunt
Join Fright Nights for an unforgettable ghost-hunting experience at Blackfriars Priory, a historic Dominican priory in Gloucester, England. This Grade I listed monument is said to be haunted by various spirits, including a hooded monk dripping with blood and the Black Friar, who wanders the corridors with an open head wound.
During your ghost hunt, you will participate in a mediumship and equipment workshop, a mediumship walk around, and the use of ghost-hunting equipment. You can also participate in experiments such as séances and vigils. Expert advice and discussion about the paranormal will be provided throughout the evening.
Blackfriars Priory is a site with a rich history, dating back to 1239 AD. It was once a thriving monastic community, but it was dissolved in the 16th century during the Reformation. The priory was later used as a prison and a workhouse. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and a popular destination for ghost hunters. If you are looking for a truly unique and thrilling ghost-hunting experience, join Fright Nights at Blackfriars Priory.
6. Trick or Tweet Weeks at Birdland
It will be a spooktacular Halloween event for the wholefamily when keepers at Birdland get into the Halloween spirit with their annual Trick or Tweet Weeks event, running from Saturday 21 October to Sunday 5 November.
This year, visitors will have the chance to watch a selection of the park’s smartest birds demonstrate their foraging skills in a series of daily talks. Keepers will hide a variety of creepy crawlies inside pumpkins to see how different species use their intellect and dexterity to find their food.
Among the avian residents facing the daily pumpkin challenge will be cassowaries, one of the largest birds on the planet; keas, the super-smart parrots of New Zealand; hornbills, with their powerful beaks; and striated caracaras, clever birds of prey.
Trick or Tweet Weeks is a great way to celebrate Halloween with the whole family and learn more about some of the world’s most fascinating birds.
7. Night Terrors ∙ The Ghost Stories of E F Benson
With masterful storytelling, the award-winning actor Gerard Logan will transport you to a darker, more sinister world of the unexpected and the unexplainable.
Extra performance added to this spine-tingling evening of three tales of the supernatural from E.F. Benson’s brilliant collection of ghost stories Night Terrors.
8. Dracula at Cheltenham Playhouse
Blank Canvas Theatre Company returns to the Playhouse with a lavish, original adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel, Dracula. Set in 1897, the story follows Mina Murray, a young woman whose fiancé, Jonathan Harker, goes missing on a business trip to Transylvania. As Mina investigates Jonathan’s disappearance, she and her friends become embroiled in a battle against the undead Count Dracula.
The play is stylish, sensual, and bloody and promises to be a theatrical experience not to be missed this Halloween season.
9. Cirencester Ghost Tour
Explore the haunted stories, urban legends, and ghostly happenings associated with some of Cirencester’s most historic buildings on this 1-hour walking tour. Meet outside the Corinium Museum and wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll be walking on uneven surfaces.
This tour is a great way to learn about the town’s rich history and darker side. You’ll hear tales of executed witches, restless monks, and other supernatural creatures that are said to haunt the streets and buildings of Cirencester.
10. Kids Stay & Dine for FREE at Ellenborough Park
Escape with the family during the school holidays and enjoy a fun-filled staycation with plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained.
Visit one of the many nearby attractions, and after a long day of exploring, you can be sure of a great night’s rest in one of the hotel’s comfortable beds before tucking into a hearty breakfast the following morning.
Ellenborough Park offers a variety of additional extras for kids, such as fairy-lit adventure teepees and Yoto players. Yoto players are kid-friendly audio players that let kids listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and radio stations without screens or ads.
Kids dine and stay for FREE when sharing parents’ bedrooms. The luxury bedrooms and suites have sofa beds, and others can accommodate a single day bed.
11. A spooky craft workshop
Spend a spooky couple of hours in Ellenborough Park’s Old Chapel on Tuesday, October 31st, for a Halloween craft workshop.
Start by creating your own Halloween block-printed trick-or-treat bag. The little cotton bags are also great for storing presents, cables, or other bits and bobs when you get home.
Next, create mummy decorations to hang using wool. Each mummy has googly eyes and a loop to hang up when you’re finished. If you’re feeling creative, you can also mould a gruesome character using air-dry clay. Let your imagination run wild! This workshop is great for kids aged four and up.
12. A Spooky Halloween Night at The Museum
There’s a Halloween Party at the Wilson on Saturday 28 October. Join for a spooktacular Halloween party at the Wilson Art Gallery and Museum. Dare to explore the museum’s dimly lit galleries after dark and participate in various Halloween activities and crafts. Children can make their own Halloween decorations, get their faces painted, and dance to creepy beats. Adults can relax with refreshments from the café and bar while their children enjoy the festivities.
Dress up as your favourite witch, monster, or superhero for a chance to win prizes. All materials and spooky treats are included, and the event is suitable for children aged 5-12.
13. Pumpkin Carving in the garden at The Lygon Arms
From 30 October to 3 November between 10am and 11am the hotel garden will be the setting for some spooktacular pumpkin carving fun, judged by Head Gardener, Patrick Buskell.
Create your masterpiece and display it on the wall outside the hotel for all to admire. This event is open to both residents and non-residents of the hotel. Everyone is welcome!
This autumn, families can enjoy a Cotswolds getaway with our Little Explorers package, which offers free stays and meals for children during the school holidays.
14. Shooting Stars and Fireworks workshop
Spend a relaxing time with the Larkswold team at Ellenborough Park on Saturday 4th November. Create fireworks-themed crafts, perfect keepsakes to take home.
Paint pre-made air-dry clay stars to hang at home, and add buttons and beads as you like. If time allows, you can also make a block-printed shootong stars bag or roll and cut out new stars, and personalise them with your name or anything you like.
15. Halloweek at Sudeley Castle
Halloween wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a haunted castle! On Wednesday, October 31st, we’re hosting another frightfully fun day for our younger visitors.
A vision of Katherine Parr’s ghost has recently been seen drifting around the castle. Will you be able to spot her and her Tudor ladies? Do you dare take a look?
Children can get devilishly crafty with pumpkin paper-making arts and crafts and follow our autumn wildlife trail around the gardens. Search for ten boxes that each reveal a creature that calls the grounds their home, plus discover a spooky bonus wildlife box specially created for Halloween. Will you be brave enough to open it?
16. A Spooky Trail at Hayles Fruit Farm
Experience a spooky trail and pick your own pumpkins at Hayles Fruit Farm this Halloween. The trail will be open from Friday 20 October to Tuesday 31 October, from 9am to 5pm daily. The farm shop and cafe will be open on all days except Mondays.
17. Halloween Fun at the Holst Birthplace Museum
On Tuesday, 31 October, the Holst Birthplace Museum will host a special Halloween event for families and children of all ages.
From 11am to 3pm, visitors can visit the museum to make their spooky pop-up Halloween cards. Friendly volunteers will be on hand to help.
Join Nikki in the Victorian Nursery for scary stories at 11.45am, 1pm, and 2pm. She’ll be reading from popular favourites such as “Room on the Broom,” “Winnie the Witch,” “Beware Beware,” and “Aaaarrgghh! Spider!”.
18. Halloween Scarefest at Gloucester Prison
Halloween Scarefest by Salvation-Z, the hugely popular and terrifying horror scare park, returns to Gloucester Prison for another season of undead mayhem. With four acres of zombie madness and a new plot featuring film-grade zombies and even more gore, Halloween Scarefest is sure to get your heart racing.
This unique attraction is set in a real Georgian prison, adding to the eerie atmosphere. The prison has a dark history, with 126 executions within its walls. This sense of violence and despair is palpable, and it’s sure to set the scene for a truly terrifying experience.
Once you enter Halloween Scarefest, there’s no turning back. You must go forward and face your fears. Danger lurks around every corner, so you must use all your wits and strength to survive.
If you need a break, you can stop by the Governor’s food and drink stall for much-needed sustenance. But don’t let your guard down because even here, you’re not safe from the undead.
Halloween Scarefest is a truly immersive horror experience, and this attraction is not for the faint of heart.
19. Halloween Land at Cotswold Farm Park
Get ready for a cauldron full of spooky fun in Cotswold Farm Park’s Halloween Land. Pick your own pumpkin fresh from the farm in the impressive pumpkin patch – get creative and decorate it there or take it home. Children can also choose their favourite fearsome face painting design.
All activities are included in the cost of admission ( just show your Farm Park wristband at the entrance to Halloween Land) and there’s one free pumpkin per child.
20. Over Farm Pumpkin After Dark
This is more than just pumpkin picking in the dark – it’s a ghoulishly festive and autumnal evening out to get you in the spirit for Halloween!
When the sun goes down and the stars come out, the pumpkin patch transforms into a spooktacular adventure, ready for daring pumpkin hunters of all ages.
Pull on your wellies and head into the patch under moonlight to get lost in acres of pumpkins. Take fabulous snaps, enjoy the pumpkin-credible displays, and find the perfect gourd for your doorstep!
Once you’re done in the patch, grab a drink at the bar and get ready for sensational fire dancing to really set the mood alight. The carefully selected independent food traders have a delicious dish for everyone too.
And don’t forget to hop aboard the tractor-trailer for a hauntingly hilarious ride around Over Farm. See the spooky displays in all their lantern-lit glory and enjoy the journey – it’s not exactly the Haunted Hayride, but it’s pretty darn fun!
21. Haunted Blenheim Palace: A Spooktacular Dusk to Darkness Light Trail
When darkness falls, you’re in for a scare this Autumn Half Term at Blenheim Palace. Prepare for a frighteningly fun Halloween with the return of our spooktacular dusk-to-darkness light trail, which gets scarier as the night gets darker. Creep along early with little ones, stalk through the shadows later with bigger kids, and there are some serious scares for adults, too!
As Halloween creeps closer and the days shorten, there’s a chill in the air at Blenheim Palace, where ghosts, ghouls, and witches get ready to deliver a whole host of tricks and treats along a spooktacular trail. With new thrills and chills for 2023, you don’t want to miss out!
As the sky turns dark and night falls, the frightful trail becomes more ghostly, with a whole host of tricks and treats in store. Meander along the eerie trail if you dare, but beware of the faceless horseman emerging from the mist, the howling werewolves, and the grinning pumpkins that guard the vampires’ crypt.
After all the spooky goings-on, there’s a variety of comforting food stalls and yummy treats on offer. Enjoy a fiendishly good hot toddy or devilishly decadent hot chocolate and toast a marshmallow or two. As well as this, little monsters can enjoy the fun fair before or after you’ve walked the trail.
Your spookiest Halloween starts at Blenheim Palace. Join in the Halloween madness, and don’t forget to dress up – you never know, you may even want to do a little scaring yourself!
In addition to these organised events, there are plenty of free ways to celebrate Halloween in the Cotswolds. Visitors can explore the haunted villages and towns of the region, visit local pumpkin patches, or simply carve pumpkins and enjoy a Halloween feast at their Airbnb or holiday cottage. Try to:
- Go for a spooky walk: Many of the villages and towns in the Cotswolds have their own unique Halloween decorations. Take a walk through your local village or town and see what spooky sights you can find.
- Visit a haunted pub: The Cotswolds is home to many haunted pubs. Enjoy a drink or a meal at one of these pubs and see if you can experience any paranormal activity that is happening there.
- Attend a Halloween party: Many Halloween parties are held in the Cotswolds throughout the Halloween season. Check out your local listings to find a party right for you.
- Tell ghost stories: Gather around a campfire or in a cosy pub and tell ghost stories. The Cotswolds is home to many ghost stories, so you’ll find some that will send a chill down your spine.
No matter how you celebrate, Halloween in the Cotswolds will surely be a spooktacular experience.