If you see a strange orange glow in the dark, it could be a ghost or a member of the TOWIE cast tottering home from Sugar Hut?! Here’s a selection of spooky things to do in Essex this Halloween…
On Sunday 25th October get your zombie on at Southend Pier and take part in the FREE 4th Horror-on-Sea Zombie Walk. Starting at 3pm you can go for a leisurely shuffle, or stumbling jog down the world’s longest pleasure pier. The Zombie Walk will finish at the Park inn Palace Hotel where there will be a free After Party, which will include a kids Halloween disco with free child-friendly mocktail. For undead adults there will also be appropriately scary nibbles. For more information click here.
Steam and Scream
Steam and Scream at Epping and Ongar Railway promises to be the county’s ultimate ghost train. On Friday 30th and Saturday 31st October steel yourself to step into the carriage as the light gives way to darkness. Prepare to face all manner of ghosts, ghouls and creepy goings on as you journey through the countryside. There’ll be face-painting for all the family, a Halloween goodie gag for each child, traditional apple-bobbing and blood-curdling soup from the Witches’ Brew. The stations and train will be decorated in truly gruesome style making this a truly chilling and suitably spooky event! More information here.
Halloween at Hylands House
Over at historic Hylands House in Chelmsford there are two fantastic Halloween events. For youngsters there’s an exciting afternoon and evening of themed entertainment, rides and activities on the Back Lawn, a lantern-lit trail of tricks and treats in the disPleasure Gardens plus an unnervingly immersive tour of the House, culminating in a firework display. By night, adults (aged 16+) will enter the abandoned rooms of Hylands House. But are they empty? In the ultimate game of trick or treat, will there be something unsettling, unpleasant or plain peculiar lurking behind each door as dozens of characters take your hand, attached or not, on a tour of the darkest parts of this building and your soul. For tickets and more information click here.
Running on Friday 23rd, Saturday 24th and Wednesday 28th to Saturday 31st October Cursed is described as: “Essex’s No. 1 Award-winning Halloween experience, set in the eerie grounds of Wat Tyler Country Park, near Basildon. Lasting over an hour, you will walk the around the grounds through terrifying mazes, screaming your way through panic rooms, and encountering some of the best live scare makers in the country. With only adrenaline, and your so called friends by your side, prepare to meet some of the most evil creatures around, as you join the revolt, at the largest pop-up Halloween experience in Essex.” With attractions such as Carnevil, Uncle Tyler’s Workchop, and Field of Screams, will your friends still be at your side by the end…? More info here.
Royal Gunpowder Mills
Halloween takes a hilarious turn at Waltham Abbey’s Royal Gunpowder Mills. On Spooky Island our hero, Professor Nitrate’s evil twin, Dr Gore, begins to cook up a series of dastardly and diabolical experiments in his Mad-Lab. An array of frightfully fantastic activities awaits scientists and heroes of all ages. Try hat and mask making to transform yourself into a witch, monster or other spooky character for the day. Be prepared to get messy with some ooey-gooey monster slime-making, freaky monster skin, and make gruesome discoveries in the feely boxes. Back by Popular demand, the spooky Mill experience will open once more but beware this isn’t for the squeamish or faint hearted! You’ll discover gruesome tales of times gone by in this interactive, eerie experience. Get in the mix with some ghost busting antics and arm yourself with Nerf Guns as you navigate the Tower of Doom in the hunt for monsters and ghouls, or jump aboard one of the Land Train or Military Truck tours to explore the spooky secret island some more. Click here for more info.
Ghost Hunt + Spooky Fun
Bringing history bang up to date near Braintree is Cressing Temple Barns. Built by the Knights Templar in the Middle Ages, these ancient buildings ooze history. This Halloween night join experienced paranormal investigators, the Essex Ghost Hunting Team, and be guided around the barns as you take part in experiments looking for paranormal activity. These include; capturing evidence and voice recordings, dowsing, table tipping and CCTV footage. Refreshments throughout the evening are included but hurry, spaces are limited and you must be over 18. Call 0845 603 7624 to reserve your place.
For younger visitors Spooky Fun is a must! Featuring a monster maze: can you find all the monster signs in the Walled Garden? A ghost hunt: find the ghosts hidden all around Cressing Temple’s barns and grounds, a mystery trail: use your map to solve the mystery by hunting for clues, art and craft: get creative and make some Halloween-themed things to take home with you, a fancy dress competition: show off your spooky outfit and win a prize!, see spooky shapes made from balloons before your eyes and try some yucky, slimy Halloween science with the Science Boffins! Spooky Fun runs from Wednesday 28th to Friday 30th October. Click here for more info.
Nothing sums up Halloween than a pumpkin lantern. So where better to enjoy some pumpkin fun than on a farm?! At Barleylands Farm Park’s PumpkinFest every child gets a free pumpkin, plus there’s pumpkin carving, a pumpkin trail, biscuit decorating, and Halloween Bowling. Make sure to meet the slithery snakes and creepy crawlies in the Reptile House too. More at the Barleylands website.
There’s even more animal magic to enjoy during Shriek Week at Colchester Zoo. From 24th October- 1st November the award-winning attraction is creating a series of spook-tacular events for all ages! Listen to tales from the crypt, solve the Scarecrow’s riddles and complete his trail, mix up your own potions and spells and take a tour of the ‘Hotel of Hell’ in the haunted mansion! If all that wasn’t enough, then join in the bonkers fun of ‘Merlin’s Magical party’. For those of you brave enough to stay after dark Colchester Zoo’s Fright Nights offer hair-raising screams on selected nights during Shriek Week as the zoo stays open until 9.30pm. For more information click here, if you dare, www.colchesterzoo.org
Halloween Pumpkin Party
Layer Marney Tower near Colchester is a magnificent Tudor gatehouse with commanding views across the countryside to the River Blackwater. Built during the reign of Henry VIII this beautiful house is, unsurprisingly, said to be haunted by a number of ghosts. Lord Henry is said to be one of the apparitions seen by visitors, riding his favourite horse and wearing a full suit of armour. A Grey Lady is also said to appear, believed to be a nun. Logs have mysteriously moved in the barn and closed doors have been found open in the main house. Today, Layer Marney is a warm and welcoming place to visit but, in the spirit of Halloween, it is offering a feast of fun activities for your little knight-mares.
The Halloween Pumpkin Party invites children to take part in pumpkin carving, bobbing for apples, witches hat-making, having a go in the stocks and lots, lots more. Hot chocolate and Halloween cupcakes will be served as an afternoon treat. Come along in fancy dress. There’s a prize for the best one! Call 01206 330 784 to book or visit their website for more information.
For even more ideas to enjoy a creepy, spooky and even rather kooky Halloween in Essex visit www.visitessex.com/halloween