‘Tis the season to pick pumpkins, seek out spooky events and huddle around the bonfire (not too close, mind). October is a brilliant time to visit York with kids, with a wide variety of activities going on, from pumpkin festivals to pumpkin picking and even the odd event NOT involving large orange root vegetables! Here’s our pick of the best things coming up in and around York this October half term – do keep an eye on this guide as we’re updating it all the time. And make sure you subscribe to our newsletter, too, so you never miss a thing.
Ghosts in York Museum Gardens (FREE!)
Look out! There are ghosts in the gardens! Head to York Museum Gardens this half term and see if you can spot ghostly apparitions lurking in the bushes and trees. It’s a great, free thing to do, brought to us by The York Bid, and a good way to escape the crowds too.
Runs until 7th November 2021 – York Museum Gardens, Museum St, York YO1 7FR
Gunpowder, treason and plot at The Bar Convent
This October half term, The Bar Convent needs your help to track down a gunpowder plotter! Take their exciting self-led trail through the exhibition from Monday 25th October to Saturday 6th November 2021, 10 am to 5 pm (closed Sundays). A family ticket for two adults and two children is just £10 and the trail is included.
Light Spectacular on the North York Moors Railway
Climb aboard the North York Moors Railway at Pickering Station for an awe-inspiring journey. Let Voice Over Man, from the X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, entertain you on your journey alongside a mix of music that will get you in the mood for a party the whole family will enjoy. Each passenger will be given their own interactive LED wristband which is synchronised to the music and passengers become part of the show.
23rd to 31st October 2021 – Visit the North York Moors Railway website for more details
Trick or Treat Chocolate Bar Making at York Cocoa Works
Design and create your own Trick or Treat chocolate bar at this hands-on chocolate making workshop at York Cocoa Works.
Throughout October half term (23rd-31st October 2021, excluding Tuesday) they will be running their successful chocolate bar making workshops…with a spooky twist! Join the Academy at the York Cocoa Works to design and make your very own 200g Halloween chocolate bar.
The spookiest bus tour in York with Dorian Deathly and CitySightseeing
Join Dorian Deathly on a CitySightseeing bus for the spookiest tour in York this Halloween. Hop on board from 28th to 31st October every day at 4pm to learn about the ghostly history of this historic city.
Potions Experience at The Potions Cauldron
Visit this tiny brand new attraction in the chamber at The Potions Cauldron for a magical 30-minute experience with interactive elements and your very own potion to tuck into.
Halloween Extravaganza at Agility
Halloween nights are back at Agility, York’s only fitness centre with a ninja warrior obstacle course. There’ll be fun and games, music, dancing skeletons and a cauldron lucky dip. Fancy dress encouraged!
Move it! at National Railway Museum
Inspire the family this October half term at National Railway Museum, with hands-on activities located among engineering giants that changed the world. Think like an engineer and explore how the railways are designed to get things moving! Get inventive with LEGO design and building activities and explore the challenges faced by engineers past, present and future. Children with energy to burn will enjoy the under-5s play area and outdoor play area. The museum is open 10 am to 5 pm every day in half term.
Pumpkin picking at The Balloon Tree
Move over strawberries, it’s the pumpkins’ turn! The Balloon Tree has a huge selection of pumpkins that you can pick straight from the field. Not in the mood to pick your own? Let them do the work and buy one from the well-stocked farm shop instead! Why not combine it with a trip to the cafe and a play in the play area?
Web’oween at The Web Adventure Park
Enjoy good wholesome Halloween fun and a good family day out at The Web Adventure Park in York. There’s a giant pumpkin patch (£3 if you’d like to pick one), Halloween entertainment, unlimited rides and lots of indoor fun too, so a good option for all weathers.
23rd to 31st October 2021 – Visit The Web Adventure Park website
York Dungeon Trick or Treat Walking Tour
Discover the spooky side of York as two York Dungeon residents, the sarcastic Black Jester and smelly peasant Smedley, are released onto the streets of the city to lead you on a journey to discover York’s haunted history and the ghostly secrets of the city.
9th to 31st October 2021 – Visit the York Dungeon website to pre-book
Beetle Bank Farm Spooktacular
There’s spooky fun to be had at Beetle Bank Farm this October half term, with spooky face painting, petrifying pumpkin carving, Area 51 Scare Room, icky sticky arts and crafts and more. Keep an eye out for alien life forms!
Every day from 23rd to 31st October 2021 – Small fee for each activity – Visit the Beetle Bank Farm website for more info
Piglets Pumpkin Festival 2021
Head down to the farm for the ever-popular pumpkin festival where you can pick your own pumpkin from the patch (one per child with every full paying adult) which you can carve on site. There’ll also be a mysterious maze to explore and The Magic Hatter will be performing some spooktacular fun. Whizz down the new piggy plunge zip wire and meet the animals while you’re there too.
Pre-booking required. Every weekend in October and every day from 23rd to 31st October 2021 – Visit the Piglets website
Pumpkin carving at Bedern Hall
Enjoy a family pumpkin carving workshop in the suitably spooky surrounds of Bedern Hall in York this October half term. Specially lit for the event, the hall is an atmospheric space for the workshop led by Kathrine Armstrong Bisson of Fleuradamo. There’ll be soup and hot dogs and parkin for all, mulled cider for grown-ups and local apple juice for the kids (included in the price). As dusks gathers, light your lantern and head out through the candlelit courtyard.
Bedern Hall, York – Thursday October 28th 2021, 3pm to 6pm – £15 1 adult +1 child, £6 extra child, £8 extra adult – Visit the Bedern Hall website for info
The Little York Ghost Hunt
Enjoy a family pumpkin carving workshop in the Little York Ghost Hunt is back for 2021! Once again, 100 numbered little ghosts from York Ghost Merchants will be hidden on ledges and in crevices along certain streets in York city centre between 6pm and 8pm from Monday 25th to Thursday 28th October 2021. If you’re lucky enough to find one, you can take it home.
Pumpkin Patch at Yorkshire Lavender
If you’re looking for a pretty place to pick a pumpkin around York this autumn, why not head to Yorkshire Lavender? As well as the pumpkin patch where you can pick your own small pumpkin, there’s a children’s play area, craft table, face painting and access to the gardens. Parking is free and there’ll be food and drink available to buy on site.
Indie York Magical Trail
After the success of last year’s trail, the Indie York Magical Trail is back for 2021! Pick up a trail map and see how many clues you can solve while exploring York’s many independent businesses at the same time.
Runs across York throughout October half term 2021 – Keep an eye on the Indie York Facebook page for details
Halloween lantern walk and storytelling at Northwood Trail
Northwood Trail is hosting guided lantern walks with strange tales through the twilight fairy woods at dusk. Bring a torch or lantern, mbrace the change of seasons and soak up the atmosphere on this lovely autumnal walk with a difference.
23rd to 31st October 2021 – Northwood Trail, York YO41 1AP – Visit the Northwood Trail website
Halloween at Castle Howard
Help Castle Howard’s mythical Skelves this Halloween and protect Ray Wood from the magical beasts threatening them with dragon fire, pixie damage and rampaging war horses. They’ll have several interactive performances daily around the adventure playground, as well as self-guided trails and other activities like broomstick making and PYO pumpkins.
23rd to 31st October 2021 – Visit the Castle Howard website for more information and to book
York’s Chocolate Story Trick or Treat Trek
Embark on York’s Chocolate Story’s Trick or Treat Trek to discover the spooky streets of York, uncover terrifying tales but, mercifully, enjoy a treat or two too. Dressing up is positively encouraged.
Selected dates from 23rd to 31st October 2021 – Visit the York’s Chocolate Story website
The Witching Hour at Mother Shipton’s
It’s the Witching Hour, and deep in the spooky forest where a world-famous Prophetess was said to have been born during a terrifying thunderstorm, the spirits are flying high. You may hear the cackle of old souls wandering the ancient woodland or feel a shiver down your spine as you step into the Haunted Halloween Village. Suitable for all ages, watch out for witches, ghosts, and creepy skeletons around every corner! There’s frightful fun to be had with photo opportunities and fancy dress competitions.
24th to 31st October 2021 – Visit mothershiptons.co.uk
Autumn carnival at Harlow Carr
This beautiful RHS garden just outside Harrogate is a lovely place to see the seasons change. Head along at October half term to enjoy colourful activities with an autumn carnival theme, from learning about the science of autumn to going on an adventure with the Garden Detectives to family-friendly yoga and mindfulness sessions. 23rd to 31st October 2021 – rhs.org.uk
Halloween Wizard School Adventure
Join A Very Magical Adventure at York’s School of Magic. Dark forces are at work and you’re needed to save the day! Journey around York’s winding streets, meet the magical professor, encounter ghostly characters, learn spells and hunt magical creatures. Dressing up encouraged! Run by professional actors, it’s bound to be spell-binding.
24th to 31st October 2021 – Visit averymagicaladventure.co.uk
Lotherton Skeleton Trail
The popular spooky skeleton trail returns to Lotherton for 2021. Follow the spooky skeletons trail around the estate and into the haunted house! Dress up in your best Halloween costume and prepare to be scared as you explore the woods and seek out all of the skeletons who have made Lotherton their home. A trail will be available to pick up when you visit, along with lots of autumnal and Halloween-inspired crafts.
23rd to 31st October 2021 – Visit the Lotherton website for more details and to pre-book
Bolton Abbey Pumpkin Trail
The Bolton Abbey Pumpkin Trail is returning for 2021! Keep an eye out for more details, coming soon.
23rd to 31st October 2021 – Visit the Bolton Abbey website for more info
Go for an autumnal family walk
It’s a beautiful time of year for a family walk around York. Read our guide for the pick of the best, from a walk around York’s city walls to the Little Vikings I Spy Trail and woodland walks.
Family Halloween Market
Enjoy a day of shopping & supporting small, eating tasty food and having some Halloween fun at the stunning White Sykes Fields at Sand Hutton, York. This family-friendly event is designed to connect families with local brands and services, whilst not compromising on style & fun.
11 am – 4 pm, Sunday 31st October – White Syke Fields, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LN – Follow Mama Meet and Market on Instagram