Celebrate the spookiest time of the year in the ‘most haunted city in Europe’ with a visit to York this October. York offers tricks, treats and spooky encounters for all with a wide range of new ghoulish experiences, trails and events on offer this year. Here’s our top pick of nineteen of York’s best Halloween experiences to celebrate the spooky season in all its ghoulish glory.
Experience the new ‘Hex the Dungeon’ Halloween show at York Dungeon – 1st October to 31st October
The York Dungeons are offering a truly terrifying experience this October, as the entire (in)famous attraction has been hexed by one of its wicked residents in the dungeon’s new experience. Standing in Clifford’s Tower, the holding area before the first show, all is not as it seems as Isabella Billington, one of York’s most infamous inhabitants – known for violent crimes in the 1600s – claims to have cursed the dungeon tour. Guests will then go on to face the frightful nine live actor shows normally on offer at York Dungeons, but with a twist, as Miss Billington brings her dim and distant past to the present, weaving in her wicked ways with a revolting reveal at the end. Find out more.
Go on a spooky Trick and Treat Walking Tour – 2nd October to 31st October
For families with younger children York Dungeon is also offering Trick and Treat Walking Tours this Halloween. The new tour will take in some of York’s most iconic sites, delving into all the frightful history of the city with the Dungeon’s dynamic duo Jester and Smedley. Visitors will be sure to laugh, and scream, as they experience surprises both petrifying and pleasant. Find out more.
Enter the Hallowscream scare houses at York Maze:
Hallowscream is back for 2021! Named UK’s best Scream Park in 2018, it runs selected night between 8th and 31st October. Including five scare houses inhabited by over one hundred monsters, live stage shows, street theatre, side shows, food court and bar, Hallowscream opens 6.30pm each evening with last entry at 9pm. For families with children aged 10-15 years Hallowtween also offers the opportunity to go inside four of the Hallowscream scare houses but without the monsters that inhabit them at night. Running daily from 26th – 31st October, Hallowtween opens 12.30pm with last entry at 3pm, with street theatre Halloween characters, death defying stage shows and more. Find out more.
Hunt for ghosts during York Ghost Week with York Ghost Merchants – 24th -31st October
Each night 100 numbered Little Ghosts will be lurking on window ledges and hiding in crevices along the route marked on the York Ghost Merchants Ghost Week map. The Ghosts will appear each evening as darkness falls between 6pm and 8pm. A Royal Court Ghost Parade will also take place during the week – 10 specially created, hand painted larger Ghosts are to be found in windows right across the city. See if you can locate them all and discover snickleways of York in the process. After the spooky celebrations, each of the 10 Ghosts will be auctioned for charity on Ebay. Find out more.
Pumpkin carving in the medieval Bedern Hall – 28th October 2021
A family pumpkin carving workshop will take place in the suitably spooky surrounds of the medieval Bedern Hall. Specially lit for the event, the hall is an atmospheric space for a workshop led by Kathrine Armstrong Bisson of Fleuradamo. Soup and hot dogs for all, mulled cider, or local apple juice for the kids are included. Tickets £15 adult +1 child, £6 extra child. Find out more.
Trick or Treat Chocolate Bar Making at York Cocoa Works – 23rd to 31st October
Design and create your own Trick or Treat chocolate bar with a hands-on chocolate making workshop. Throughout October half term (23rd – 31st October) York Cocoa Works will be running their successful chocolate bar making workshops…with a spooky twist! Join in the Academy at the York Cocoa Works to design and make your very own 200g Halloween chocolate bar. Find out more.
Discover Halloween traditions, the spooky supernatural and true stories of Yorkshire witchcraft at York Castle Museum:
This half term, York Castle Museum has two exciting Halloween experiences on offer. Their family tour will lead you through the history of Halloween, looking at past beliefs about witches and evil spirits, as well as the origins of Halloween party games and traditions. For adults only, you can also step back in time with the York Castle Prison Gaoler after the lights go out… Hear foreboding stories from everyday life in the prison, learn about the gruesome punishments inflicted, the harrowing executions for those found guilty and the tales of the paranormal experienced by staff in recent years. Find out more.
Enjoy a spooky performance as part of York Theatre Royal’s ‘Haunted Season’:
As nights start to draw in, York Theatre Royal will be filling their stage with spirits and shadows in The Haunted Season. Including productions of The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Emma Rice’s Wuthering Heights – a York Theatre Royal co-production with the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic. Find out more.
Spooktacular Adventure with Web’oween at Web Adventure Park
Experience a family day out at the Web Adventure Park with some Halloween fun thrown in. Including a giant Spooktacular pumpkin patch for little ones to enjoy and Halloween themed entertainment from the Amazing Dazzling Darren, with three magic shows and a family game show. A full day of fun whatever the weather, your day will include access to the outside adventure play, animal area and fun roaming Halloween characters. Find out more.
Pumpkin Festival at Piglets Adventure Farm – Every weekend in October and every day 23rd to 31st October
Get ready for stacks of family fun at the Piglets Adventure Farm Pumpkin Festival. Pick a free perfect pumpkin from their homegrown Pumpkin Patch, find your way through the Mysterious Maize or enjoy spooky fun at the Magic Hatter show. Tickets are limited and must be booked online – find out more.
Experience the Witching Hour at Mother Shipton’s – 23rd to 31st October
Are you ready to be bewitched at Mother Shipton’s this Halloween? You’re in for a treat! 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. Find out more.
Halloween at Castle Howard – 23rd to 31st October
Halloween mischief returns to Castle Howard this October, with a host of fun to enjoy! Join a magical adventure through Ray Woods to find Magical Beasts, led by one of their Chief Skelves with performances at 10:30, 12:00 and 13:30 each day. You can also try your hand at Broomstick Making, using materials collected in their very own enchanted woods by their Forestry team. This enchanting craft-based Skelf led activity will also include learning how to fly your broomstick! Sessions will take place daily at 11:00, 12:30 and 14:00. Tickets must be booked in advance. All Halloween activities can be enjoyed free with a Castle Howard Gardens admission ticket or Friends of Castle Howard Card. Find out more.
Light Spectacular at North Yorkshire Moors Railway – 23rd to 31st October
Marvel at the heritage carriages, decorated with thousands of lights, before departing from Pickering Station for an awe-inspiring journey. Let voiceover man and DJ-Mix of music 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. This hour-long round trip, with on-board narration and music, departs from Pickering Station for Levisham Station every evening at 6pm and 7.45pm from 23 to 31 October. Find out more.
Experience Halloween at York’s Chocolate Story
From hands-on fun learning how to make gory chocolate treats in a Halloween Family Masterclass to a special upgraded tour with some added spooky extras, York’s Chocolate Story has a range of spooky activities this Halloween. You can also join a Trick or Treat Trek where you will walk the streets of York as a spooky host uncovers terrifying tales within the grizzly walls. Find out more.
Go on a magical journey with A Very Magical Adventure this Halloween – 24th to 31st October
Calling all young witches and wizards…York’s School of Magic needs you! Dark forces threaten our mystical, immersive world this Halloween, and it’s up to you to save the day! Guided by their magical professor, you’ll be taken on a journey through the winding streets of York. Can you help to find Eric and bring him back to York’s School of Magic to help send him back in time? On your journey you will encounter ghostly characters from York’s very own history; learn spells, unravel historical secrets, and hunt for clues to lead you to the secret School of Magic.
This Halloween, during your experience you can also take a trip to the exclusive pop-up magical themed café ‘Madame Mandragora’s Scrumdiddlyicious Cauldron Of Treats’. Here, you can feast on delightful handmade Halloween cake, spooky sweet treats and refreshments including, Magical Fizzing Potions, Butterscotch Beer and Gruesomely Glorious Gateaux. Tickets start from £8.95 – find out more.
Go on the ‘Trail of the Brigante Tombs’ – 20th October to 2nd November
Join this self-guided adventure hunt through the snickelways and secret passages of York for a collection of thirteen miniature tombs which await discovery in the windows of York’s city centre businesses. Beginning at the Visit York Information Centre with a leaflet in hand – enthusiastic taphophiles are invited to discover the location of the Brigante Tombs, take a photograph and share on social media using #VisitYork and #TombstoneTrail. Every Brigante Tomb will feature a unique QR code which will direct the finder to a dedicated page of ghostly tales and murderous mayhem on The Brigante Chronicles website. The Brigante Tombs are the work of the artist and storyteller Lady Brigante who presents Death in a Chocolate Box – a selection of walking tours through the streets of York inspired by true crime stories from the Victorian era.
Pick your own pumpkins at The Balloon Tree – every day until 31st October
Looking for a fun and exciting way to choose the perfect pumpkin for the Halloween season? Why not visit The Balloon Tree’s Pick Your Own Pumpkin field. Their homegrown pumpkins are just waiting for you to pick them and take them home to carve, cook and decorate. With their usual variety of shaped and sized pumpkins, this year this a ghoulish twist available – Polar Bear Pumpkins! Find out more.
Take part in ‘Halloweek’ with Paranormal Research York – 23rd to 31st October
In the run up to Halloween Paranormal Research York will be hosting events at some of the oldest and scariest places across the city – including Bedern Hall, Jacob’s Well and Fairfield Manor Hotel York (The Old Sanatorium.) Join the PRY team for a very special ghost hunt to reach out to the spirits in these buildings and investigate the paranormal. Starting at 9PM each events costs £30pp. Find out more.
Experience Illuminated Abbey at Whitby Abbey – 23rd-31st October
See Bram Stoker’s inspiration in a new light as Whitby Abbey is bathed in dramatic illuminations once again. Have your camera at the ready as you explore the gothic splendour of the ruins lit up with all the colours of the rainbow. Experience an unforgettable evening of Victorian Gothic entertainment beneath the soaring Illuminated remains of Whitby Abbey. Find out more. In addition to these spooky goings-on, York also has a diverse selection of ghost walks and tours to suit all ages which run daily. Find out more here.