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Bats, black cats and broomsticks will get your knees knocking and your heart thumping in the wonderfully witchy West Country…

Come to the West Country this half-term to do the monster mash. Bake your bogey buns to treat the little ones, let your artistic side go grisly with a pumpkin and don’t forget to pack those creepy costumes for a haunting holiday. Many attractions are bringing their Halloween events forward to coincide with the school holiday and there’s a whole lot of spine-chilling fun and frightening going on. Here are a few we’re flying off to with knee-trembling trepidation, but wherever you rattle your bones this half-term there will be something spooky afoot to curdle your blood.

Four Piglets in Halloween Pumpkins

© Photograph – Richard Austin

Jollyween, Pennywell

24th to 29th October

With its fluffy animal cuteness, this is a good one for those of us easily spooked into hysteria. With the miniature piglets and all the other adorable Pennywell animals waiting for a cuddle, it’s all treats and no tricks at the much loved family attraction. There are farm rides, a show every half hour and very happy children.

Coleton Fishacre Torchlit Guided Walk

27th October

A fairly tough four mile route starting from Kingswear and following the South West Coast Path around Coleton Fishacre and Froward Point, this is a brilliant event for adults, teenagers and dogs on leads. Carry your own flaming torch and hope for panoramic moonlit views of Torbay, South Devon and Dartmoor. Don’t forget to sign up for the Challenge.

Powderham Castle Festival of Frights

22nd to 31st October

Watch the potion making shows in the Old Riding School, eyeball the birds of prey in the castle courtyard, follow the trail around the grounds and feast on pumpkin soup in the cafe. On the last weekend, watch chillers like Hotel Transylvania and The Shining at the Movie Marathon and on All Hallows’ Eve or the night before you can even wander around the castle when the staff have left and noone’s around… or are they?

Kents Cavern

21st to 31st October

These eerie underground caves come into their own at Halloween, with cave tours, the Witch’s Hat joke trail, Spooky Dig and the Underground Pumpkin Hunt. Follow the storyteller as they unearth local folklore about ghostly experiences in South Devon by dim lighting and candles, but beware… you never know who may appear from the dark.

Kents Cavern

Pumpkinfest, Lifton Farm Shop

21st to 29th October

This is a lovely place to stop off if you’re travelling through Devon to Cornwall, within easy reach of the A30 and serving great home cooked food (with a pumpkin themed menu), as well as an opportunity to fill your basket with delicious fresh produce for your holiday. This Halloween you can pick your own pumpkins, carve them and take a mysterious trailer ride, though watch out for Spookley the Square Pumpkin! On All Hallows’ Eve there’s a firework display and hog roast in aid of Children in Need.

Where to stay in Devon…

Snap up these half-term gems: Ash Park (sleeps 14), Wolston Cottage (sleeps 3) or The Bothy for two.

Roald Dahl’s Halloweden, The Eden Project

21st to 29th October

Pit your wits against villains from Dahl’s books and beware or you may find yourself in Miss Trunchbull’s Chokey, being chased by Boggis, Bunce and Bean or pranked by The Twits. If you manage to escape, head for a spin on the popular ice rink and of course you can’t miss the leafy biomes.

Roald Dahl's Halloweden

Flambards’ Firework Spectacular

25th October

The family theme park is always full of thrills, but this half-term it gets even better with spine-tingling rides and a spooky pumpkin trail in the creepy Victorian Village throughout the day and fireworks lighting up the sky in the evening with an Olly Murs tribute. The Pumpkin Trail is available from the 21st to 27th October.

Keeper of the Castle Keys, Tintagel Castle

23rd to 27th October

Join Florence Nightingale Richards, the eccentric Victorian Keeper of the Castle Keys, on a story-telling journey through the history and legends of mysterious Tintagel Castle. Her tales come to life with colourful characters and some fun audience participation.

Fright Night at Pendennis Castle

26th and 27th October

Another fascinating English Heritage site, but beware the spirit of Henry VIII within his coastal fortress. Take the eerie evening tour for an after-hours journey back into the castle’s creepy past and relive tales of ghostly apparitions and dastardly deeds. Not suitable for the faint hearted!

Fright Night at Pendennis Castle

Where to stay in Cornwall…

Some (not at all creepy) Cornish cottages for half-term fun: 1 Rose Cottages for 6, Venwyn Manor for 5 and Susannas Apartment1 The Brass Bolt Shop and Stones Throw for 4.

Spooky Pumpkin Trail, Family Fright Night and After Dark Dunster

21st to 31st October

The National Trust hilltop castle at Dunster is always atmospheric, but this Halloween it has the added bonus of spooky clues to guide you on a trail round the grounds, with the bonus of a prize at the end. It all gets a bit spookier at dusk when the After Dark trail takes you through the river gardens, or come for the best event of all on 28th or 31st October when a guide will regale you with tales of castle ghosts through the candlelit rooms.

Creepy Dolls at Dunster

Halloween at Wookey Hole

21st October to 5th November

With their claim to be the ‘home of Halloween’, the caves are sure to make your heart miss a beat. You can ride a broomstick, meet the witch in her cobwebby grotto, watch the Halloween circus show and be in with a chance of winning the spooky costume competition. Just make sure you can find your way out…

Halloween Fun with the Exmoor Ponies

26th October

Go along to the Exmoor Pony Centre between 12pm and 3pm to meet the beautiful Exmoor ponies and follow the Halloween trail too. You can groom the ponies, maybe have a ride, make crafts and earn a treat for completing the trail.

Exmoor Pony

Where to stay…

If you’re a crowd, head for a half-term to remember at Porlock Vale House (sleeps 15), or a more peaceful stay at Quiet Corner Cottage.

Lyme Slime Halloween Festival

21st to 29th October

Be very afraid… witches, ghosts and zombies are coming to Lyme and it’s going to get messy. There’s a week of scary events around the town including a whodunnit town trail, beastly baking, creepy crafts and the fiendish slime fun run with four Halloween obstacles and challenges along the seafront for all the family.

Forde Abbey Halloween Half Term

21st to 29th October

There’s a spine-tingling week of Halloween fun in the grounds of the 900 year old Abbey, with a haunted trail, pumpkin rolling and family activities to get your pulse racing. It’s a beautiful time of year to explore the gardens and enjoy something warming in the tea room.

Forde Abbey at Halloween

The Enchanted Illuminations

26th to 28th October

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens are beautiful in the daytime, but illuminated by coloured lights between 4.30pm and 8.30pm during half-term they are truly magical – and a little bit mysterious. The family fright nights bring you the tunnel of terror, the Ghastly Gardener hiding in the garden, spiders and snakes shows where you can handle the fearsome creatures if you dare and free face painting.

Corfe Castle

21st to 29th October

Bring your teddy to the ancient ruins for a bit of comfort, but squeeze him tight or he may be whisked away down the scary zip wire challenge. Dodge the lurking pumpkins and witness the mighty Warwolf II, the castle trebuchet, flinging medieval terror at 11.30am and 2pm.

Corfe Castle at Halloween

… and go batty

For something a little more serene, why not take a bat detector and head out on a clear night for some conversation with our winged friends? Children are thrilled to hear the high frequency clicks and spot a shadow flitting overhead and until the end of October the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project is lending detectors. If you’re staying in Devon they just ask that you share your encounters for their survey helping the Greater Horseshoe Bats to survive.

Head to Medlake Farm for Halloween week, a gorgeous historic Devon longhouse where bats have made their home in the disused farmyard.