It may feel like they only just started back at school but here comes the half-term holiday again.
Fortunately there’s lots in York to keep all ages happy. So here are a few ideas in the city and close by.
York city centre
Wed Oct 26-Sat Oct 29 @ 6pm-10pm
Mostly free; Minster installation – adults £8, children £3.50
See many of York’s buildings in a new light as Illuminating York brightens up the dark evenings.
While there is a small fee for entry into the York Minster and certain fringe events such as the NoHL Pockets of Lights, everything else is free. Look out for installations at York St John University, Royal York Hotel, Clifford’s Tower and the National Railway Museum.
York Castle Museum
Enter York Castle Museum if you dare as the team look at past and present superstitions with spooky stories and terrifying tales.
Learn why it’s bad to break a mirror, spill salt but why it is lucky to touch wood, and, if that isn’t tempting enough then you can also have a go at making your own witch ball to catch evil spirits.
Mon Oct 17=-Mon Oct 31
Specially for Halloween, the dungeon brings us the Wicked Women of York.
Come face-to-face with York’s Wicked Woman, the infamous witch Isabella Billington. She may seem innocent, but there’s more to her than meets the eye…
Coffee Yard, York
Sun Oct 30 @ 5pm-7.30pm
There’s something strange going on this Halloween at Barley Hall and we need intrepid visitors to help us solve some ghostly mysteries!
Sightings of former residents who lived and worked at the Hall over 500 years ago have been seen skulking round the rooms and passageways… Suitable for 5 to 12 year olds.
York Maze, Elvington
Various dates till Oct 31
Hallowscream is ready to scare the pants off everyone, with five separate haunted attractions. Afterwards visit the zombie-themed exit bar, where you can get a drink after the event to calm your nerves…
Kaboom at Castle Howard
Castle Howard, York YO60 7DA
Sat Oct 29 from 4.30pm
Adults £15, children £10, family ticket £35, under-4s free
A “celebration of the season combining the best of Halloween and Bonfire Night”, Kaboom has been named as one of the top five firework displays in England. This year it has a sci-fi theme, with lasers and pyrotechnics choreographed to the Star Wars music and other stirring theme tunes.
York Maze at Halloween
Till Sun Oct 30
York Maze is also putting on Halloween by day during October Half Term. Among the many events and family friendly activities are the Haunted Maze Treasure Hunt where every child gets a free pumpkin.
Look out for the pumpkin carving competition taking place on the Sunday October 23 as well as the £2,000 cash prize to the winner of the Giant Pumpkin Competition.
York’s Chocolate Story
Sat Oct 22-Sun Oct 30; tours at 1pm, 3pm and 5pm
£5.99 per person or £19.99 for a family of four
Courageous children can test their nerve as they are led on an eerie trick-or-treat tour of the city centre by the unearthly ‘Count Fectionery’.
Full of tasty treats, ghoulish games and spooky stories as well as the history of such concoctions as ‘Terry’s All Ghould, ‘Kit Bats’ and ‘Rowntree’s Fright Pastilles’. Little ones and their grown-ups are encouraged to come in Halloween fancy dress. There will be a competition for the best dressed throughout the week, with choccy hampers as prizes.
Web Adventure Park
Wigginton Road, York
Sat Oct 22-Mon Oct 31
If you are brave enough the park is opening a haunted course along its wired high ropes, and even allowing dark climbs of terror… The course will be run by zombie instructors who may have a few tricks up their shredded sleeves.
Sat Oct 22-Sun Oct 30, excluding Monday @ 10.30am-5pm
Beningbrough’s halloween fun encompasses art, stories and walks. Join Ozzy the Owl on his search for Boris the Bat in a brand new bat themed family trail around the gardens.
On Saturday October 29, dress in your creepiest outfit and join in with the costume parade, showing off how scary you can be. Meet Eden from Stories Alive, a professional storyteller, who’ll be reciting some ghoulish tales…
Oaken Grove Community Centre, Haxby
Sat Oct 29 @ 2pm-4.30pm
They’ll be making ghosts and monsters, swatting spooks and telling creepy stories around the old pit lamp. Dress to distress, all the staff will be out to scare…
Castle Howard, York YO60 7DA
Sat Oct 22-Sun Oct 30
Admission is £9-£17.50
Brush up on your broom making skills, stir up trouble in our potion lessons and practise your scaring with trick or treat training at Castle Howard. Or tiptoe through the trees on its creepy critter trail – and visit in your best trick or treat costume on October 29 & 30 for a Halloween treat.
Nunnington, north of York
Are you brave enough to follow the haunted trail and discover what really happened one night at Nunnington Hall? It’s £1 per trail. The hall also has ‘ghoulish ghost tours’ on the afternoons of October 29 and 30, as well as an autumn festival for those keener on food and gardening than ghosts.
St Saviourgate, York
Sat Oct 29 @ 10am-11am
£3.50 per child
DIG hosts a spooky Halloween session for 2 to 5 year olds. There will be creepy crafts, eerie activities and prizes for the scariest costumes…
Stories and art
York Art Gallery
What’s hiding in the shadows? At the Spooky Shadows and Layers of Light workshops, Use transparent materials to make shadow puppets and window pictures.
Till Nov 12
Standard admission prices apply. Admission is free for York residents with a valid York Card
Discover new stories and re-live beloved tales in the Minster’s storytelling sessions which take place in St Nicholas’ Chapel from 10.30am on Saturdays.
Then, at 11.30am – How many blue whales can fit inside the Minster? Why might the Archbishop of York wear a wet suit on Easter Saturday? The answers to these questions and many more will be revealed on these family friendly 45-minute tours of the Minster.
Meet Andy Seed
Waterstones, Coney Street
Sat Oct 22 @ 1pm
Meet Blue Peter Book Award winner Andy Seed as he signs copies of his Anti-Boredom Christmas Book.
Horrible Halloween Crafts
Dringhouses Library, Tadcaster Road
Wed Oct 26
Come and have spooky fun at York Explore’s Halloween craft session. There will be spiders, ghosts and maybe even a witch or two.
A similar session takes place at Clifton Library on Friday, October 28.
Little Diggers Big Draw
St Saviourgate, York
Sat Oct 22 @ 10am
£3.50 per child
Dig celebrates the National Big Draw so join them as they use their fingers to paint a prehistoric giant mural.
Bloodaxe Reading Challenge Launch
Sat Oct 22 @ 10.30am-12.30pm
Jorvik Viking Centre and Explore York Libraries challenge you to read four books on heroes and heroines between Saturday, October 22 2016 and Saturday, January 28 2017. There’s a sticker for each book you read and a certificate when you have read all four books. The challenge will launch with a Viking story teller and Viking activities at Acomb Explore.
Big City Read Family Afternoon
York Explore, Library Square
Mon Oct 24 @ 1pm-4pm
Drop in to craft poppies, learn about medals and design one of your own, and find out about the archive’s collection of Chocolate Letters.
At 2pm join author Hilary Robinson for Stories of the First World War at 2pm. This event is free but places are limited so booking is essential. Suitable for ages 6+.
Meet Christina Gabbitas
Waterstones, Coney Street
Thu Oct 27 @ 11am-3pm
Children’s author Christina Gabbitas will be in store signing copies of her latest book, Triangular Trev and the Shape Idols. Triangular Trev meets up with Isosceles Irene, Perpendicular Peri, Equilateral Eric and more, who all play musical instruments, form a band and enter their song into a competition.
Big City Read Family Day
Thu Oct 27 @ 9am-4pm
Make a poppy, learn Morse Code, build a World War I bunker using Minecraft, or make your own trenches out of Lego.
The Bloody Battles of 1066 will come to life at the Yorkshire Museum. To mark the 950th anniversary of the battles near York that led up to the Battle of Hastings, daily shows and activities are to take place.
National Railway Museum
Leeman Road, York
Sat Oct 22-Sun Oct 30
During half term the National Railway Museum is putting on a hi tech, hands on family experience called Future Engineers.
Explore the challenge zones, collect fascinating facts and discover your potential to be a part of the next generation’s engineers.
Yorkshire Museum of Farming
Murton, York, YO19 5UF
Mon Oct 24-Fri Oct 28
The museum is running a series of hands-on historic activities on one of its living history sites on weekdays through the holidays. You can also see the York Printmakers exhibition Harvest until October 30.
Arthur Walker’s Great War
Actor Chris Cade will play real Yorkshire veteran Arthur Walker in this interactive tale of Arthur’s journey. Join him as Arthur is recruited, fights in the trenches and is taken prisoner.
Minster Yard, York
Sat Oct 22-Sun Dec 18
Take a seat and enjoy a new short film created by the Yorkshire Film Archive showing footage of York’s historic past.
The film is a brand new addition to the popular Demolition and Restoration display at Treasurer’s House. Screened in a little cinema created on the first floor, the film shows the Lord Mayor of York from 1959 taking two children to several key places in York.
Coffee Yard, York
Wed Oct 26 @ noon-4pm
Barley Hall’s volunteer team take you back in time, showcasing the life of servants from the late-medieval period.
With opportunities to meet the characters and see demonstrations this is a rare glimpse of social history of the Middle Ages brought to life in a beautiful setting.
WWI Themed Tea Party
Acomb Explore, Front Street
Mon Oct 24 @ 10.30am-11.30am
Lots of games and activities for 5-11 year olds. Learn about World War I, ‘pack up your troubles’ and join in war songs, take part in games and craft activities at a Great British Tea Party.
Half term fun at Goddards
Tadcaster Road, York
Wed Oct 26-Sun Oct 30
Curl up by the fireside and read the Terry Times or play games indoors and out and enjoy trails and fun for the family.
Films and shows
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, York YO19 4TA
Fri Oct 21-Sun Oct 30
£25 per vehicle
Launched at Monks Cross, the drive-in movie experience moves to York Designer Outlet this holiday. Family-friendly films on offer include Toy Story, Shrek, Frozen and Alice Through The Looking Glass.
Moby Dick at York Guildhall
Wed Oct 19-Thu Nov 3
Herman Melville’s maritime masterpiece comes to life in an new production by Theatre Mill. Your voyage begins in a local fishing inn, an in-the-round interactive theatre set within the Guildhall where a group of old fisherman meet. Featuring spectacular live music and songs of the sea this promises to be “a bold, exhilarating sea-faring adventure like no other”.
Sat Oct 22 @ 7.30pm
Get ready for large gentlemen in skimpy Lycra grappling with one another for our entertainment. Boo the bad guys and cheer the victors, and let’s have a good clean fight. Well, cleanish…
Little Screen at Vue
Vue York, Clifton Moor
Sat Oct 22-Sun Oct 23 @ 10.30am
Little Screen is a brand new interactive cinema experience for families and young children at Vue York. Featuring two showings across one weekend each month, the first show will feature Hey Duggee, Masha and the Bear, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom and Paw Patrol.
For the duration of each 70-minute programme, children will be kept on their toes with the host – Marty (Darren Hart) – encouraging audience participation inspired by the content.
Underneath A Magical Moon
York Theatre Royal
Till Sat Oct 22
A reimagining of Peter Pan as told by Wendy Darling, aimed at children aged three and above. Through her open window Wendy Darling gazes out at the night sky dreaming of blue lagoons, magical moons and the stories that she can tell. But tonight, like no other, has magic in the air…
The Moors National Park Centre
Lodge Lane, Danby, Whitby
Lots of activities on offer including Help a Hedgehog and Fabulous Fungus (both 25 October), fangtastic Halloween Crafts (26 October) or enjoy a messy morning of mud-pie making in the woodland kitchen (28 October).
Off the A661 Wetherby Road
Wed Oct 19-Mon Oct 31
Join Stockeld Park for their Halloween Adventure. Journey by Nordic Ski on the woodland trail, take a magical trip around the illuminated Enchanted Forest, travel through the Maze or enjoy their real Ice Rink.
North Stainley, Ripon
Oct 22-Oct 30
Lightwater Valley’s Halloween spooktacular adds a cloak of supernatural delight to the theme park over half term. All manner of creepy ghouls and beasties lurk within the valley, so tread scarefully as we celebrate shocktober in style.
Meanwhile the Lightwater fireworks take place on October 22 and 23.
Byland, Coxwold YO61 4BD
Sat Oct 22-Tues Oct 25 @ 11am-4pm
Medieval falconers are at Byland Abbey for the first few days of the holiday. Witness spectacular aerial displays of birds of prey in flight and discover how these birds were used by the nobles of the medieval period for sport and for the table.