Halloween is just around the corner, and here are some great family events taking place across Essex.

From films to spooky mazes, pumpkin hunts to sorcery schools, there is something for everyone.

Take a look and get ready

Spectrum Screen: Stock Street Barn, Various Essex locations

There are Halloween-inspired films for both adults and children being shown throughout October.

For the younger monsters, Hotel Transylvania is being shown on October 12 from 3.30pm at Stock Street Barn, Coggeshall. There is also Monsters Inc at the venue on October 19, Paranorman on October 20 and Beauty and the Beast sing-a-long on October 21, all from 3.30pm

For the over 15s, there is the Witches of Westwick being shown on Thursday, October 12, from 7.30pm at Stock Street Barn, Coggeshall. The Conjuring is being shown at Hylands House, Writtle, on October 25 and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on October 27 – complete with canapes, tarot reading and close-up magic.

Also being shown at Stock Street Barn, Coggeshall at Stock Street Barn, Coggeshall, from 7.30pm is Death Becomes Her on October 19, The Evil Dead on October 20, and An American Werewolf in London, on October 21.

Click here for tickets


Scaresville, Kentwell Hall, Long Melford

Although not technically in Essex, Kentwell Hall is only just across the border in Suffolk. 

You'll enjoy an unbroken trip lasting about an hour of pure adrenaline-heightened tension as you journey through dark rooms, across open ground or water, through forest and garden. It is not suitable for children under 14 and those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

It takes most days between Wednesday October 4 and November 4.

You can buy tickets here

Doomsday: Fear the Past at Castle Park, Colchester

There are three spooky interactive attractions in the grounds of the castle. 

Tempvm Clavdii depicts the burning of the Temple of Claudius in AD61 and contains smoke and fire effects, strobe lighting and has areas of uneven flooring, steps and restricted-height sections requiring guests to crawl or duck.

The Witchfinder General Hopkins takes us back to the time of witches in the 17th century. It contains smoke effects, strobe lighting, graphic scenes and uneven surfaces. 

All the King's Men explores the twisted links between Colchester, fairytales and the Victorian obsession with doll-houses. This attraction contains smoke, stroboscopic lighting, steps and crawl-spaces.

There is also the added attraction The Verdict, which is a world first and has extra restrictions.

The event takes place on October 13 to 15 and 20 to 31.

It is unsuitable for children under 12.

You can buy tickets here

Halloween-themed open day at Easton Lodge Gardens of Easton Lodge, near Great Dunmow​

Enjoy spooky activities for the children at these popular gardens. There will be a number of Halloween-themed events to keep them entertained. There will also be guided tours of the spectacular gardens. Hot food and cakes are available.

Dogs are welcome.

The open day will take place on Sunday October 15.

You can find out more here

The Cursed, Wat Tyler Country Park, Basildon


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 fright night experience in Essex.

There are a series of mazes to conquer in the park which are designed to disturb, distort and terrify.

It is open for 9 nights between Friday October 20 and Tuesday October 31.

For tickets visit the site

Halloweenies: Kentwell’s School of Sorcery

This Halloween, Kentwell’s School of Sorcery and Magic will again be accepting new students. Bring your children for a morning, or afternoon, of fun filled magical learning and help us solve the Quest of the Firestones as you meet various interesting characters who will set you Halloween-inspired challenges.

Activities include wand making, broomstick course, meeting owls and other birds of prey and making potions.

Sessions take place from October 21 to October 29.

For tickets click here

Half Term H’owl’oween at Tropical Wings, Wickford Road, South Woodham Ferrers

As well as admiring the animals, you can also enjoy Halloween crafts, big bugs and beasties, ghoulish games, pumpkin carving, mystery boxes and more at the zoo.

Sessions take place between Saturday October 21 and Sunday October 29.

Click here for tickets

Dr Gore’s Spooky Mad Lab, Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

In a week full of ghoulish and ghastly activities, Dr Gore and team have some great creations up their sleeves which they want you to try. Discover all things green and gooey at the Slime Station, find your inner wizard and help make colourful potions for secret purpose.

There’s opportunity to design and make in the “Spooky Spinks” where you can make your very own miniature broomstick and design a witches hat - plus get in the Halloween mood in our dress up area and take a selfie at our Spooky Selfie Station.

Sessions take place between Saturday October 21 and Sunday October 29.

Click here for more


Spooky Halloween Festival, Old MacDonald’s Farm, Weald Road, Brentwood

Old Macdonald's farm has spooky appearances, ghost train, spooky fun house, creep crawly petting, pumpkin carving, storytelling, arts and crafts and more.

Sessions take place between Saturday October 21 and Sunday October 29.

You can find out more here

Wizards and Witches at Marsh Farm, Marsh Farm Country Park

Your little monsters can be kept entertained all day at the park, with pumpkin carving, a witches’ maize maze, a wizard show and helping Winifred the mischievous witch find the missing ingredients for her potion.

Sessions take place between Saturday October 21 and Tuesday October 31.

Read more here

Pumpkin Trail and Catapulting Witches at Mountfitchet Castle, Mountfitchet Castle, near Bishops Stortford

Launch witches and ghosts from the famous medieval catapult – see how far you can fire them. There will also be a pumpkin trail and much more.

You can also tour around the 900-year-old castle and grounds.

Sessions take place between Saturday October 21 and Tuesday October 31.

Click here for more information

Shriek Week at Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo is also getting into the Halloween spirit, with themed displays, attractions and activities taking place every day.

They are also holding Fright Nights on some evenings. With fantastic lighting effects around the zoo and special after dark feeds these selected evenings will give you a completely different experience at the zoo.

Visit the website for more information

Pumpkinfest, Barleylands, Barleylands Road

Pumpkinfest is back! There will be lots of fiendish fun to enjoy including brand new laser ghostbusting which the whole family can enjoy, spooky pumpkin biscuit decorating and a chance to step inside the giant pumpkin globe.

Sessions take place between October 23 and October 27.

Visit Barleylands website for more

Gruesome Goings On, Audley End House and Gardens

Ghastly gallows, horrific hangmen and terrifying torture – travel back in time and discover the painful punishments your history teacher’s too timid to tell you.

The sessions, which run between October 23 and October 29, are suitable for all the family.

Click here for more information

Spooky Fest, Wat Tyler Country Park, Basildon

This event, sister to Cursed, is for younger children.

Your ticket gives you access to the haunted house, toy shop and carnival where there will be live actors, special effects and confusing routes. Everyone will receive a treat bag at the end.

Sessions run between October 23 and October 29

Children must be accompanied by an adult.

More information is available here

Halloween Creations – Activity Afternoon for Children, Beth Chatto Gardens, Elmstead Market near Colchester

Join the ever popular annual pumpkin hunt at Beth Chatto Gardens! Challenge your children to find the hidden pumpkins around the gardens, complete the hunt and collect your reward. Guess the weight of the pumpkin and see the fabulous gourd and pumpkin display too.

The hunt is set in the beautiful surroundings of the gardens, which feature ponds, a gravel garden and a huge range of plants.

The hunt will take place on October 24.

Visit the website for more information.

Halloween at Colne Valley Railway, Castle Hedingham

Echo: We've got a year to save Colne Valley Railway

This event is perfect for younger children, with plenty of ghostly goings on. Enjoy a diesel engine ride with the skeleton crew, see the witches that have taken over the railway and take part in spooky games and activities.

Sessions will take place between October 24 and October 29.

Click here for more information

Spooky Fun at Cressing Temple, Cressing Temple Barns, near Braintree
Thursday 26th October 2017 and Friday 27th October 2017, 11am to 4pm

There will be puppet shows, magical storytelling and complimentary creepy face painting. Plus explore the site on three themed trails and find ghosts, pumpkins and witches in order to win a special prize.

It will take place on October 26 until October 27.

Find out more here

Spooky Nights at Barleylands, Barleylands, Barleylands Road, Billericay

Get ready for spooky fun at this event, suitable for tots to young teens. There will be plenty of spooktactular family friendly activities including huge fairground ghost train, haunted fairground house, boo barn, witches walk, haze maze, spooky toddler story time, creepy reptile cave, Halloween disco and spooky games.

You can buy tickets here

Museums at Night: Audley by Lantern Light, Audley End House and Gardens, near Saffron Walden

Explore the museum’s rooms after dark and hear the tales of the house’s fascinating history brought to life.

The event is suitable for the over 12s.

Tours are at 6pm and 8pm on October 27 and October 28.

Read more here

Steam and Scream Halloween Specials, Epping Ongar Railway, Ongar

There will be scary trains, a Halloween marquee at North Weald, a resident magician and a silent disco.

For the grown-ups, there is also a bar.

The event takes place on October 28, 29 and 31.

Find out more here

Guy Fawkes Trail, Halstead Public Gardens, Halstead

Echo: Halstead: Get ready for this year's Guy Fawkes trail

Make up a guy in whatever theme you want and bring it along to be displayed in the public gardens. Clubs, groups, businesses, individuals and charities are all welcome to take part.

There will be prizes for the best entries.

You can also enjoy viewing the different guys on October 29. Children (and adults) can complete the I Spy trail to win a reward.

Find out more here

Pumpkin Plod, Haven House Children’s Hospice, The White House, High Road, Woodford Green

The grumpy Pumpkin King has taken control of the forest – can you help us cheer him up by completing this Halloween themed family fun walk in London?

Starting and finishing at the hospice in Woodford Green. Enjoy a 5k plod through the forest completing challenges to help create our witch’s potion that will make the Pumpkin King smile.

With the alternative option of a 2k plod on the charity’s grounds, it really is the perfect half term event for the whole family.

The Haven House Pumpkin Plod theme is Pumpkins and Bats. If orange is your colour, go pumpkins all the way, or don your wings and embrace your inner Batman.

It will take place on October 29.

Click here for more

Halloween Spooky Science Day, Museum of Power, Hatfield Road, Langford

Watch the Mad Professor’s science and magic show, interactive experiments and crafts, spooky storytelling, live creepy crawlies to hold, miniature steam train rides, toffee apples and baked potatoes, scary face painting.

The event will take place on Ocotber 29.

Find out more here

Fright Night – Drive in Movie, Barleylands Craft Village and Farm Centre, Billericay

Is a film your preferred way to celebrate the annual holiday? In which case Barleylands is holding a drive-in film.

The showing will be of Fright Night on a big screen, with sound transmitted to your FM car radio.

It will take place on October 31 from 5.45pm.

There is more information here

Halloween at the Witches Tower, Jaywick Martello Tower

Come along to a Halloween gathering of ghouls and ghastly monsters and join in with the Halloween games. Be careful that the witches don’t turn you into a pumpkin! Children must be supervised at all times.

It will take place from 5pm on October 31.