At midterm, no one can hear you scream: Halloween breaks here and abroad
Get spooked during the haunting season with these destinations for all ages
Kenmare: where to go for a good night’s sleep – not!
Derry dare you: Samhain is upon us.
Alton Towers: It’s Scaretime, folks.
October midterm falls at a good time: two months in school and the children are ready for a break. The weather is changing, the clocks are going back and Halloween break is fun and exciting. A lot of places get into the fun of the season and there will be plenty to do around the country. Further afield you could be marking Halloween in Brittany or Florida.
Halloween at the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny is all about Hogwarts, with a Forbidden Forest treasure hunt, Chamber of Arts activity room, treetop adventure playground with a zipline and a fairy trail to follow. Over midterm there will be a kids camp every day from 10.00am-4.00pm. In the evening, the Krazy Kats Club will amuse the kids from 7.00-10.30pm. Prices are from €229pps for adults and up to two children free, extra children from €25 per day. flynnhotels.com/Newpark_Hotel_Kilkenny
The lovely town of Kenmare goes all howly for Halloween with a weeklong festival for all the family. The grand opening of the Kenmare Howl is on October 29th, and on Halloween night a big trick-or-treat party is scheduled. The week will be filled with haunted houses and woods, pirate cruises, supernatural walks, zombie trad sessions, chocolate workshops and more.
Houses are available to rent in and around Kenmare from relaxireland.com, (053) 9175481, from €400-€500 per week.
The city of Derry is celebrating 30 years of the best carnival in the country. The Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival will run from October 27th-31st and it will be party time. Samhain will open the doorways to the other world and welcomes families into the streets for spooky happenings. Music, theatre, storytelling, fire, sculpture, food, film and fireworks for the largest carnival and costume party in Europe. Accommodation is scarce for the big night, but other nights available from cityhotelderry.com from £137 (about €156) per night.
Budding little wizards may like to join the Wizard School at Ashford Castle over midterm and learn a few tricks. The two-night package from October 29th-November 5th will include with treasure hunts in the forest, activities in the House of Art, house elves cookery school, Harry Potter movie evening and kids dinner in the Wizard School. Dinners for the adults will be in the George V restaurant. Price €1,900 for the family, based on two adults and two children under 12. ashfordcastle.com
Storyteller Eddie Lenihan will be setting the scene with myths, magic and mystery at the Radisson Blu Hotel over Halloween. The Global Explorers Kids Club will have the children busy with pumpkin carving, treasure trails, zorbing, fancy dress disco and spider hunts. Nearby Bunratty Folk Park with be scaring people with the Halloween Holiday Horror with spooky tricks and scary treats. Overnight for a family room with breakfast from €160 per night. radissonblu.com/en/hotel-limerick, 061-456200.
The Pillo Hotel in Ashbourne is the closet hotel to Tayto Park, just five minutes drive. An ideal location for bring the children to experience the Cu Cuhulainn Coaster, the Rocking Tug, the Vortex Tunnel and the Tayto Twister. Every evening during midterm there is family-style entertainment and Tayto Park is open too. Family rooms are from €149 B&B. pillohotelashbourne.com
The Wizardly Wonderland Retreat is in the lovely Lough Erne Resort. Keep the family busy with lots of outdoors activities, watersports and cookery classes with chef Noel McMeel. Two nights in a lakeside lodge with dinner one evening and breakfast each day from €534 for two adults and two children. lougherneresort.com, 048-66323230
It is Scarefest time in Alton Towers Theme park. Building on a spooky reputation the park is adding more attractions this year, including the Monster Hunter Maze and two scare zones. It runs for three weekends in October.
Scare the daylights out of the family with a family trip, from Dublin or Rosslare with the car and three nights in the BW Tillington Hall Hotel from €615 for two adults and two children. irishferries.com, 1800-300400.
Travel is educational, so why not take the children to explore another European culture in one of the many cities connected to Ireland? Even excluding the big-name cities London, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam etc) leaves lots of lovely places to see. Expect to pay from €180-€280pps for three nights midweek, flights and accommodation. cassidytravel.ie, 0818 332500.
Brittany Ferries’ Pont Aven will sail to France over midterm – perfect timing for a six-day break in northwest France or further. Halloween is celebrated in Brittany due to our shared Celtic Heritage (brittanytourism.com). Ferry and cabins from €555 for two adults and two children. brittanyferries.ie, 021-4277801.
The weather can be very pleasant on the Côte d’Azur at the end of October and is ideal for getting out and about. At Mimozas Cannes resort, 30 minutes from Nice Airport, days out can be spent in Cannes, La Napoule, Île Sainte-Marguerite – or just lazing around the resort. Seven nights in a one-bed apartment for four will cost from €499 for a week at midterm. mimozascannes.com
The theme park Port Aventura is close to the busy seaside resort of Salou. Based on the characters of Sesame Street, the park gets into the fun of Halloween. The whole place gets decorated with scary creatures and every evening there is a parade with music and lots of fun and spooky characters.
A week in Salou with flights and stay in the family-friendly Medplaya Pirimide hotel will cost from €475pps (abbeytravel.ie). Two-day tickets for Portaventura cost from €50 for adults and €44 for children 4 -10 (portaventuraworld.com).
If you want to scare some teenagers, bring them to Orlando for the scariest Hallowe’en event in the US. The Universal Halloween Horror Nights is rated the scariest. The award-winning Universal team create intense experience that you will never forget. Using all special effects and menacing actors, they will bring nightmares to life. It runs until October 31st.