20 fun family mid-term breaks this Halloween

Whether it’s a ghost trail or being tucked up with treats, there’s something for everyone

Halloween: there are lots of adventures, both inside and out, to keep the whole family entertained. Photograph: Ojo/Getty

Halloween: there are lots of adventures, both inside and out, to keep the whole family entertained. Photograph: Ojo/Getty

 

In the sacred space between Back to School and Santa Stop Here, the ancients celebrated a very special festival: Midterm. Honour that tradition this Halloween and give your kids the gift of a fun-filled family break from their phones. They’ll be terrified. Here are 20 sure to do the trick, or treat.

1. Have a howl in Kenmare

Kenmare’s Halloween Howl promises to be a scream this year with all manner of family friendly events planned for around the town. These include spooky story telling sessions, a ghost bus and a haunted forest walk. There are chocolate and cupcake workshops, a traditional Halloween parade on the big day itself, traditional games in the square and a super spooky night time orienteering event which older kids will love. Stay at the Park Hotel Kenmare which, if you squint, has a certain Harry Potterishness to it – and magic views – from €165 per person sharing. parkkenmare.com

2. Dig-in in Dublin

There’s loads of family fun on offer in the capital this midterm, including great city break packages at the Marker Hotel on Grand Canal Dock, perfect for taking in Shrek the Musical at the Bord Gáis Theatre next door. Family packages at the hotel are available from €249 per room per night and include complimentary trick or treat goodie boxes for kids. There’s also the option of an in-room tepee, large enough for two small ones to sleep in, with fluffy pillows, blankets and a torch, perfect for spooky stories around the imaginary (please) campfire. There’s a milk and cookie turndown and, because they’ll be in the tepee, no creepy crumbs in your bed. themarkerhoteldublin.com

3. Trick or treat train in Galway

Who needs Hogwarts when you can hop aboard the Wizard Express at Glenlo Abbey in Galway. On October 29th it’s offering a Halloween-themed afternoon tea in its atmospheric Pullman Train carriages, followed by a screening of more wizardry at its Abbey Movie Theatre. Tickets for the event cost €35 for grownups and €20.00 for kids. It’s also a good base for enjoying the Galway Aboo Halloween Festival, the annual Macnas Halloween Parade, Carnevil, the West’s first scare attraction and Fearfest at Loughwell Farm Park in Moycullen. Don’t miss the Salthill Zombie Chase on 27th October, when a crowd of terrifying zombies is released onto the prom. Your mission, should you be mad enough to accesput, is to stop them getting to Salthill Park. B&B for two adults and two kids around €200 a night. glenloabbeyhotel.ie

4. No moans in Monaghan

Families with exam students this year might like to give them time to chillax with a stay at Hilton House, an elegant Blue Book property in Co Monaghan. Guests can enjoy a two-course late dinner on the Friday (taking sittings up until 9.30pm) follow it up with a leisurely late breakfast and enjoy a four-course candle-lit dinner on the Saturday evening. Autumn is particularly lovely in Hilton Park, so get them out in the fresh air for walks around its 400-acre estate, bike further afield, take out a rowing boat or enjoy a round of golf. From €565 for two people sharing. hiltonpark.ie or irelandsbluebook.com

5. All treats, no tricks in Fermanagh

Five-star Lough Erne Resort is running Friday Night Fright Night packages throughout October, where kids can trick or treat round the grounds with bowls of sweets provided to guests in its lodges who wish to participate. Prices start from £299 for a family of four, plus up to £70 resort credit to be used across its dining, spa and golf facilities, when booked Sunday to Thursday under its Autumn Rewards package, which starts at £119 per room including breakfast. Alternatively book a one-night Sunday Slumber B&B, which includes cosy cookies and hot chocolate on arrival, from £59.50 per person sharing. lougherneresort.com

Glenlo Abbey: On October 29th it’s offering a Halloween-themed afternoon tea in its Pullman carriages, followed by a screening of more wizardry at its Abbey movie theatre
Glenlo Abbey: On October 29th it’s offering a Halloween-themed afternoon tea in its Pullman carriages, followed by a screening of more wizardry at its Abbey movie theatre. See entry 3

6. Have a corker in Cork

Stay two nights at swish Hayfield Manor Hotel in Cork and get a full Irish each morning plus dinner on one evening for a family of four. Adults get a four-course meal with full choice from its bistro menu while kids choose three courses from the healthy options children’s menu, before tucking into a special spooky dessert. There are Halloween treats on arrival and fun at the hotel’s Halloween Party, which includes more treats, a family pumpkin carving competition, traditional Halloween games and a spooky ghost trail. Junior guests can then enjoy a Halloween movie with popcorn and even more Halloween treats in the tricked-out spooky library, perfect for a scare before bed. Priced from €741 per family. hayfieldmanor.ie

7. End of days in Enfield

Check out the scarily smart Johnstown Estate this midterm to see how its new owners have transformed it into a super short break option. Choose from an elegant family room or one of its luxury self catering lodges, for a two-night break that includes breakfasts plus one dinner. There’s a 20m pool and kiddie pool, a kids club, playground and Fairy Trail that meanders through woodland on this 120-acre estate. Then give your little ones something to really scream about with a complimentary family pass to nearby Tayto Park. The package costs €225 for a family room or €275 for a self-catering lodge. If your kids are teens, you’re just over half an hour’s drive from the terrors of either Farmaphobia or Haunted Spooktacular, giving them just enough time to regain their composure on the drive back. thejohnstownestate.com

8. Creeped out in Connemara

Delphi Resort in Leenane offers fantastic family fun year-round but is gearing up for a spooky spectacular this Halloween with a range of two and three-night family breaks. Explore the “Forest of Fear”, the “The Dungeons of Doom” or 20 other such titled activities. There’s a Little Monster Kids Club for three to seven year olds each morning and family-friendly movies each evening. Parents can join the kids on their daily activities or leave them in the expert hands of Delphi staff to enjoy some scarily scarce “we time”. A variety of accommodation options is available, with prices starting from €299 for a family-of-four for a two-night stay including one evening meal and breakfast each morning. Or stay in its stylish on-site Wild Atlantic Hostel from €105 per night for a family room on a room only basis. delphiresort.com

9. Killing it in Kildare

Family-friendly Killashee Hotel just outside Naas has spooky forest walks, a new playground and a beautiful Butterfly Trail and Fairy Forest in its 280-acre grounds. Its Halloween Family Fun package includes two nights B&B for two adults and up to three children – finally, the third child can come with you – in a family suite with dinner in its bistro on an evening of your choice, plus complimentary Kids Club open mornings and evenings. The package costs from €175 per night, including access to the pool and leisure centre and, if they’re not already bagsied, complimentary bikes to explore the estate on. killasheehotel.com

Johnstown Estate: its new owners have transformed it into a super short-break option. See entry 7
Johnstown Estate: its new owners have transformed it into a super short-break option. See entry 7

10. Spooks with spokes in Waterford

Get on your bike again at the de luxe Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, a five-star option offering a great Greenway Getaway. The Waterford Greenway is a spectacular 46km off-road cycling and walking trail along an old railway line between Waterford and Dungarvan. Older kids will enjoy this magnificent journey across three tall viaducts from the river to the sea. Attractions along the way include world-famous gardens at Mount Congreve, the Ballyvoyle Tunnel, Kilmeaden Castle, as well as views of the Comeragh Mountains and Dungarvan Bay. The Greenway Getaway costs from €1,128 for a family of two adults and two children in a terrace suite. cliffhousehotel.ie

11. Killing it in Kilkenny

Gather your little ghouls for a hauntingly good family break at Hunter’s Yard at Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown, or rather, Haunter’s Yard. Two and three night breaks are available for two adults and two children with breakfast each morning, dinner for two on one evening of your choice in The Hound at Hunter’s Yard while youngsters take part in a Juniors Club which includes pumpkin carving, a Halloween trail through the 500-acre grounds and scary movies. There’s mask-making and a fancy dress Halloween Party on 31st October too. The Halloween at Haunter’s Yard package is based on a family of two adults and two children under 12 years sharing and starts from €395 per room for a minimum of two-nights, available from the 26th October to 3rd November. mountjuliet.ie

12. Terror in Tralee

Treat your little terrors with a trip to The Rose Hotel, Tralee where big comfortable family rooms, complimentary kids club activities and family passes to the legendary Aquadome combine to make a great family break. Stay for one, two or three-night options over the midterm including bed and breakfast plus evening meal for two on a night of your choice while youngsters enjoy dinner and the Kid Devilish Club with a variety of Halloween activities to entertain them. The hotel is the perfect base to discover the Haunted Hall at the Kerry Museum, the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre and the indoor fun of its play centre, Playdium. Or simply blow off the cobwebs along this stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way and its local Blue Flag beaches. Family packages start from €150 per stay based on a family of two adults and two children. therosehotel.com

13. Creeped out in the capital

Stay at the four-star Castleknock Hotel in Dublin and receive a complimentary family pass to either Dublin Zoo or Tayto Park. The plush hotel is a great base to stay for all sorts of fun activities including the National Aquatic Centre and Phoenix Park. It’s also handy for all the spooky fare on offer in the city centre, including the Nightmare Realm at the RDS for older kids, and Peril’s Pumpkin Trail in Malahide Castle for little ones. Grownups won’t miss the chance for a quick visit to the hotel’s newly refurbished spa where, for a brief but blissful interlude, it’ll be a fright-free zone. Mid-term packages starts at €240 for one-night stay for two adults and two children. castleknockhotel.com

14. Get away from the ghouls in Cork

Head for the Blue Flag beaches at Inchydoney Island Lodge where the appeal is not so much the ghoulish goings on but a perhaps welcome chance to escape them. Instead, make use of the hotel’s stash of frisbees and swing ball sets, kites and croquet, skipping ropes and spades, to spend your Halloween in more wholesome manner, by day at least. By night there are spooky movies playing in the hotel’s Netflix Room. This midterm a two-night package is available from €460 for a family of four sharing a family room. It includes breakfast on both mornings and a “Cooking with Chef” session on one afternoon for the kids. inchydoneyisland.com

15. Make mischief in the Midlands

Stay in the stylish waterfront Radisson Blu Hotel in Athlone to enjoy its Synergy Health and Leisure Club, and get a family pass to Glendeer Pet Farm’s Spooktastic Halloween event. There your little pumpkins can follow the Pumpkin Passage through the Forbidden Forest, casting spells as they go thanks to a scary, but obviously helpful, witch. After that they can toast marshmallows over an open fire and enter an eerie maze - all the eerier if they can’t find their way out. Take the time for a trip to the liminal Hill of Uisneach too, the centre of Ireland and a traditional portal to the netherworld - though not the Netherlands. Meanwhile back at the hotel guests get a Global Explorers pack on arrival, with colouring, games and sweets in a Family Spooktastic package available from 28th October to 5th November and priced from €105 per adult sharing with up to three children. radissonblu.ie/hotel-athlone

Marker Hotel: guests have the option of an in-room tepee, large enough for two small ones to sleep in, with fluffy pillows, blankets and a torch
Marker Hotel: guests have the option of an in-room tepee, large enough for two small ones to sleep in, with fluffy pillows, blankets and a torch. See entry 2

16. Smashing pumpkins in Mayo

Head out on a pumpkin hunt with a two-night stay at The Lodge at Ashford Castle that starts with hot chocolate and cookies on arrival, and sees you spend the day exploring the grounds from Kinlough woods to Lough Corrib on complimentary bikes. Next day kids can enjoy some traditional Halloween fun starting with a pumpkin hunt, apple bobbing and mummy wrapping - not you, relax. The Halloween break at The Lodge at Ashford Castle includes two nights’ accommodation in a Quay Suite with breakfast each morning, dinner in Quay Bar & Brasserie on an evening of your choice, plus all pumpkin picking and related activities, from €490. thelodgeac.com

17. Go krazy in Killarney

Self catering in a hotel property is a great ‘best of both worlds’ option for families, so check out the Reserve Apartments at the five star Muckross Park Hotel beside Killarney National Park. Its midterm break package includes a three-night stay in a two bedroom apartment plus a choice of Halloween activities such as the Killarney Ghost Bus Tour (an evening tour starting at 9pm, and suitable for over 10s only) or a kid’s cookery class with one of the hotel chefs where younger children can make Halloween treats. All together you can make the most of its free bike hire to explore sights such as Torc Waterfall and Muckross House, right on the hotel’s doorstep. The midterm package costs from €570 for up to five guests sharing. muckrosspark.com

18. Away with the fairies in Galway

Swap ghouls for fairies at The Twelve Hotel in Galway this mid-term, where tots will enjoy the magical fairy doors in its Marvellous Family Suites and are greeted on arrival with Fairy Cakes fresh from the hotel bakery. Stay for two nights with breakfast each morning and a family dinner on one evening in its Pins Bistro. As part of the deal kids get a Pizza Masterclass with the hotel’s pizza chef, plus a family pass to local family-friendly attractions such as Brigit’s Gardens in Moycullen, which has lots of Halloween events lined up , Kylemore Abbey or Dan O’Hara’s Farmhouse and Heritage Centre. The two-night fairytale package costs from just €450 per family midweek, with a third night available at a reduced rate of €150. thetwelvehotel.ie

19. Wary in Waterford

Enjoy free time in Faithlegg this Halloween and you’ll be perfectly placed to enjoy all the Halloween activities in nearby Waterford city, including Wicked in the Woods (October 26th) in which award-winning arts company Spraoi transforms Carriganore Wood into an imaginatively spooky wonderland – with light, sound effects, creatures and live action. Faithlegg itself has a swimming pool, playground, mini golf, tennis and bike hire, as well as a golf course and spa. Its Halloween Midterm Break package is available midweek from €390 for two nights’ accommodation in a family room for two adults and two children, plus one four course dinner in its Roseville Rooms Restaurant. faithlegg.com

20. Have mercy in Mayo

For a chilling Halloween break, where better than the Ice House Hotel in Ballina? Check out its two-night Chills and Thrills package, staying in a room with spectacular floor to ceiling windows overlooking the River Moy and Belleek Woods. Enjoy a full Irish breakfast each morning, special Halloween treats in your room on arrival and a three-course dinner on one evening with a pre-dinner cocktail, plus complimentary use of the Chill Spa Thermal Suite and Outdoor Spa Garden. Then wrap up warm and join the Scary Woods walk in Belleek Woods which takes place nightly during the school break as part of the town’s annual Samhain Amhainn Halloween Festival. From €245 per adult sharing, under 12s share with their parents for €50 extra each. theicehouse.ie

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