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Fantastic Half Term Activities in Leeds

· Joseph Sheerin · Family

Take the kids on an adventure the whole family will enjoy this half term.

The Chit Chat Chalk Show

Wondering how you’ll keep the kids entertained during the school holidays? Fear not, because there are loads of family activities in Leeds this half term…

The October half term is nearly here, and there are oodles of events and activities in Leeds that will help keep the little ones entertained during the school holidays. From family-friendly theatre to baby raves, gunpowder plots and dog shows, there’s absolutely loads to do. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your half term adventures.

Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants: The Illustrated World of Nick Sharatt

You can take the kids to see an exhibition from one of the most famous children’s book illustrators in the UK as The Illustrated World of Nick Sharratt comes to Leeds Central Library this October. Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants lets you get up close to some of his best known characters. He’s illustrated books by Jacqueline Wilson, Jeremy Strong and Julia Donaldson, so this is a real treat. You’ll also get to learn about his childhood, what made him want to be an illustrator and how he became successful.

Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants: The Illustrated World of Nick Sharatt comes to Leeds Central Library from Saturday 22nd September to Sunday 25th November 2018.

Pus and Pimples SFX Workshop

Pus and Pimples at Thackray Medical Museum

Thackray Medical Museum will be getting in on the Halloween action with a special workshop designed to help you create gory wounds and effects from stage and film. This is your chance to pick up essential skills that will help you make the perfect Halloween costume, as you use make-up to create fake Smallpox symptoms, Black Death buboes and gangrenous wounds.

Pus and Pimples SFX Workshop takes over Thackray Medical Museum at 11am from Monday 22nd October to Friday 2nd November 2018.

Ghost Hunter Tours

The Royal Armouries

Credit: Gavin Forster

Kick off the half term with one of the spookiest activities in Leeds at the Royal Armouries. The Agents of Fantasm and Apparition Research Team, or F.A.R.T. for short, desperately need your help – they’re heading out on a Ghost Hunter Tour to stop Leeds being sucked into a cosmic worm-hole. The museum is awash with examples of gruesome deeds and your job is to make sure nothing else happens as the ghouls, ghosts and witches try to take over.

Ghost Hunter Tours takes over the Royal Armouries from 5.30pm on Friday 26th October 2018.

Halloween Outdoor Cinema

Sneaky Experience is back at Kirkstall Abbey and they have loads going on for all ages. You can check out a classic Halloween film as they host four screenings of Hocus Pocus, complete with fancy dress, real-life characters and games. But they don’t just have films planned. You can take part in Pick ’n’ Pimp Your Pumpkin and have a go at their Which Witch is Which? Family Live Board Game.

Halloween Outdoor Cinema comes to Kirkstall Abbey from Friday 26th to Saturday 27th October 2018.

Halloween Family Workshop


Want to create your own Halloween decorations? Get down to the Family Workshop at Swarthmore Education Centre this half term for a bunch of cool activities. You can spend the afternoon thinking up the scariest and most bonkers decorations that you can place around the house to get it ready for the spookiest night of the year.

Halloween Family Workshop takes over Swarthmore Education Centre at 10am on Saturday 27th October 2018.

Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots

Credit: Richard Barelle

Enjoy an evening of family-friendly dance during the school holidays as Northern Ballet put on their version of a classic children’s story in Puss in Boots. It brings together ballet, music and drama as you join the ever-so-charming Puss and his master Jack on an incredible adventure which will see them encounter a host of fun characters.

Puss in Boots takes over The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre from Saturday 27th October to Saturday 3rd November 2018.

Spooky Scarecrow Trail

Scarecrow trail at Lotherton Hall

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a scary scarecrow or two, but Lotherton Hall has gone one step further, by creating an entire trail for you to explore. Round up the kids and put your thinking caps on, because you’ll have to follow the clues to find all these spooky fellows. Once you’ve hunted them all out, head to the Servants’ Rooms for creepy crafts.

Spooky Scarecrow Trail comes to Lotherton Hall at 11am from Saturday 27th October to Sunday 4th November 2018.

Orchard Week

Thwaite Mills

Credit: Leeds Museums & Galleries

Thwaite Mills is dedicating the whole week to exploring their orchard and there’s loads going on. Every day you’ll be able to go on an orchard treasure hunt – you might even get to go home with a few surprises. Or why not take part in their Apple Art workshops, apple pressing sessions and apple volcano classes?

Orchard Week comes to Thwaite Mills at 10am during the week and 12pm at weekends from Saturday 27th October to Sunday 4th November 2018.

Gruesome Newsam

Gruesome Newsam

If you’ve got little ones over 7, Gruesome Newsam could be the perfect half term treat. It’s your chance to learn about the haunted goings on at the famous estate. You’ll go on a tour of the house and gardens, including the derelict cellars, and find out more about the grisly and ghastly stories that have been whispered about over the years.

Gruesome Newsam takes over Temple Newsam at 11am from Saturday 27th to Sunday 4th November 2018.

World Wars Week

Royal Armouries Bullet Proof Vest

© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Ali Turner

The Royal Armouries is home to one of the best half term activities in Leeds as you delve into the two World Wars. This is your chance to introduce the little ones to one of the most interesting times in history, as you take in storytelling, performances and combat demonstrations. You can also check out a full-size Spitfire and take part in sessions with Warlord Games.

World Wars Week takes over the Royal Armouries at 10am from Saturday 27th October to Sunday 4th November 2018.

Creepy Crawlies


Temple Newsam is going bananas for bugs this half term. Creepy Crawlies is a week full of incredible insect-related activities. Loads of bugs want to set up home in Temple Newsam house, from spiders to bed bugs, carpet beetles and moths, but the team have other ideas. You can meet real-life bugs, learn how to spot them and what to do to stop them from making their nest.

Creepy Crawlies takes over Temple Newsam at 10.30am from Saturday 27th to Sunday 4th November 2018.

Pumpkin Stew and Witches Brew!

Pumpkins, Halloween

Pumpkin Stew and Witches Brew! Is back for the October break at Skelton Grange. You can go on an interactive trail around the complex, stopping off to try everything from apple bobbing to craft activities. It ends at a campfire where you can sample their famous pumpkin stew and witches brew.

Pumpkin Stew and Witches Brew! comes to Skelton Grange at 1pm on Sunday 28th October 2018.

Pumpkintastic Halloween Crafts!

Pumpkins, Halloween

Leeds City Museum is going to be awash with pumpkins for a whole Sunday this half term. The Pumpkintastic Halloween Crafts sees you go on their Pick-Up-A-Pumpkin trail around the institution to find the pumpkins that have been left out. There’s more – they’re running themed craft workshops throughout the day and you’re encouraged to turn up in your fancy dress.

Pumpkintastic Halloween Crafts! takes over Leeds City Museum at 11am on Sunday 28th October 2018.

Hollybush Halloween Trails

Halloween pumpkins

Hollybush Conservation Centre has two family-friendly trails for you to check out over the half term holidays. The Halloween Daytime Garden Trail will see you weaving your way through the garden to check out the glowing toadstools and fungi lanterns, while the Dark Garden Halloween Trail promises an after-dark halloween adventure with apple bobbing, potion testing and spooky fun.

Hollybush Halloween Trails comes to Hollybush Conservation Centre from Sunday 28th October to Friday 2nd November 2018.

The Selfish Giant

The Selfish Giant is one of Oscar Wilde’s most famous short stories and you can see it on the stage this half term at Carriageworks. It follows a young boy called Connor. This was once a place where children could play before the giant became selfish and damned the whole town into an eternal winter. But Connor’s determined to change that and he isn’t fazed by the ‘Keep Out’ signs that surround the giant’s estate.

The Selfish Giant comes to Carriageworks Theatre on Monday 29th October 2018.

Halloween at Abbey House Museum

Abbey House Museum

Credit: Daria Wszolek

Abbey House Museum has loads of Halloween themed activities going on across the half term week – you can try your hand at making Haunted Halloween Crafts in the Victorian streets, take part in Spooky Science activities with goo and ghosts or become a super sleuth in the Murkey Murder Mystery.

Halloween takes over Abbey House Museum from Monday 29th October to Friday 2nd November 2018.

The Chit Chat Chalk Show

The Chit Chat Chalk Show

The Chit Chat Chalk Show is a new production by Hawk Dance Theatre & The Knotted Project aimed at kids aged three to eight years old and you can see it during the school holidays at Carriageworks. It follows Kiko, a young girl who’s moved to a new place and struggles with her strange surroundings. With the help of her new-found friends, she learns how to settle in and discovers the emotions that make her unique. You’ll sit amongst the performers and become a part of the play with dancing, drawing and giggling.

The Chit Chat Chalk Show comes to Carriageworks Theatre on Tuesday 30th October 2018.

Anything Could Happen Halloween Special

Anything Could Happen

Anything Could Happen is a no holds barred storytelling session for kids. Their group of young storytellers will get help from the little ones to create a funny and unique show that changes every time you go. This time around they’ve got a Halloween Special, so expect an hour of spooky fun as the kids put their imaginations to good use. Afterwards, pop along for their kids comedy workshop.

Anything Could Happen Halloween Special comes to HEART at 1pm on Wednesday 31st October 2018.

Halloween Spooktacular

Halloween Spooktacular Temple Newsam

The annual Spooky Spectacular at Temple Newsam returns this October. Visit the house and the ghoulish farm as day turns to night. You can make spooky crafts and hear chilling ghost stories as you weave your way around the estate, collecting free treats as you go. And to make sure you scare off the hidden beasts, arrive dressed in your best Halloween get-ups.

Halloween Spooktacular takes over Temple Newsam at 11am and 2pm on Wednesday 31st October 2018.

Crafty Creatures

Halloween, Leeds Galleries and Museums

Leeds City Museum will help you find your arty side this half term for Crafty Creatures. It’s their week-long event which you can drop into any day of the week. You can make and construct a host of habitats for your animal toys, which you can bring with you. It could be a nest for a bird or a burrow for a beaver, it’s completely up to you.

Crafty Creatures comes to Leeds City Museum at 10am and 1am from Wednesday 31st October to Friday 2nd November 2018.

The History of Halloween


If you’ve ever wanted to find out more about Halloween, its history and its traditions, this is your chance. The History of Halloween is run by Temple Newsam curator Leila Prescott. She’ll spend the afternoon telling you how trick-or-treating started, why we dress up in spooky costumes and why the holiday falls on the last day of October.

The History of Halloween takes over Temple Newsam at 12pm on Thursday 1st November 2018.

A Fantastically Great Draw-along With Kate Pankhurst

Kate Pankhurst doesn’t make your standard children’s books – Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World and Fantastically Great Women Who Made History are picture books that are both fun and educational. She’s coming to Leeds Central Library during the school holidays for a special workshop which promises drawing, doodling and dressing up, as well as a dollop of inspiration for the next batch of world-changers to soak up.

A Fantastically Great Draw-along With Kate Pankhurst comes to Leeds Central Library on Friday 2nd November 2018.