What’s on at October half-term and Hallowe’en in Cambridge
Half-term is nearly upon us. Here are our tips on how to entertain the kids over the holidays when a trip to the park is no longer on the cards and another hour on the Playstation is threatening to melt their brains.
Blow some stuff up with Morgan & West: Unbelievable Science
Morgan and West present captivating chemistry, phenomenal physics, and bonkers biology in this fun for all the family science extravaganza at Cambridge Junction.
Magicians, time travellers and all-round spiffing chaps Morgan & West have a secret past – they are genuine, legitimately qualified scientists, and now are bringing their love of enlightenment to the stage.
Expect explosive thrills, chemical spills and a risk assessment that gives their stage manager chills, all backed up by the daring duo’s trademark wit, charm and detailed knowledge of the scientific method. Leave your lab coats at the door it’s time for Unbelievable Science!
Plus the Junction is running a free arts and craft for children and their grown ups an hour before the show. The ‘Hands on Happenings’ sessions will take place in the foyer of the Cambridge Junction. These creative activities, led by a professional visual artist are themed to tie in with the family shows that you will be seeing on stage.
Sunday 20 and Monday 21 October, 11.30am and 2.30pm. Tickets: £10 for adults and £6 for children. Junction.co.uk.
Where’s Wally? Behind the dinosaur!
The Big Museum Hunt is taking place at the University Museum of Zoology and the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and everyone is searching for cartoon character Wally.
This half-term, Wally - sporting a red-and-white striped shirt and black-rimmed specs – will be travelling the country, appearing in museums, including a visit to the University Museum of Zoology and the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, in Cambridge.
Families will be able to join the search for Wally as part of Where’s Wally? The Big Museum Hunt, organised by Walker Books and Kids in Museums, to celebrate the release of the new book, Where’s Wally? Double Trouble at the Museum.
Launching in time for October half-term, the event will run from October 19 until November 3, 2019. Look for Wally among the amazing specimens at both museums, there are 10 at each museum to find. Find all 10 and you will receive an ‘I Found Wally!’ sticker, plus you can enter the Where’s Wally? and Kids in Museums grand prize draw competition.
Make some shape-shifting art
The Ancient Romans loved to tell tales in which people turned into trees, animals and more. Children aged 7-11 are invited to a free event at the cast gallery of the Museum of Calssical Archaeology where they can discover some extraordinary ancient stories and make some shape-shifting art of their own.
October 23, from 2pm to 4pm.
All aboard the Hallowe’en Express
Join in the frighteningly fun Hallowe’en spooktacular at the Audley End Miniature Railway. There’s plenty of kid-friendly Halloween entertainment if you venture into the woods on the toy train to meet a coven of cackling witches together with their pumpkin friends. They will chant spells around their cauldron before giving everyone a special treat.
At the activity area, children can create a creepy craft, test out their thriller dance moves and listen to a spooky tale. Face painters will also be on hand to give Halloween makeovers.
The Halloween spooktacular is spooky but never scary and therefore suitable for even the smallest of monsters.
The Audley End Hallowe’en spooktacular runs from October 25 to November 3. The trains run from 10.00am through to 4.40pm. Booking is required. Tickets will not be available to purchase on the day.
Batty ideas at the National Trust
Anglesey Abbey is hosting ‘Brilliant Bats’ from October 19-27, a jam-packed week of family fun. With all kinds of activities from a sensory nocturnal nature trail to spooky crafts it’ll be impossible for the kids to get bored this autumn half-term.
Half-term highlights include:
Night time Creatures Quest
Head out into the woodland to discover the creatures that call Anglesey Abbey home after dark. Step into the shoes of our nocturnal animals and use your senses to complete twelve challenges in the forest. Free, all day through half term.
Spooky crafts in the Bat Roost
Get creative and make a spooky craft to take home in the Bat Roost. There are different crafts to choose from and our volunteers will be on hand to help you make a masterpiece. Suggested £2 donation, open from 10am.
Wildlife Welcome Hub
Drop into the Wildlife Welcome Hub and investigate real nature finds in their ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ as well as attempting to solve the ‘PooDunnit’ mystery! Free, open from 9.30am.
Pick up a pumpkin
Pumpkin Jim’s pick-your-own pumpkin patch is back for the third year running and is providing exclellent half-term fun for little ones. As well as picking pumpkins, local farmer Pumpkin Jim has laid on soft play, storytelling, children’s tractor racing and a sandpit.
The patch has a wide variety of pumpkins, all shapes and sizes, as well as sweetcorn to pick and potatoes to dig!
Pumpkin Jim’s patch is based on Grange Road, Ickleton and will be open from 10am to 3pm, October 19 to 29.Ickleton is five miles from Saffron Walden and 11 miles from Cambridge. Follow Pumpkin Jim’s on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates. £4 to play all day. £6 play plus storytelling. Also, pick your own pumpkins - pay for what you pick
Haunted House Junk Modelling
Waterstones is holding a free, drop-in craft session where kids can make their on haunted house out of junk. Monday, October 21 from 1pm to 3pm at Waterstones in Cambridge. Th event is to celebrate the publication of the Usborne Haunted house Sticker Book by Kirsteen Rogers and Seb Burnett
Spooky stories at the Museum of Cambridge
Settle down for some spooky with Sarah Brady who will recount stories of things that go bump in the night at the museum.
Over the years, there have been many a tale related to the old White Horse Inn building. Unexplained footsteps, foreign smells… eerie stuff.One particularly chilling story involves a hidden room. A former curator of the Museum during the late 1940s, is supposed to have noticed a window outside the Museum which he couldn’t place inside. After some investigating, he eventually found a blocked up door that led to a previously unknown room. In this room was nothing, save for a chair over the back of which was draped a vintage dress. No one is sure of who the dress belonged or why the room was blocked off – though there are some ideas.
Find out more at the half hour sessions at 2pm and 3pm on Wednesday 23 October and Saturday 26 October. This event is free though usual entry charges apply.
Tom Gates: Live on Stage!
One of the biggest selling children’s book series in the last decade has been turned into a show from the award-winning producers of Horrible Histories, Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie, writes Diane Parkes.
Based on the books by Liz Pichon, Tom Gates: Live on Stage! Brings her hand-drawn illustrations to life with live music written specifically for the show and state of the art video projection.
The show follows Tom as he tries to keep out of trouble while things go increasingly wrong at home and school. It features favourite characters from the stories including Tom’s best friends Derek andNorman and their band Dogzombies, Moany Marcus and Tom’s grumpy sister Delia.
It’s a collaboration between Birmingham Stage Company manager Neal Foster and author Liz Pichon. Liz says: “It’s interesting because I’ve always wondered how Tom Gates would translate to the stage and then talking to Neal, who has so many great ideas, I saw how it would work.”
Together Liz and Neal spent around 18 months working on the plot for the show and its staging.
She adds: “Not all of the books have a very, very strong plotline and the nature of the way I’ve written them is that you can very much dip in and out so you don’t have to read them in order.
“There are some things which happen in every book to do with the different characters and it felt like it would be great to be able to take some of the main themes and work them into a new story which would work better as a theatre show.
“This also allows us to do different things with the different characters which I might not always have had them doing in the books.
“We first spoke about it in 2017 and Neal gave me a clear idea of what he would like to happen in the storyline – what kinds of things could happen to Tom. I then took those away and developed them a bit further and then wrote the script. I wrote the first part of the script and then I added in more because I know the characters so can put more of them into it
I absolutely loved the process. It’s very much Neal and I sitting in a room and coming up with the plotlines and then pushing those boundaries – asking ‘what else can happen?
“I can’t wait for everyone to dip their toe into the world of Tom Gates. Making it a real world, and making it something completely different in the theatre, is so exciting – it gives it another element which I can’t do in the books.”
Find out what does happen at Cambridge Arts Theatre, October 23 to 26. Tickets from £19. Box office: 01223 503333.
More by this authorAlex Spencer