Wander the grounds of the haunted Carisbrooke Castle, on the Isle of Wight, with ghost hunters and listen to macabre tales of times gone by. Don’t forget your Halloween costume — the most spine-tingling wins a prize. Back on the mainland, Dover and Portchester Castles are also offering equally frightening days out for the family. 20 – 28 October
The windswept, haunting remains of Whitby Abbey, inspiration for Bram Stoker’s gothic tale, Dracula, are the backdrop for a week of spooky activities. 27 October – 4 November
Head to Castle Ward in County Down and join in the Autumn Pumpkinfest, where more than 2,000 pumpkins are ready to be carved. Solve the Pumpkin People’s clues on the trail and browse local crafts and artisan food in the Stableyard (10-21 October). Or follow the shrunken apple trail through the garden, listen to spooky stories, or press freshly harvest apples into juice at Godolphin in Cornwall. 20 – 28 October
Join a Roman soldier and hear a gruesome tale or two of rotten Roman life at Chester’s Roman Fort. Try out for the Roman army, get up to speed in the drill session and even get your hands on some Roman weapons and artefacts. 27 October – 4 November
Light it up
Visit the wild heathland views and mysterious rock houses of Kinver Edge in Staffordshire to make and decorate your own willow and paper lantern. Return on Halloween itself to join in the eerie evening procession of lights and pumpkins through the woods and up to the hillfort. 29 – 30 October
…and did you know?
There are lots of creepy, colourful stories about how the Jack-o’-Lantern got its name, but it’s most likely from the early 17th century, and the night watchmen who’d carry lamps with them on duty.
Published in the the October 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)