Half Term is here and whether you want spooky stories, treasure hunts or full on witchery, we have it covered.

  1. IF Oxford, the science and ideas festival,

‘Around the World’ story-telling every morning is a great way for younger children to travel the globe from the sofa, at 10am for 5-9 year-olds during half term.

Around the world in stories with IF Oxford

2) Blenheim Palace Fire Shows

Enjoy a packed autumn half term and Halloween programme that includes Fire Shows in The Great Court from October 24 to November 1. The Pleasure Gardens Pizza Café is also serving pumpkin pizza for all your hungry hobgoblins with a special October Pizza Deal. 

Feeling brave? Then go for a spooky walk and listen to performers tell creepy tales in the orchards and trees to chill you to your bones.

There is also a Halloween Children’s Afternoon Tea. Sweet treats include Ghost gingerbread biscuit, Twit-twoo owl cupcake, Milk chocolate waffle witch hat and Spooks eyeball jelly, with drinks including Dracula punch and Red velvet hot chocolate with marshmallows and raspberry. www.blenheimpalace.com

3) The Great Big Story Mix Up

The perfect family fun for autumn this half-term at Oxford Playhouse. This live, interactive show, zoomed directly into homes from Roustabout Theatre, allows audiences to take part to create the story online from Saturday 24 – Wednesday 28 October.

Audiences get to chose the characters, the costumes, and even the set. Never-before-seen tales, stories and wild & wonderful ideas will all be brought to life in an improvised play for children with the help of a little computer wizardry.

The Great Big Story Mix Up

Tickets are just £5 per family, with a link and instructions for what to do emailed ahead of the show. More details at www.oxfordplayhouse.com 

4) Banbury’s Cherwell Theatre Company

An interactive online project for young people aged 11+ over October half term. From 2015-17 the company developed an original play with and for young people exploring their experiences on the internet and social media “The Web”.

Young people aged 11+ can also join a series of free online drama workshops with a professional playwright, actors and director during half term week, to help them re-develop the 2017 script for today. “As always we welcome any young person with an interest in theatre to take part” said Sophie Beckinsale, CTC’s Outreach Co-ordinator. Email cherwelltheatreworkshops@gmail.com if you’re interested in finding out more.

5) Blackwell’s Bookshop Treasure Hunt

Or visit the children’s departments for a session with the Book Doctors, expert booksellers who will help young readers – or non-readers – find the book they are going to love. There will also be spooky stories for children @BlackwellOxford on Twitter and Blackwell’s Bookshop Oxford on Facebook.

6) Creation Theatre’s digital half term Put on a Play in a Week workshops!

Ghost busting movie makers can revel in Creation’s storytelling with a spooky twist with Shakespearean ghosts, Hungarian castles and fantastical fairy tales, as well as the chance to create a Zoom play to be performed at the end of the week. 

The virtual School of Creativity building has been given a makeover, filled with cobwebs, bats and pumpkins as well as extra videos and activities from the Professors of Creepiness to help young ghost-busters get in the Halloween spirit. 

All workshops will be delivered live over Zoom daily by professional actors Andy Owens and Ryan Duncan. Go to www.creationtheatre.com for all the details

7) Witchery at Cogges Farm in Witney

A transformed its manor house and grounds for a spooky October half term. Visitors are invited to wander through spooky rooms to see where the witch lives. With spectacular lighting, sound effect wizardry and an array of potions, bats and spiders there is also a cauldron on the fire. Dragon’s blood, eye of newt and raven’s claw are just some of the magical ingredients you can find in the witch’s kitchen.

Children will love glow-in-the dark concoctions in the Potion Room, or take a seat at the witch’s grand Dining Table, set with seasonal treats fit for a Hogwarts banquet. Upstairs, if you dare, see where the witch sleeps, and outside, enjoy the autumnal scenery and explore the misty grounds, spot the scarecrows on a spooky pumpkin trail in the witch’s Walled Garden – just don’t disturb the baby Mandrakes in the potting shed!

Visit The Witch’s House at Cogges Farm

Visit the Witch’s House on Saturday 24 October to Sunday 1 November. www.cogges.org.uk

8) Natty & Flick’s Adventure to the Other World 

The promenade theatre piece by WhatNot Theatre will be based in the world of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and follow the adventures of Aeronauts Natty and Flick as they try to find the porthole back to their own world, with the assistance of the audience, to deliver an Altheiometer to the rebellion before the Magisterium can catch them.

A socially distanced, Covid safe walking tour taking place from Saturday 24-Saturday 31 October in the grounds of Oxford Botanic Garden. Show times are 11am, 1pm and 3pm for 45 minutes.

Ticket price includes entry to the Botanic Garden so audiences can arrive early or stay to enjoy the garden after the performance.  https://www.wegottickets.com/WhatNotTheatre 

9) History of Science Museum

On Friday October 30, children can join the team online to create their own pinhole camera from simple household items. During the event participants will also be taken on a journey through the past to discover how the pinhole image. https://www.hsm.ox.ac.uk/whats-on

10) MI5 Spy talks

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Blenheim Palace’s role as the temporary top secret headquarters of MI5 during WWII. To celebrate, discover its hidden spy secrets with our new fascinating Spy Talks by palace experts, held throughout the day until October 31. blenheimpalace.com/whats-on/events/spy-tours

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