October Half Term is almost here again. Most schools across the region close on Friday 20 October for a week, which provides the perfect time for some family fun. If you’re looking for ways to keep your little ones entertained with autumn fun, Greater Manchester can provide it in abundance. From spooktacular Halloween activities to children’s theatre, the region has something for everyone this half term.

Educational Activities

Batteries Not Included The National Football Museum

If you have a football fan or gamer in the family, we have the perfect half-term activity for you. The National Football Museum has announced a new, interactive exhibition that explores the history and development of football toys and games, their remarkable influence on our lives and our understanding of the beautiful game. Running until February 2024, Batteries Not Included takes visitors on an immersive journey from the Victorian era through to the latest cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) technology. Visitors can get hands-on with a range of football toys and games taking you on an exciting exploration of play between the real and virtual worlds, with 17 interactive games and exhibits including Subbuteo and a variety of classic arcade video games. Learn more

Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You

The Science and Industry Museum is hosting a world-first interactive exhibition based on the hit BBC Children’s TV series Operation Ouch! The exhibition, Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You can dive headfirst into the digestive system for an unforgettable journey. You’ll learn about the role of each organ in the digestive journey and find out what happens to food once we’ve eaten it. Play in a set of giant teeth, meet Larry the Vomiting Robot, get flushed down a giant toilet, explore the Doctors' super-secret lab, and more. Tickets cost £10 for adults and £9 for children and the exhibition runs until June 2024. Learn more.

Ancient Egyptian Art: Half-term Workshop

On Thursday 26 October, Sumayyah Eldin of Creative Society Manchester is hosting a half-term workshop at The Portico Library. You can learn how to make papyrus and paint like an Egyptian inspired by The Portico Library’s stunning collection of illustrations from the engineer and showman Belzoni’s tour of Egypt in the 1810s. The workshop runs from 2 pm to 4 pm and costs £2. Learn more.

Astro Night Jordell Bank 

This half term budding astronomers and aspiring astronauts are invited to learn all about astronomy at Jodrell Bank home of the famous Lovell Telescope. On Saturday 21 October from 7 pm to 9 pm, you can journey around space in the Space Dome and learn to navigate the night sky with telescopes and binoculars. There’ll be a chance to dress as an astronaut and take your first steps on the moon as well as make a comet to take home. It’s going to be an out-of-this-world experience. Tickets cost £14 for children and £16 for adults. Learn more.

Craft Hampers at INNSiDE Manchester

This October half term, INNSiDE Manchester, part of Meliá Hotels International, has teamed up with beloved Manchester art emporium Fred Aldous, to create bespoke craft hampers for little ones.  As part of the new collaboration, experts at Fred Aldous have curated the hampers especially for kids to enjoy during their stay at the vibrant INNSiDE Manchester lifestyle hotel. Available from the start of October half term and for family stays throughout the year, kids will be inspired to get creative with a mystery box of creative supplies featuring bright and colourful goodies for the boldest creations. Little ones can also indulge in a sophisticated children’s menu available at the hotel’s First Street Bar & Kitchen including piccolo pizza and pasta dishes.

The INNSiDE Manchester x Fred Aldous craft hampers are available for little ones from October half term and stays thereafter. They are available for just £20.  Rooms during October half term, for daily stays from £110. Learn more.

Halloween Activities

Halloween in the City

Halloween in the city is back and the monsters are taking over once again! Between Wednesday 25 October and Tuesday 31 October, prepare to see monsters at every turn and they’re bringing with them a scream-inducing programme activity for the whole family.

This year marks the city’s biggest monster takeover yet. Look up, look out and beware as the monsters could be on a rooftop or street across the city centre, and we need you to find them. There will be 16 Monsters in the MCR Monsters trail all over the city centre so why not take your kids to hunt for them all?

If that’s not enough the annual Monster’s Parade will return to the Arndale and Market Street on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. The Monster’s Rock! Party Procession will see a crazy procession of monster puppets, giant skeletons and stilt walkers taking over the city centre for a bewitching takeover. After the procession, you’ll find a Monster Rock Music Festival taking over the city on the 28 and 29 October, with spooky DJs, live performances, games, carnival rides and more so you can dance the night away and get into the spooky spirit.

In St Ann’s Square, things are also getting seriously spooky. A Carnival of Monsters, a family-friendly freakshow with roaming circus performers, stalls, activities and a hall of mirrors will be taking over to get you into the haunting Halloween spirit. You’ll even find the Halloween in the City market where the whole family can stock up on Halloween treats (with no tricks), with crafts, sweet treats and Halloween-themed products.

Join Manchester’s own Team Trick v Team Treat Challenge between Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October on New Cathedral Street. Pick up a wristband and take part in a series of gruesome games across the city to win points for team trick or treat. Come in fancy dress for a bonus point and keep an eye out for petrifying prizes along the way. You can even catch a ride on the Hell-ter skelter, to get your heart racing.

Then, in Cathedral Gardens take to the ice to find a spooky skating extravaganza. Throw on your best costume and join the skating rink for thrills and spine-chilling fun. Scare Skate is open from Friday 27 October to Tuesday 31 October between 11 am and 9 pm.

Learn more about all of the Halloween in the City activities.

Luna’s Legendary Creature Halloween Trail at Chester Zoo

This Halloween, if you’re looking for a mystical and wild experience, Chester Zoo has a quest you won’t want to miss. Discover Luna’s Legendary Creature hidden in the depths of Monsoon Forest in this mysterious Halloween Trail. You’ll have to learn about five amazing species and unlock the secrets of the rainforest to claim your Halloween treat. Plus, in a new addition for this year, take a trip on the Lazy River Boats, but watch out for hanging bats and spooky skeletons along the way! The trail is free with zoo entry and you can save up to 10% off our gate prices when booking your tickets online. Learn more.

Spooktacular Fun at RHS Garden Bridgewater 

Between Saturday 21 October and Sunday 29 October, there will be some wicked fun at RHS Garden Bridgewater. Their haunting half-term event promises frighteningly good family fun. Activities range from pumpkin carving to scary storytelling. Little ones will love the Great Garden Adventure spooky garden trail, spooky herb planting, crafting with Mini Makery magic, clay pumpkin carving and storytelling with colour and the clouds. Plus, on Saturday 28 October, you can learn the ancient art of Rangoli to celebrate Diwali. It’s a week full of treats (and certainly no tricks!). Learn more.

Tatton Park Pumpkin Patch

It’s not Halloween unless you carve a pumpkin, and visiting a pumpkin patch just makes it even more special. Luckily Tatton Park Pumpkin Patch is back at the Farm for Halloween between Saturday 21 October and Sunday 29 October. Meet farmyard favourites, search for the spookiest pumpkin, and take it home to carve yourself. Standard farm entry applies plus £4 per pumpkin, you can get 10% off your entry if you book 3 days in advance. Learn more.

Halloween at the Old Hall: A Wizard's Gathering

Between Thursday 26 October and Sunday 29 October, your little monsters are invited to join A Wizard’s Gathering at Tatton Park’s Old Hall. Dive headfirst into a world of magic as you join gnomes, elves, witches, wizards, goblins, fairies and fauns at the Autumn Wakes Festival and meet The Troll King. This enchanting experience will include apple bobbing, broomstick flying, games, songs and spells to help your family get in the mood for the spooky season. Learn more.

Kids Takeover at Manchester River Cruises 

From Monday 23 October to Friday 27 October join petrifying pirates and mystical mermaids as they take over the Manchester River Cruise, it’s sure to be a real scream. The hour-long cruise from Salford Quays will bring fun and games to the canal, including fancy dress, singalongs, snacks, and games. The activity is aimed at 2- to 10-year-olds but big kids are more than welcome to join in. Plus, any grown-ups on board can sit back, relax and enjoy a ‘Shiver me Timbers’ rum punch. This curious cruise is £12 for adults and £10 for little mermaids and pirates up to 15 years old. Learn more. 

Tatton Park’s Kids Social Spooky Silent Disco

Halloween is all about dressing up as something magical. No matter how spooky their costume this year, Tatton Park is providing the perfect place for little horrors to show off their creepiest costumes. The Kids Social Spooky Silent Disco takes place on Saturday 28 October from 2 pm to 3 pm. With two music channels to choose from, it’s sure to be a shockingly good time. Pick from petrifying kids' pop or gruesome guilty pleasures for grown-ups and dance your heart out. In addition to the freaky, funky music, there will be freakishly ghoulish fancy dress competitions and the legendary Our Kids Social 'Adams family' photo frame for all of your fiendish family snaps! Learn more.

October Half-Term at Elizabeth Gaskell's House

Get into the Halloween crafts this half term. Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is putting on a whole host of family fun to keep your little horrors entertained. Little ones can make their own bat, colour in and take on the Cranford the cat trail around the house. All of this is included in the admission cost and half-term activities run between Sunday 22 October and Sunday 29 October. Learn more.

Halloween Ghost Trains at East Lancashire Railway

All aboard the Halloween Ghost Train to make this Halloween seriously spooky! Halloween Ghost Trains at East Lancashire Railway and their spooky steam train are here to transport you to a world of paranormal fun. Once every ten years at Summerseat tunnel a portal opens to the dark past… but what evil beasties and nasty things await on the other side? There’s only one way to find out. Between Thursday 26 October and Saturday 28 October, get on your most boo-tiful costume and hop on board this terrifying train for an evening of thrills. You’ll find yourself surrounded by goodies, monster friends and plenty of songs. Learn more.

Half Term Hangout at Trafford Palazzo

This October half-term, Trafford Palazzo is creating a Halloween Half Term Hangout, a full week of fun activities and workshops for families to enjoy completely free of charge. From live reptile and dinosaur shows to craft workshops and silent discos, Trafford Palazzo promises a frighteningly good time for everyone involved this Halloween.

There will be a roarsome Live Dino Show where families can meet prehistoric giants, a monster hunt across the malls and Crocodile Joe will introduce you to his reptile friends including giant snakes and some creepy crawlies. There will also be kids crafting sessions so you can enjoy sustainable linoprinting, making your own giant monster head ready for Halloween and the chance to make a trick or treat bucket. In the spooky spirit, you’ll also find face painting, a kids silent disco and a Monster Mash Party so your little ones can show off their deadly dance moves. It’s time to get spooky at the Trafford Palazzo, take a look at all of the events and timings here. All events are free to attend but tickets to some events must be booked in advance. 

Lil Monsters Ball

Halloween parties are in a league of their own. If your little ones like to party, treat them to an exclusive invite to the Lil Monsters Ball this Halloween. On Sunday 29 October between 9 am and 11 am, little monsters can gather to join in with some Halloween fun. Taking place at Manchester’s Hard Rock Café in the Printworks, it’s the perfect excuse to put on your most scary costume and get involved in some frightening fun. There will be a breakfast buffet, face-painting, ghoulish games and more. Tickets cost £11.95 for children and £16.95 for adults, children under the age of 2 don’t require a ticket. Learn more.

Children’s Theatre

Foul Play: Once Upon a Crime – Bury Transport Museum

On Saturday 21 October The Bury Transport Museum is giving you the chance to team up with your favourite fairytale characters on a quizzical quest. In this interactive performance, you’ll need to explore the depths of the Bury Transport Museum to find clues that can discover which fairy tale villain has committed an awful crime. You’ll need to work with fairytale characters to solve riddles and hunt for clues. Tickets cost £14 and there are two sessions, one at 10 am and one at 1 pm. Learn more.

Will Tell and the Big Bad Baron – The Lowry

This half term The Lowry Theatre would like to introduce families to a new legendary figure, the ‘Swiss Robin Hood’ Wilhelm Tell. Wilhelm refused to bow to a tyrant and famously had to shoot an apple off his child’s head with a crossbow as a punishment. Watch this story come to life in a colourful comic adventure with castles, jousting, damsels in distress and enchanting storytelling. It’s a story you won’t forget and an adventure that will leave the family on the edge of their seats. The show takes place on Sunday 22 October with two shows at 1 pm and 3 pm. Tickets cost £10.45. Learn more.

The Smeds and The Smoos – The Lowry

Beloved kid’s book The Smeds and The Smoos by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler returns to The Lowry this October half term. Prepare to be transported to a far-off planet where Smeds and Smoos cannot be friends. Discover what happens when a young Smed and a young Smoo fall in love and zoom off into space. Expect music, laughs and other-worldly fun for everyone aged 3 and above. The Show runs from Tuesday 24 October to Sunday 29 October with two performances each day. Tickets cost £20.35. Learn more.

Luna Loves Library Day The Musical – Z Arts

On Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 October, Z Arts in Stretford will be showing a children’s musical Luna Loves Library Day. Based on the critically acclaimed book by Waterstones Children's Laureate Joseph Coelho and illustrator Fiona Lumbers, Luna Loves Library Day is the perfect treat for children aged 3+ and their families. Watch as Luna discovers magic among the library shelves and gets to spend some quality time with her dad. Tickets cost £9. Learn more.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Live In Concert at Bridgewater Hall

For bigger kids and superhero fans, the Academy Award® winning film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, is set to debut at The Bridgewater Hall on Tuesday 24 October. The film will be shown on a huge HD screen and will be accompanied by a live orchestra to really bring the magic to life. It’s an immersive experience that will leave any comic book fan thrilled. The show starts at 7:30 pm and tickets cost £25.50. Learn more.

The David Gibb Big Band – The Stoller Hall

Another half-term show at The Stoller Hall you won’t want to miss is The David Gibb Big Band. Prepare to go on a journey through David’s hilarious imagination where wolves roam the school corridors, sunflowers grow right up to the stars, and teddy bears dance the night away at the disco. David’s songs are influenced by a huge range of genres and may remind you of a few classics, so you’re sure to be singing along. Prepare yourself for groovy beats, funky keys, slick bass lines, chiming guitars, and soaring horns. The show will run on Wednesday 25 October at 11 am and tickets will cost £5.50. Learn more.

Comedy Club 4 Kids – The Stoller Hall

Also taking to The Stoller Hall this October half term is the Comedy Club 4 Kids. Since 2005, this club has been getting the best stand-ups, sketch acts and cabaret stars to perform for children aged 6+ and their families (in a family-friendly way!). The Comedy Club 4 Kids now runs across the country and it’s proving to be a hit. The show is family-friendly, but without any patronising idiocy. It’s just like a normal comedy club, but it’s on in the day, kids are allowed in, and thus there is a higher than usual chance of the entire audience claiming to be called Bob. The show will take place on Friday 27 October and tickets cost £5. Learn more.

The Bubble Show – Waterside Arts

Sale’s Waterside Arts is welcoming Mr. Bubbles this half term who will bring a unique blend of magic, storytelling, science and bubble art. Join actor, storyteller and Guinness World Record Holder The Highland Joker aka Eran The Bubble Man for a mesmerising performance on Monday 23 October at 2 pm. This interactive and fun show has won international awards and is a must-see for the whole family. Tickets cost £7.50 for children and £9.50 for adults. Learn more.

Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You

As we’re entering spooky season, Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum asked the Doctors from Operation Ouch! to share their ickiest experiences from the exhibition, guaranteed to lift the spirits this Halloween! Dr Chris, Dr Xand and Dr Ronx are renowned for their ability to engage, educate and entertain young viewers by conducting outrageous experiments and never shying away from sticky subjects. Don’t miss Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You if you’re looking for some devilishly disgusting facts about the human body this Halloween. From the tip of the tongue to the end of the bum, explore the role of each organ in the digestive journey through interactive games and challenges, fun facts and fascinating objects.

To find out about more events taking place across Greater Manchester this autumn, visit our What’s On Page.

For more inspiration to entertain little ones this half term, or to plan your perfect visit to Manchester, visit our Ideas and Inspiration page