I love Halloween, well let’s be honest I love any seasonal event that gives me a chance to be festive, but Halloween is in the gorgeous season of Autumn which makes it one of my favourites. So it goes without saying that I’m really happy it’s becoming more of a ‘thing’ in the UK these days. Every year there seems to be more themed goodies in the shops, more decorated houses and more parties and events being held to mark the spookiest day of the year. Add to that the extra children we seem to have acquired, which always makes a celebration all the more fun and Halloween just keeps getting better year after year.
This year we celebrated with a surprise spooky movie night, that I managed to convince the girls had been set up by Halloween magic, a spot of festive baking, the customary pumpkin carving and trick or treating, and a ride on the ghost train at Exbury Gardens.
I really wanted to find somewhere to go for a nice day out the day before Halloween, somewhere that was making a big effort for the occasion but wasn’t too scary for my little people who aren’t as big and brave as they might seem. It turned out that Exbury was the perfect place for a not so spooky adventure, and we all had a brilliant spooky time.
There were three separate trails that had been set up for children especially for the Halloween half term and the girls wasted no time in throwing themselves into the first one which was hunting for ingredients for a Witch’s potion. Mabel is at an age where she really gets into this sort of thing and got really excited every time she saw another sweetie jar with something scary inside for her to draw on her sheet.
By the time we had finished the witches potion trail, it was time for us to make our way to the train station for a trip on the ‘Flying Sorcerer’ with Sherlock Bones to solve the mystery of the headless gardener. The station and train were themed brilliantly for Halloween and all the children were given goody bags which was a lovely extra which we weren’t expecting and the lolly pops especially were very much appreciated by Mabel and Greta.
Once the train got going, straight away there were lots of scary sights to see along each side of the track and the children loved pointing out a vampire or some skulls hanging from tree branches as we chugged passed. Sherlock Bones, the detective hired to solve the mystery of why Barry the gardener had turned up to work one day without his head, provided commentary (and some terrible, terrible jokes) the whole way round and got the children shouting and screaming, it was like being in a moving pantomime a few months early!
After the train ride we went off to explore the gardens some more, the sun had come out in full force by the point, we really have been blessed with beautiful weather this October! I was absolutely mesmerised by the gardens and their stunning autumn colours, I wanted to investigate every little secret path and hidden walkway we came across. It really is a child’s dream, the most amazing natural playground that felt magical to be in and definitely bought out the child in me too and I held Mabel’s hand and ran through the trees, both of us excited to see what was around the next corner.
And of course I couldn’t help but take a few hundred photos, well it wouldn’t be a family day out if I didn’t fill my memory card, and they looked so cute in their little spider dresses!
Just before we left I was tempted (again) off of the path by this beautiful tree with stunning red leaves and while we were investigating we found a little red toadstool, or a fairy house as I told the girls! It was the perfect way to finish the day as the girls sat together and watched carefully for any signs of tiny fairies living underneath.
By the time we left the light was fading and our car was looking rather lonely in the carpark but we had had just the most amazing time together. This will definitely go down as one of those special days that we will remember for a long time.
I made a little video of our day if you want to check it out, including all the bits I haven’t even touched on here like the delicious lunch we got from the café and ate outside (in October!!), the play park, the pumpkin trail, and the scary trail in Witchers Wood.
I have just had a look on the website for Exbury gardens and they are only open for visitors for a few more days this season, but I did see something rather exciting looking, something about a Christmas postal express….
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