Photo of Halloween Pumpkin lanterns to illustrate Bristol half term

BAM October Half Term Guide 2017

And just like that, it’s half term. As always, Bristol has stepped up to the plate and the arty offerings for families is unreal. Here are just some of our highlights…

Big Draw
Tues 24 Oct
11:00 – 15:00
FREE (donations welcome)
Sadly there isn’t much going on in Bristol for The Big Draw this year but luckily the Arnolfini are filling the void. Explore drawing in innovative and creative ways with the help of UWE’s Drawing and Print students. Spark your imagination and see what you come up with. And don’t forget to to visit Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! while you’re there.

Witch & Wizard School
21 – 29 Oct
Various times
Tickets £15
Little witches and wizards will be put into houses to take part in potions, spells and broomstick classes! Ticket includes a witch/wizard hat, a broomstick, slime to take home, flying license and pumpkin carving. There’s also all sorts of other Spooky Fun to enjoy while you’re there including creepy crawlies, hellish hog racing and daily scare sessions. Or if you’re a Halloween fiend, leave the kids at home and go in the evening for the frankly terrifying looking FEAR AT AVON VALLEY!

25 – 28 Oct
11:00 and 14:00 each day
Tickets £9 (under 2s go free)
Featuring a monkey suit, a massive banana and circus skills galore, this show tells the tale of a circus troupe overcoming hardship through cooperation and collaboration. Part of Bristol’s Circus City Festival, this show is recommended for ages 4+.

Halloween Fun Day
Sun 29 Oct
11:00 – 16:00
Animation, live music, lantern making, games, cake decorating, face painting and more at this spookily jam-packed day!

Easton Pumpkin Parade
Sat 28 Oct
16:00 – 18:30
Dress up in your best Halloween garb, bring a pumpkin and join this annual trail between two local playgrounds. If you’re not based in Easton, there are lots more events like this around Bristol so keep your eyes peeled in your local area.

Picture Book Trail
Throughout October
Shop hours
If you’re hitting up Gloucester Road, local publisher Book Island have put together a trail to keep the little legs entertained. Hunt down the books, answer the clues and you could be with a chance of winning £60 worth of books for you and your school.

Hip Little People Pop Up
Sun 22 Oct
11:00 – 17:00
A chance to browse gifts and kids clothing while the little legs make capes with Let’s Make Art (£2) and listen to stories by Lemon Drop Books. Tatterhood will also be reading her poems and it’s a chance to explore this lovely new space off Gloucester Road. There will also be craft sessions at the Kiln Workshop throughout half term and you can find out more about it in our interview with owner, Louise Ogden.

Jump Into Half Term
23 – 26 Oct
Various times
Prices range from FREE to £25
Young people aged 10 – 21 have the opportunity to get stuck into aquarium photography, animation and skateboard design during these creative workshops. Booking required.

Sailor’s Scars & Woeful Wounds
21 – 29 Oct
11:00 – 16:00
Included in admission price (starts at £8)
Inspired by grizzly tales of Victorian injuries, get your kids kitted out with their own prosthetic wounds and revel in the funny looks you get from Daily Mail readers on the bus going home! There’ll also be a chance to mingle with unsavoury characters from below deck (including a rat catcher and his real live rats!) or you can take a spooky after dark tour on 28 & 29 Oct.

Spooky Sue’s Halloween Disco
Sat 28 Oct
12:00 – 16:00
Tickets £13.20 per person
Halloween fun with Andy Day (him off CBeebies), DJ Cheeba and Junior Jungle. Complimenting this eclectic line up is our friends Let’s Make Art who’ll be decking you out with lanterns and glow stick accessories.

Squeezy Green’s Compendium of Games
22 & 29 Oct
Tickets from £6 (under 3s go free)
To celebrate Bristol’s Circus City Festival, take part in this afternoon of games and challenges from these Wardrobe Theatre regulars. With circus skills aplenty, you can enjoy from the comfort of your seat or get involved in some good old audience participation!

A Strange New Space
24 – 28 Oct
11:00 & 14:00
Tickets £8 (under 3s go free)
Join Tessa Bide on a non-verbal journey through space. Using puppetry and music, this adventure explores the life of a refugee offering up lots of bangs, whooshes and fizzes.

And if you fancy a change of scene, here are some out of town adventures…

Shadow Puppetry Workshop
Fri 27 Oct
11:00 – 15:45
Ticket price included in garden entry
Explore Mexican Day of the Dead through the art of shadow puppetry and performance. Led by puppeteer Tallulah Swirls. Ages 5-10. Booking essential. There is also a family fun trail to take part in (£2 each).

Day of the Dead Fiesta
Sun 29 Oct
12:00 – 15:00
Ticket price included in garden entry
More Day of the Dead celebrations with an opportunity to make your own skull mask or model to take home, whilst listening to a genuine Mexican Mariachi band playing traditional songs touching on love, betrayal, death, politics, revolution, and country life.

MAKE Half Term Workshops
25 & 26 Oct
9:00 – 16:00
Tickets £35
Half term workshops led by Let’s Make Art where children can spend the entire day exploring their creativity and creating colourful characters and stories.

Pumpkin Festival
Sun 29 Oct
11:00 – 16:00
Dress up as a pumpkin and celebrate all things gourd, including live music, pumpkin carving and workshops for all ages. Always a good day out to be had at this out of town idyll.

And last but not least…

Bristol Family Arts Festival
Throughout October
Various times
Various prices but lots are FREE
This citywide celebration of family creativity is in full swing but half term has some particularly good pickings! Click below to see our highlights…


Yana and the Yeti
21 – 25 Oct
Various times
Tickets £8
The story of a friendship between a young girl and a hairy mountain monster is told through beautiful puppetry and music. Recommended for ages 5+.

Bristol Family Arts Festival Finale
Sat 28 Oct
13:00 – 16:00
The festival draws to a close with an afternoon of creativity, experimentation and games brought to you by Arnolfini, Architecture Centre, Watershed, Children’s Scrapstore and Bristol Open Doors Day.

Holiday Family Fun: Halloween
Wed 25 Oct
11:00 – 15:00
Pay What You Think
Explore the collection through hands on activities and a scary fairy door trail. Suitable for ages 3-10 and their families.

Mexican Day of the Dead
Sun 29 Oct
10:00 – 17:00
Pay What You Think
Annual celebration with music, dance, face painting, crafts and a chance to remember your own ancestors.

Stay and Play Holiday Sessions
23, 25 – 27 Oct
Tickets £5 (£4 for siblings)
Monsters, lanterns, spooky castles and more in these ever inventive workshops at the wonderful Scrapstore. The regular Super Saturday session will also be running on 21 Oct and there are also candle and costume making workshops Holiday Sessions for ages 8+.

Somali Family Fun Day
Sat 28 Oct
11:00 – 15:00
FREE (donations welcome)
Part of Black History Month, you’ll be able to dress up, create your own Somali name and have a go at craft activities with Children’s Scrapstore.

Lantern Making
21 – 29 Oct
10:30 – 12:30 each morning
Tickets £3
Make your own paper lantern to take home with you. There will also be pumpkin carving workshops each afternoon as well as a spooky Halloween trail. Book your half hour slot via the website.

Drag Queen Storytime
Sat 21 Oct
11:00 – 12:30
Tickets £2.50
A morning of stories and songs celebrating the imagination and fun of gender fluidity with local drag queen Alyssa Van Delle. Most suitable for ages 6-11 but everyone is welcome.

24 – 29 Oct
13:30 each day
Tickets from £4.50
Stop motion film telling the story of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and her parallel reality. Watershed are also showing fairytale classic The Princess Bride from 21-23 Oct.

As always, this guide is full of events that we think look amazing but they’re not affiliated with us in any way. Please check with venues for up to date information before setting out. And if you think there’s something we should have included, let us know!

And last but not least, have a great time!
💥 BAM 💥

Header photo by Javier Molina on Unsplash

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