The family friendly mischief of the Púca Festival digs down into Halloween’s native roots, with eerie events across the towns of Slane, Trim and Athboy. Bring the kids on a woodland walk with otherworldly installations and aerialist performances at Slane Castle as it transforms into a playground for the spirits. Over in Trim the gang can get a spectacular view of an illuminated Trim Castle while in Athboy you can do The Tlachtga Experience and learn about Halloween where it began. Pre booking required for all events.
Enjoy a day of interactive games and play for all ages in Ashbourne, County Meath. Tayto Park sends you down their Tricky Trail, a treasure hunt with storytelling and magical performances to spark little imaginations. Find your treat (or trick) and visit the Scare Chair for a ghastly group photo. Event entry is included in all Tayto Park ticket prices, and under threes go free. Come nightfall, at Tayto Park After Dark experience the twists and turns of the mighty Cú Chulainn Coaster (Europe’s largest wooden roller coaster), or soar through the twilight on the Endeavour at dizzying speed. Tickets allow unlimited access to these white knuckle favourites and more (pre booking essential).
Have a ball at The Irish Military War Museum in Collon with Inflatables & Pumpkin Picking. Bounce through the obstacle course before grabbing a snack in the all weather seating area. Once you pick your perfect pumpkin, carve it in the marquee or take it away to make a macabre masterpiece later. It’s worth booking in advance and children’s tickets include a free pumpkin. At sundown, goblins and ghouls appear for Spooky Nights in the Museum! Each child is given a ghost busting torch to ward off spectres as the museum comes uniquely alive after hours and you can visit the pumpkin patch by starlight. Pre booking recommended (torch, pumpkin, entry into the inflatable paddocks, maze, and play area included with every kids’ ticket).
With fanciful Halloween activities for families with 2 to 12 year olds, there’s something creepy afoot at Causey Farm near Navan. Pooka Spooka has a Hayride that delights, while its award-winning Magic Show is spellbinding. You can test your mettle in the Tunnel of Terror (if you dare) or Mirror Maze. End the day with a spot of severed Limb Throwing but best to get a leg up by booking in advance (under twos free).
Join Boyne Boats on their Halloween Mythology Tour, and float back in time on Ireland’s oldest canal. Board in Oldbridge for a 90 minute Púca Paddle with tales of history and mystery as you wind along. Learn of Boann, Goddess of the Boyne and find out how the Salmon of Knowledge got so clever as the Boyne Canal’s legends unfold. Suitable for all ages and best to book in advance.
Just two minutes from Newgrange and neighbour to the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre is the Red Mountain Open Farm. There’s a range of amazing experiences at this working farm, many indoors, from playing in the Halloween Barn and Witches’ Den to cuddling fluffy bunnies. Junior farmers can test drive a toy tractor, or take a family spin on the Ghost Carriage. Book tickets in advance.
Get off the beaten track by walking or cycling the Carlingford Lough Greenway with the gang. The route passes old railway lines and the panoramic views across the mountains of Mourne make for a stunning backdrop. It’s a mostly flat, gravel trail and takes about an hour and a half to complete so not too tiring for little legs.
If it’s adventure you’re after set a course for Carlingford where you can be guaranteed an action-packed day. For activities, drop into Carlingford Adventure Centre where you can choose from over 20 including kayaking, water trampolines and rock climbing. There are three unique zones spread across Carlingford Lough and the Cooley Mountains, so no matter which activity you choose you know the setting will be stunning.
Fall under a different kind of spell in picturesque Oldcastle. Escape into the beauty and magic of Loughcrew Historic Gardens with its medieval moat and acclaimed sculptures like Alice in Wonderland. Kids will love the Enchanted Garden which transforms into a fantastic lightscape spectacle during the winter and will encounter fairies and other creatures along the way.