Get yourself and your little pumpkins into the Halloween spirit with these outdoor seasonal celebrations…
1. The Halloween Harvest Display at the National Botanical Gardens, Glasnevin. From now until the 31st, the Teak House at the National Botanical Gardens will be home to a dramatic display of their freshly harvested gourds, fruit, nuts, and seeds, as well as plump pumpkins deftly carved by members of the public. On Halloween itself, visitors can spin a giant spider web through a forest of oak trees and visit a witch’s garden, before attending the prize-giving for the most devilishly decorated pumpkin.
2. Virginia Pumpkin Festival, Cavan. This October bank holiday weekend (October 23-26), Virginia will once again hold its annual pumpkin festival, hosting a programme of exciting events for kids and adults alike. Their ‘Forest of Fears’ is advertised as spine-chilling, but there’s also plenty of non-nerve-racking entertainment for the more faint of heart, with an artisan food and craft fair, street entertainment and what is apparently Ireland’s largest fancy dress ball, as well as a fireworks display. Prices for ticketed events start from €5.
3. Rathwood Halloween Pumpkin Train, Carlow. At Rathwood Garden World from October 23-31, you are invited to dress up and take a spooky train trip on the Rathwood Express through their ‘enchanted woods’. Afterwards, make your way to the pumpkin patch and carve a pumpkin to take home with you. End the day by warming up with a complimentary hot chocolate. Tickets cost €6 for adults, €10 for children (free entry for babies).
4. Halloween Fun at Killruddery House & Gardens, Wicklow. Between 11am and dusk on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st of October, visitors to Killruddery can take part in a range of creative events, including the chance to participate in a highly competitive scarecrow-building contest to win a Killruddery hamper. Guests can also pick a pumpkin from the patch in their walled garden and design a carving, before having a master craftsman make that design a reality. Normal garden entrance fees apply (adults €6.50, children €2, and under-fours free) and tickets for activities are necessary (€9 for the pumpkin patch, €20 for the scarecrow competition).