Spooky Spellbound Festival at Castle Espie (26 Oct – 3 Nov)

For those who are feeling brave, bring your little monsters along for a whole host of Halloween events running from Saturday 26 October to Sunday 3 November.

There’s something to keep everyone entertained from face painting, haunted tours, storytelling, hubble, bubble, toil and trouble with Magnus Vikings, arts & crafts, owls, fancy dress competition plus lots more ghoulish activities.

We have listed a few of the key highlights that will be taking place during the festival for full details visit wwt.org.uk/visit/castleespie  or call us on 02891 874146.

To kick off the event on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 October  we have our popular Bird Feeder Workshops – come along and learn the best way to feed birds as the colder weather approaches. Castle Espie Bird Watching Club will be on hand to help you make a variety of bird feeders to hang in your garden from peanut, sunflower to fat ball feeders. Extra cost applies to cover materials. 12noon – 4pm both days.

The kids will also have the chance to create their very own diabolical Halloween picture using a printing press and to finish try out the DIY spooky spider craft. Activities will run from 11am – 4pm.

Terrible Tales of Terror, 28 – 31 Oct.  During the Halloween Season thousands of Pale-bellied Brent geese can be heard cackling across the dark Lough during the night of Halloween. These birds have travelled across Iceland and Greenland on their migration to the shores of Strangford Lough; islands which were once the home of Vikings and places of dark & foreboding legends. Visit us and hear these tales whilst toasting marshmallows on the fire. 11am – 4.00pm.

Spooky Fright Night, 29 Oct.  Storytelling for those who do not scary easily. Journey into the deep, dark, and somewhat dank woods of Castle Espie to hear the whispered stories that have made this visitor attraction one of the top 10 most haunted places in Northern Ireland. Tales of a mystery woman, lost Victorian children, and diabolical acts of darkness. Booking is essential,  cost for adults is £10 and children £5. For WWT members £3.75 for adults and £2 for children.

On the 30 and 31 October a selection of reptiles and creepy crawlies will be visiting giving you the chance to get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures. If you prefer your creatures to be on the fluffier side Mantella Environmental Education will be joining us with a selection of birds of prey (Wed 31 Oct, 12 – 4pm only).

Bring the little ones along to the Drumlin Theatre and show us your monster moves during our Monster Mash Disco. From 1pm to 4pm, suitable for up to 12 years old plus mums and dads.

“Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble”…with Magnus Vikings who will have a challenge or riddle for you to complete. If you dare and fail you might find yourself turned into a frog! Only you know if you are brave enough to take them on!?!

Halloween-inspired arts & craft, 28 – 31 Oct.  Will include jelly spiders, mallow monsters, magic candle stick workshops (30 – 31 Oct 11am  – 2.30pm), make a bat mask, get a pumpkin carved. PLUS come dressed up and be in with a chance to win the fancy dress competition and of course our face painter will be here to help you get ready for your Halloween parties on the 30 & 31 Oct, 12pm – 4pm.

On the 2 & 3 November join us for an afternoon of ‘tree-mendous’ fun. Accompany Robin McKee, our resident tree expert, around the reserve and learn about the various types of trees native to Northern Ireland. You will also get the opportunity to help him plant a variety of native species on site and find out the importance of coppicing.  Our friendly hedge-witch, Marian Partridge, will also be on hand to introduce you to ‘The Standing People’. Meet the trees, and learn how to spell your name in tree language. Hear her tales of folklore and of the characters of trees that can be found in our woods. So all in all – an agreeable two days of science for anyone interested in the trees of our Island.  Spaces are limited, so contact reception to book your space. 1pm – 3pm.

These events will make Castle Espie the favourite fright destination for all the family throughout Halloween half term, don’t miss out! Please refer to website for festival activities, timings and cost – wwt.org.uk/visit/castleespie.