It’s almost Halloween! Fun times ahead, the kids are off, you are off, there’s plenty of time to spend together… the novelty of which lasts a day and a half.

By the end of day three you are praying for a miracle. You still haven’t completed all the housework you PROMISED yourself (and your other half) you would do. As the hours clock on you realise, if you do not get yourself to the local supermarket to purchase that Elsa dress or Spiderman outfit, you will be eternally HATED by your children.

After witnessing a barrage of pumpkin uploads from other parents on your Instagram page, you try your hand at pumpkin carving. You believe this would be a fun and enjoyable experience for all the family. You would be wrong. You fight with your 6 year old over why they cannot actually use a kitchen knife bigger than their face. Your 3 year old no longer wants to touch a pumpkin after smelling one. Finally, your 12-year-old continues to actively voice how lame your pumpkin is, as it doesn’t resemble ANYTHING like the pumpkins they saw on YouTube. In turn you are left with pumpkin mush everywhere, squabbling kids, a worn down spouse and half hacked gourds.

On top of that all your trendy mates (people without children) keep asking, “What are your plans for Halloween? How about dinner on Halloween? Can’t you just get a babysitter?” – Just a babysitter, babysitters are gold dust; they also are usually 16-25 years old, which means they are DEFINITELY NOT available on Halloween night. They would rather whore it up, down some shots and snog the face off Dracula.

With everything and anything happening all at once here are top picks for activities that will help you create the work/life/family/parent/person/life balance over half tem.

 

1. Monster Mash

Titanic Slipways, Oct 31, evening activity, all ages, FREE

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Perfect for all the family to share some actual fun time together. It ends with fireworks, who doesn’t love fireworks?

Beginning at 4pm, the entertainment line-up will feature:
• an array of street theatre and walkabouts
• breathtaking fire shows and jugglers
• face painting
• wicked workshops
• fairground rides
• on stage live music
• a range of hot food, drinks, sweets and Halloween fancy goods available for purchase

For more info visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/halloween

2. The Dark Dark Room and more

The MAC theatre, until Nov 1, evening activities, 0-12 years

Dark Dark Room

The Mac is hosting a series of evening activities and entertainment for babies right up to 12 year olds. The advantage is that they are not all on Halloween night. Phew. Ergo, there is less chance you will double book family time and ‘me’ time.

Top picks are Wolf and Better, Grim and Grime, Terrifying Tales and The Dark Dark Room

For more information visit on dates, times and costs visit www.themactheatre.com

3. Boo at the Zoo

Belfast Zoo, Oct 31, day activity, all ages, FREE (for children in fancy dress)

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Belfast Zoo is putting on its annual Halloween event for the children. The advantage? Children, who wear fancy dress, get in FREE (happiness).

They describe their event as, “There will be a FANG-tastic day of fiendish fun for all the family at the Cave Hill site, including creepy crafts, freaky face painting, bewitching bat talks, Mr Hullabaloo’s children’s interactive children’s theatre and you can even watch the animals tucking into their special ‘trick or treat’ pumpkins.”

This only applies to Saturday October 31, so don’t turn up on Friday kitted out. This is a great way to spend family time together, during the day for all children 0-17 years.

For more information visit www.belfastzoo.co.uk

4. Jumping Camp

Methodist College, October 26-30, all day activity, 4-12 years

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You can drop your kids off for the whole day and live the life you once had. Your children will enjoy an array of activities, including Jumping Clay modelling workshops games, film club and fun. Early drop off and late pick up available and FOC for everyone. Cost is £25/day or £110/week. Family discount available.

Great if you need your children entertained or if you need a little extra help childcare over the half term break.

To book visit www.jumping.co.uk or call 02890204180.

5. Jumping Clay Halloween Workshops

Stranmillis Road and Belmont Tower, October 26-31, daytime activity, 4-12 years

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You can drop the children off for a two hour special Halloween workshop. Children will create models, they can dress up and you are free for 2hrs to do what you want with your life. Cost is £12.50/2hr sessions.

To book visit www.jumping.co.uk or call 02890204180.

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