Halloween half-term fun at Shakespeare’s Houses

A variety of enterainment is on offer at Shakespeare Bithplace Trust of the half-term holidays

A WEEK of special activities including pumpkin carving, ghost story telling and potion making will take place at the five Shakespeare Family Homes during half-term next week.

Get creative and come up with your own pumpkin designs in daily carving sessions at Mary Arden’s Farm in Wilmcote, a small charge of £1.50-£3 applies depending on the size of the pumpkin!

The family home of William Shakespeare’s mother will also host the brilliant ZooLab on Monday, 29 October, with their highly-entertaining Tudor workshops that give visitors the chance to meet a motley collection of creatures and learn about what life was like when Shakespeare was growing up, while on Wednesday, 31 October, Castle Small Puppet Theatre return to the farm with their magical castle to perform a special Halloween show that is guaranteed to enchant the little ones. Performances are at 12.30pm and 2.30pm.

Macbeth comes to Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford town centre with potion-making around the cauldron throughout the week. New Place was the site of two murders that could have been plucked from one of Shakespeare’s plays — and you can hear the stories of murder most foul as they happened on the Bard’s doorstep in the Murder and Mayhem talks every day at 2pm, and on Saturday, 3 November, historical interpretations company Live’n History will deliver two, 30-minute costumed presentations on the story of The Gunpowder Plot and its failure, plus the dramatic aftermath, and how the plotters escaped into Warwickshire. Performances are at 12pm and 1pm.

Head to the Family Activity Marquee at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage — now sponsored by Cameron Homes — between 12pm and 4pm every day and make some spooky crafts to take home. ZooLab will also be taking their animal workshops to the cottage on Thursday, 1 November.

At Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Henley Street in Stratford, enjoy spooky talks at 12noon and 2pm on superstitions, witches, ghosts, and nightmares; watch the Trust’s own acting troupe Shakespeare Aloud! throughout the day as they recreate scenes featuring the ghosts that appear in Shakespeare’s plays in many ways; and follow the Familiars Trail. Witches’ Familiars help make magic and mischief, and they have hidden themselves around the Birthplace — find them all and learn their mysterious, mystical names.

Zoolab will also be hosting their workshops at Hall’s Croft. Find out how this motley collection of creatures were used in medicine as an alternative to the popular herbal remedies of the day in workshops that will take place regularly throughout Friday, 26 October.

All five properties are cared for by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which generates 98 per cent of its income through the support of visitors, donors, volunteers and Friends, visit www.shakespeare.org.uk