Throughout the October half-term holiday, Bradford Council venues across the district will be hosting a range of engaging activities and events for children, young people, and families.
At Cliffe Castle in Keighley on Saturday 21 October, visitors can enjoy a day of apple-themed fun as part of Apple Day. Activities will include fruit tastings, crafts, and entertainment, all in celebration of this beloved seasonal fruit.
On Tuesday 24 October, Cliffe Castle will welcome a group of skilled palaeontologists for “Fossils in t’Hills”. They will explore various local fossils and share the story of Pholiderperton, the first creature to transition from water to land. Its fossil was discovered in a Bradford colliery and is now on display at the museum. Additionally, there will be dinosaur-themed activities, as well as arts and crafts for young children.
Theatre in a Box will also be presenting their production “The Banana Club and Me” at Cliffe Castle on Thursday 26 October. This performance tells the story of Jane Goodhall, an environmentalist, conservationist, and animal behaviourist.
At Bolling Hall on Sunday 22 October, there will be storytelling sessions with the Bradford Stories Bus, bulb-planting with volunteer gardeners, and an opportunity to decorate pots in a spooky style to take home. Children can also enjoy the Fairy Wardrobe with face painting, allowing them to transform into little witches and warlocks. Keep an eye out for magical book characters who will be making appearances. To end the day, visitors can join Frances Tempest for a museum tour, as it was once her home.
On Thursday 26 October, Bolling Hall will host Astronomical Activities, where children and families can learn about historic Bradford astronomer Abraham Sharpe, as well as modern-day astronomer Maggie Aderin Pocock. Activities with poet Natalie Davies will also be available. For younger children, there will be astronomical fun in ‘baby space’, featuring planet and star toys, along with story time.
Young children and families are invited to an Early Years Halloween Event on Sunday, 29 October at Bolling Hall. Attendees are encouraged to come in spooky costumes and take part in Halloween art and craft activities, biscuit decorating, spooky storytelling, and a ghost trail.
Renowned authors and illustrators Richard O’Neill and Michelle Russell will be at Cartwright Hall on Wednesday 25 October, sharing the story of Broad Ford to Bradford. The event will include a drawing workshop for children aged 5-11, as well as storytelling and craft activities for early years children.
This year’s Big Draw at Cartwright Hall on Thursday 26 October invites participants to draw with their senses and also offers the chance to create a lantern with the help of arts and crafts volunteers.
Lantern-making workshops will be held throughout the day on 27 October, preparing for the annual Lister’s Lantern Parade in the evening (5pm – 9pm).
Oastler Market will host an afternoon of crafting and creating with knitting, crochet, and textile arts on Wednesday 25 October. Additionally, a film for young children will be shown, and food from Oastler Market stall Frikasse will be available.
On 26 October, the National Science and Media Museum will present a Hocus Pocus Show at Oastler Market as part of their community outreach activities for Halloween and half term. The show will include 30-minute Halloween science sessions, where attendees can try their hand at finding spooky toys in oozing oobleck. Shows will run at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, and 2pm inside the Pop-Up Cinema, with activities on the Market Event Space, including free face painting from 11am to 3pm.
Local arts group Keighley Creative will deliver a Halloween workshop at Keighley Market on Saturday 28 October from 11am to 3pm, featuring arts and crafts, as well as free face painting. Kirkgate Market in Bradford will also offer free face painting on 28 October. The Joke Shop in the market will have a wide range of Halloween costumes, decorations, masks, and accessories for sale.
Bradford Libraries will host various activities during the half-term holidays as part of Bradford’s Family Learning Festival.
Join best-selling author and illustrator Kate Pankhurst to meet the star of her latest book, “We Are All Astronauts” – young astronaut in training, Luna Scope, on Saturday 21 October at Keighley Library (11am) and Shipley Library (2pm). Dive into the Milky Way with Luna as she discovers what it takes to become a space explorer. The session will be filled with space facts, stories of female space pioneers, dressing up, and drawing. Suitable for 4 to 10-year-olds. Booking is essential – contact the library directly.
Join Robin Simpson for an amazing storytelling show on Monday 23 October at Laisterdyke Library (10am) and Clayton Library (1pm), and on Tuesday 24 October at Keighley Library (10am) and Manningham Library (1pm). This inspirational journey from the Big Bang to the present day will be punctuated with mind-blowing facts that ignite curiosity about our incredible world. This show, brimming with family-friendly fun, quirky quizzes, and plenty of audience interaction, is suitable for children aged 4 to 8. Booking is essential – contact the library directly.
An interactive storytelling session based on Jeanette Winters’ beautiful book “Wangari’s Trees of Peace” will take place on Wednesday 25 October at Ilkley Library (10am) and Bingley Library (1pm), and on Thursday 26 October at Shipley Library (10am) and Eccleshill Library (1pm). Attendees will learn about the many ways trees help us, try their hand at leaf identification, and take a seed home. Suitable for children aged 5 to 11 (not suitable for under-fives). Booking is essential – contact the library directly.
Storytelling of “We Are All Astronauts” by the inspiring author and illustrator Kate Pankhurst, along with rocket decorating workshops, will take place at libraries across the district. On Saturday 21 October at City Library (11am), Monday 23 October at Eccleshill Library (2pm), Bingley Library (2.15pm), Manningham Library (4.30pm), Tuesday 24 October at Shipley Library (2pm), and on Thursday 26 October at Clayton Library (10am), Ilkley Library (10.45am), Laisterdyke Library (2pm). Suitable for children aged 0 to 8. Booking essential – contact the library directly.
Visit Wibsey Library on Saturday 21 at 11am for a reading of Olympic champion Mo Farrah’s book “Ready Steady Mo” and crafty activities. Suitable for children aged 0-8. Booking essential – contact library directly.
“Izzy Gizmo” by Pip Jones will be read for story time. There will be rocket activity and space-themed crafts on Wednesday 25 October at Silsden Library (10.30am). Suitable for all and no booking is required. The same session, but suitable for children aged 0-8, will be at Great Horton Library on Thursday 26 October at 12 noon. Booking is essential – contact the library directly.
Story time at Wyke Library on Friday 27 October at 10.30am will feature a reading of “Fantastically Great Women Who Worked Wonders” written by the author and illustrator Kate Pankhurst. Attendees can also take part in a volcano-making workshop and make shadow puppets. Suitable for children aged 0-8. Booking is essential – contact the library directly.
There are events taking place in parks across the district, including a Halloween Trail organised by the Friends of Prince of Wales Park, Bingley, between 23 and 31 October. Participants should start at the Eldwick entrance to the park and bring a torch if coming after dark.
The Friends of Peel Park have organised a Scarecrow Trail on Thursday 26 October from 11am to 3pm. Trail maps will be available from Peel Park Y&C Hub.
The Friends of Harold Park have organised a Halloween Ghost Hunt on 28 October. There’ll be a fancy-dress competition (judging at 4pm), games and stalls, refreshments, and a barbecue, along with a DJ.
For those seeking an outdoor adventure this half term, the council’s Water Activities Centre and Adventure Development Unit have some exciting courses on offer.
At Doe Park, there’ll be full-day Swing and Splash sessions for ages 9-16, with half a day on the water, kayaking, and raft building, and half a day on the high ropes.
Half-day Mountain Bike Adventure sessions for ages 9-16 start at Baildon Recreation Centre and cover fantastic routes in the surrounding Shipley Glen area.
At the Adventure Development Archery Introduction sessions for ages 9-16, participants will learn basic techniques, gain tips for improving their aim, and then take part in a friendly competition with other participants.
Children aged 5-8 can go on a Mini Adventure, experiencing the outdoors from an early age. All activities are tailored for the age group and weather conditions. Activities could include climbing the tower, archery, biking, bushcraft, and orienteering.
Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “This is such an exciting and extensive programme of events being offered to children and families this October half term. There is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.”
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