When I was a kid, Halloween was never particularly celebrated but all that has changed and more and more events have been gaining in popularity over the years, particularly in our local area, from parties, to trick or treat gatherings. Monkey insists we have to decorate the house, and carve a huge scary face in the biggest pumpkin we can buy. We also have a ton of sweets in supply for the eager children who knock on the door.
He is still young, so I am aware that some of the darker elements of Halloween could prove a little too scary for him. So when we were invited to experience Chessington’s World of Adventure Resorts Howl ‘O’ Ween spectacular, I was a little sceptical that it would really appeal to the whole family.
For the duration of this half term, the theme park has been transformed into a spooky extravaganza with ghoulish decorations, and new spine-chilling attractions including Trick or Treat Wood, and the Creepy Caves Unearthed.
Meanwhile, visitors can also experience the usual rides but in the cloak of darkness, such as Vampire and Rameses’ Revenge.
Monkey is a little too young to go on those, but he was ever so excited to learn that we could go on the Gruffalo River Ride (which we did about five times!) and visit his favourite animals around the zoo, including the Sea Life Centre.
He was also transfixed by the men and women who were dressed up in suitably frightening attire and realistic make up, especially as they kept in role the whole time. He was stunned, however, when a whole gang of them descended into a flash mob and began dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. They were brilliant.
After being reassured that Trick or Treat Wood would be suitable for him, we lined up to enter and came face to face with a goblin. Choosing a path, we also encountered a pixie, a fairy and other magical creatures along our expedition. It was done superbly by the actors who were faultless in their roles. I think Monkey was a little perplexed judging by his face when we found our way out of the woods. Lighthearted, this attraction wouldn’t be too frightening for young children.
And neither was the Room on the Broom Spooky Storytime. A live stage performance of Julia Donaldson’s much-loved tale of the kindly witch and her animal friends. Monkey really enjoyed watching one of his favourite stories come to life, but he wasn’t up for joining in with the fancy dress contes – even though he looked fabulous as Darth Vader.
As much as I love going on adrenaline fuelled rides, i decided that if I was going to do one thing without Monkey it would be the Creepy Caves Unearthed. Recommended for brave 10 year olds and over, I assumed it wouldn’t be too bad – but as I entered the makeshift tent and was read a long list of caveats, an overriding sense of dread washed over me.
Luckily, at the last-minute, a large group joined me, and I am so glad – otherwise it would have been pretty hellish on my lonesome!
I won’t go into too many details because I don’t want to ruin the experience if you get to go yourselves in the next week, but a strange species of plant has been unearthed and its toxins have caused all manner of chaos in a quarantined lab which you enter…
All I will reveal is, I screamed – a lot. And jumped out of my skin a few times, too.. It was great fun, after my heart decided to return to a normal rate. If you’re easily scared or have a nervous disposition I absolutely do not recommend doing this.
After scoffing our faces with doughnuts and hot chocolate, it was time to head home. We all had a brilliant time and it was a great way to gear up for not only the half term but for Halloween.
Howl ‘O’ Ween at Chessington has a great mixture of old and new, and they’ve really gone to town with the whole eerie and ghostly theme. So if you love celebrating Halloween, there really is something for the whole family. Just remember to consult the Spook Rating Guide before you dare to try any of the attractions – you don’t want to be caught unaware…
Or do you???!!
Howl ‘O’ Ween is currently on at Chessington World of Adventure Resorts until 31 October 2017. The park will be open until late. Tickets cost from £26 or £30 including entrance to Creepy Caves Unearthed.