Wheelbarrows, torches and wellies to the ready – there is plenty of spellbinding family fun to be had this Halloween, in Ryedale, from catching a spectacular illuminated steam train to hopping on a handmade broomstick for a bone shaking experience with a difference.

Pumpkin picking is all the rage with pick-your-own patches magically popping up at farm shops Cedarbarn at Pickering, The Whole Hogg at Malton and The Balloon Tree at Stamford Bridge, and country houses Scampston Hall and Castle Howard, both near Malton, all ready to be harvested in time for that all-important Halloween carving.

New for 2021, admission to Castle Howard’s Pumpkin Patch is free of charge, with no need to book - just turn up, pick up a wheelbarrow and then head off in search of a pumpkin. It is open daily until Sunday 31 October from 10am-5pm, but on 23-24 and 30-31 October, families will also encounter Prudie Patch, one of Castle Howard’s most colourful characters, who will be helping everyone celebrate this year’s bountiful harvest with games and activities.  Other Halloween mischief for children includes helping to protect magical Ray Wood from dragon fire, pixie damage and rampaging war horses, or making and then learning to fly a broomstick.  Broomstick making sessions will take place daily from 23-31 October at 11.00am, 12.30pm and 2.00pm.  Tickets are free of charge but must be booked in advance.

Monster’ egg-rolling, ghoulish games and creepy craft followed by a Creepy Fun Story Walk around the grounds make for a fun-filled afternoon at Scampston Hall.  Halloween Trails are also available. Tickets can be purchased on the day or pre-booked.  For the Creepy Fun Story Walk, please wear wellies and bring a torch.  From Friday 29 to Sunday 31 Oct only.  Usual entry fees apply, activities are priced separately.

Fear in the Forest at Dalby Forest is a guided stroll that incorporates vampires, witches, ghoulish ghouls and some terrifying tails. This family friendly event is ideal for ages 5 and over and takes place on Saturday 30 October, from 6pm to 8.20pm.  Walks run every 10 minutes and each walk lasts 50 minutes.  Bring a torch, fancy dress costume optional.  Tickets cost £6 plus £1 non-refundable booking fee per person. (run in conjunction with Lady Lumley's School and University of Hull.)

For a bone shaking experience with a difference, on Saturday 30 October, budding mountain bikers can test their skills on the new pump track and cyclocross course at Sutton Bank.  The Rippers time trial has courses for 8-10-year-olds and 10-12-year-olds.  Registration and practise from 9am-10am. Event starts at 10.30am. £12 per entry.  Mini Shredders is perfect for balance bikes and children up to 8-years-old.  Registration and practise from 12.30pm-1.30pm.  Event starts at 2pm. Cost is £8.  Prizes and certificates for 1st, 2nd and 3rd boy and girl and a prize for the best fancy dress (Halloween) plus sweets!

For a brighter experience catch the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s Light Spectacular at Pickering Station.  In this megawatt display by one of the busiest steam heritage lines in the world, the heritage carriages will be illuminated by thousands of lights, before departing for an hour-long round journey with on-board narration and music.  Everyone embarking on the trip will be given an interactive LED wristband synchronised to the music so they become part of the show.  Departs from Pickering Station for Levisham Station every evening at 6pm and 7.45pm from 23 to 31 October.  Adult/Child fare is £25 per person.

Phillip Spurr, Programme Director of Place and Resources for Ryedale District Council, said: “Although we can’t promise every visitor to Ryedale a spectral encounter we have plenty of extra-special Halloween-themed events and activities that do promise lots of spooky fun for all the family.  Ryedale also has many mysterious and historic landmarks waiting to be explored that connect us with the people of the past – such as Wharram Percy, a mysterious deserted medieval village near Thixendale."