Nature can be fascinating and inspiring but what about the strange and the freaky? There’s no doubt that October half term takes a spook-tacular focus as Halloween approaches. On a quest to help keep your family entertained this autumn, RSPB England’s Becca Smith delves into the world outside to discover creepy crawlies, freaky fungi and investigates what goes bump in the night.

Photo: Spooky Halloween Trail. Credit: Phil Barnes

Go wild in nature

The weather outside may have you wanting to cosy up with a scary film, but what about if you’ve had one too many a movie snack or sweet treat and now you’ve got energy to burn? There’s plenty of fun to be had at one of our reserves across the country, so why not wrap up warm and get splashing in puddles, scuffing up leaves and grabbing a breath of fresh air at a reserve near you. There’s great days out available from just £6 a month with our family membership.

What’s more, there’s a great selection of Halloween inspired events to take part in (safely of course) at our sites too. Keep your eyes peeled for some spooky things to be found along our treasure trails!

Photo: Girl dressed as a witch runs through nature. Credit: Phil Barnes

Look to the skies

We associate lots of characters like vampires with Halloween – you may have even dressed up as one! But what about Vampire bats? Freaky right? Thankfully, only 3 in the 1,300 species of bat actually feed on blood – instead, look up to the skies as dusk falls for a chance to spot bats as they feed on insects in the air. Bats will soon go into hibernation for winter and will be feeding up in preparation, so why not give them a helping hand by building a bat box for them to cosy up in?

Freaky fungi

Did you know that there are lots of fungi to be found that have spooky names? Whether it’s at home, in your local park, or at one of our reserves, delve into rotting wood piles and look under leaves for a chance to spot dead man’s fingers, jelly ears, deathcaps, or witch’s butter (otherwise known as yellow brains!) on your fungi hunt this Autumn. What’s more, tick off the ones you find with the help of our wild challenge printable guide here.

Photo: Jelly brain/witches butter fungus. Credit: Lucy Hodson

Grab a midnight snack

Telling spooky stories by torchlight wouldn’t be complete without some tasty treats. Don your chef’s hat and get cooking with these wild ideas for tasty nature themed snacks, whether it’s slithering snakes, slippery slugs or bug-topped pizzas.

Creepy Crawlies

Bugs and insects might give you the heebie jeebies when you find them in your bathtub, but what about giving them a home of their own? With lots of autumn leaves on the ground, now is the perfect time to create a minibeast hotel filled with sticks and twigs. What’s more, why not have a go at identifying some of the creepy crawlies you find using this guide?

Photo: Building a bug hotel. Credit: Andy Hay

What’s that scuffling?

There’s no doubt that prickly hedgehogs can be one of our favourite garden visitors, but their scuffling noises in the night might give you a fright at first! As the nights get colder, feeding the hungry hogs in your garden can help them build up their fat reserves for their long winter hibernation. Take a look at how to create your very own feeding station using our guide here.

There’s more?!

For more free activities for all the family this October half term, the RSPB’s Wild Challenge is a great place to start. Choose from over 30 fun and engaging activities ranging from bug hotels and bird boxes to making a compost heap and drawing wildlife. Get stuck in and discover nature at home – don’t forget to log your achievements to collect bronze, silver and gold awards too!

Photo: A family enjoy Wild Challenge activities. Credit: Martin Poyner