Anyone who knows us will know how big a fan Lily is of Chessington World of Adventures, so for us to kick off half term with a trip to Chessington’s Howl’o’ween event, she could not have been any more excited.
In fact, Christmas and Halloween are her two favourite times of the year, so her excitement levels were bursting.
Our half term is a week earlier than most people, so the event was much quieter than it could be during peak half term, however we were also super lucky with the weather and it was about 17 degrees for us when we first visited.
Was it everything our 7-year-old could have dreamed of? Yes, and more – so much so, that we ended up sneaking back for a second visit that week for the Howl’o’ween event with our Merlin Annual Passes, and loved it just as much the second time, even in the pouring rain!
Please note, this review doesn’t cover the Creepy Caves as we didn’t think it would be right for our daughter just yet.
What to expect
For those with annual passes, the Howl’o’ween event is all included, you simply pre-book in the normal way online. We also had one non-passholder with us, so we booked friends & family tickets online.
Without the annual passes, you can book day tickets online – cheaper booked in advance rather than on the door.
The rides were all operating as normal for the event (some rides are closed during the winter event), with queue times ranging from 5-10mins on most rides through to about 25mins for Vampire.
We made it on the very first Vampire of the day, much to Lily’s excitement, and then walked straight onto Kobra right afterwards – even on a very sunny October Sunday. Nothing particular was done with the rides for Halloween, but they’re always our favourite, so we couldn’t wait to get through the gates!
The shows were fantastic as always – we thought the Trick or Treat show on the main stage was so good that we watched it again the second time we visited… the team handing out treats also helped the kids too! I just love how much effort and dedication the entertainment team always put into the performances – their energy really shines through their performances.
It was the Banyan Circle of 8 show that totally blew our minds – complete with red smoke and flames, it really was next level fantastic! Some younger children were a bit afraid of the actors, but we thought they were great.
Lily also fell in love with Violet, both in the hotel and in the park – she enjoyed cuddles and hiding in her wings especially – she’s definitely one of our favourite mascots now!
Lily is too small for Creepy Caves just now, so we can’t comment on that for a few more years!
Dear Chessington, if you ever decide to retire your animal print pumpkins, we would happily give them a loving home, lots of love, Kaz and Lily!!
The decorations around the park were lovely – not too overwhelming, just perfectly in the mix of Halloween and safari animals around the park.
Photo opportunities were everywhere if you wanted them, with animal print pumpkins, cauldrons, Creepy Caves photo op and Halloween wreaths around to keep in with the theme.
The giant pumpkins you can hide behind were great too – it was the right balance of family-friendly Halloween decorations without being too creepy.
The food & drink
We do like to check out any seasonal treats at Chessington’s Costa when we visit, particularly after Lily’s excitement at the rainbow cupcakes for Mardi Grrra earlier in the year.
For Halloween, the Costa has some fun themed cupcakes – I didn’t see any varieties for dairy-free except the vegan brownies, but they had all the usual Costa seasonal hot drinks which was great too.
Don’t forget, passholders get 20% off!
The resort hotels
On the first visit, we stayed in the Chessington Hotel – our half term is different to most others’ so it was more affordable for us and not too busy.
The hotel had been decorated with pumpkins and wreaths, as well as some cobwebs and other Halloween decorations (though some was from a plastic Tesco bag which didn’t seem too environmentally friendly!), plus the evening entertainment for kids was seasonal too.
Lily absolutely loved the shows with Wilf the werewolf and Violet, having the chance to dance with them and get some cuddles and photos. There were only a couple of other kids in the evening entertainment as it was so quiet, so Lily loved the extra time with them, as well as the colouring/activities provided between entertainment sessions.
We always love our hotel stays at Chessington and this was our first time in the Azteca hotel (Discovery Room) rather than the Safari hotel – I don’t know if it was just me, but I think I preferred the Safari hotel. Saying that, we had a brilliant time and Lily loved having her own little den in the bedroom area as well as finding the clues to get the treats from the treasure chest (using the safe code!).
We also had a Halloween in-room spooky package which had a Vampire plush toy, treats, bucket and a few other little treats to make it even more seasonal.
Apparently, Chessington used to do spooky (family friendly) room visits with the team (similar to the Elf Wake Up Call at Christmas), but this wasn’t an option this year, however Lily loved the in-room package to kick off her half term Halloween adventures and we can’t wait to go back at Christmas.
A massive thank you to the Chessington World of Adventures team for another amazing visit. Your events just blow us away every time, and having been to all the events this year, we can safely say that this was one of our favourites.
The entertainment team and resort hotel staff always go above and beyond to make your visit memorable and this was the same for the Halloween event. If it’s something spooky you’re after then maybe try Creepy Caves (again, can’t comment on that!), but if you’re after just happy, not-so-spooky, Halloween fun for all the family, I can’t recommend Chessington enough for their Halloween event.
See you again for Christmas!