10 not scary things to do in Manchester this half term

Turn terrorists on with our family-friendly roundup this October half term

The October half term is full of fears – from scary nights to the truly horrific amount of sugar inhaled by trick-or-treaters. Our Ellie-Jo digs deep into the spooky part of the collective unconscious (aka Halloween) and lists all the spooky pleasures you could possibly want.

But if you’re exhausted from all things Freddo Frogs and pumpkin-flavored, not to mention a little sensitive to ghouls and ghosts, our mid-term events include books, plays, science, nature, football, and more.

As always, we recommend checking details with the organizer as some events may change times and/or locations.

Read on for 10 other family-friendly activities in and around Manchester that aren’t intimidating and fun.


HOME has partnered with Manchester Libraries to run three family-friendly workshops this October for half term. These free ad hoc lessons will focus on storytelling and storytelling and encourage young children to develop their own stories. Alternative dates are available from the Powerhouse Library and Longsight Library.

St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD


Turn It Up exhibition will explore the power of music
Image: Museum of Science and Industry

Manchester Science Festival | Museum of Science and Industry | Friday 21st to Sunday 30th October

There’s something for every day of the half term, and then something for the Manchester Science Festival. We love the look of Giant Leaps, an interactive space-inspired installation by renowned choreographer Corey Baker. Or how about going to Arndale and using some Rhythmic Robots to pop and lock? The title exhibition is Open It: The Power of Music, which promises to be a fascinating exploration of the science of music. There are some adults-only activities, but mostly for learners of all ages, and there’s a lot to explore.

Liverpool Road, Manchester M3 4FP


Fan favorite Matt Oldfield, author of Incredible Football and co-author of the Ultimate Football Heroes series, will host a high-energy creative workshop focused on the upcoming World Cup. The event lasts an hour, after which Matt will sign copies of his books.

Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester M4 3BG


18 05 20 Manchester Craft Design Centre 2
Manchester Centre for Craft and Design hosts a day of happy hour at NQ
Image: Confidential

Autumn Fun Day | Manchester Centre for Craft and Design | 26 October

The North End may not be your first port of call to entertain your kids, but the Manchester Craft and Design Centre is hosting a family fun day to change the perception that it’s an adults-only playground. The centre will house Victoria Glover’s Leaf Printing Workshop, Claire Norcross’s Winter Sunshine Workshop and Book Exchange, plus you’ll find treasure hunt map collection points throughout the season.

Further afield, the Manchester Community Bike Kitchen will sell discounted bikes, the Canal and River Trust will lead the walk, and more to be announced. Combine a trip to Fred Aldous with one of our top 10 kids restaurants and you’ll have the perfect North End family day.

17 Oak Street, Manchester M4 5JD


Little Creatives Little Kids Drawing and Painting Credit The Lowry
Storytelling, drama, handicrafts and more
Image: Lowry

Image this | Lowry | Through October 30

Each section of this free family exhibit includes illustrations and artwork from children’s books that have adapted to the stage – from beloved modern pieces to iconic classics. In addition to this, footage of the stage production will be filmed, including various props, costumes, designs and posters. Want something more dramatic?display tiger for tea and black and blue brotherss is halfway through and Little Creatives is running a storytelling session for young people.

Pier 8, Pier, Salford, M50 3AZ


Kids take part in Dazzle Design Studio 1 V3
IWM North’s Veteran Shows Off
Image: IWM

Inspired by the work of artist Norman Wilkinson (not an OMD album), experimental camouflage with bold designs and shapes makes it possible to hide something the size of a battleship. Craft activities explore the fantasy that makes this possible. Plus, there are two Family Days during half term, where children will have the opportunity to talk to veterans about their war experiences.

Trafford Quay Road, Manchester M17 1TZ


Z Arts Exterior With Banners Hulme Best Independent Theatre in Manchester 2022
Z-Arts opens new children’s library this month
Image: Confidential

This beautiful fairy tale-inspired drama follows twins Atom and Luna as they venture into the dark woods in search of the red-bearded mother. It’s also an opportunity to explore the site’s brand new children’s library. Manchester Library has partnered with Z-arts to help them reimagine a previously unwelcome and unused space in a beautiful Edwardian building and turn it into a tribute to the magical power of reading.We can’t wait to see

335 Stretford Road, Hulme, M15 5ZA


Roald Dahl and Imagination Seekers Credit Lost and Found
Roald Gold: The Twits et al come to life
Image: Lost and Found

Who is JK? Roald Dahl remains one of our favorite slightly controversial children’s writers (Enid B last). Based on Dahl’s famous Dark Imaginings, the play is an immersive and interactive performance involving games and imaginative play.There are plenty of other lovely creations by the water this half term, including I spy with my little eyes For the little ones, if Roald isn’t your cup of tea, take a closer look at this program.

1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford M33 7ZF


Rhs Bridgewater Family Seedling Growth Activities Half Term Manchester
Digging Deeper – Nature’s Not All Roses
Image: RHS Bridgewater

Get a dose of vitamin N at RHS Bridgewater with a series of activities themed around nature’s more interesting side. There will be storytelling, miniature puppet shows, bug-themed crafts, mushroom lectures and deadly plant trails for kids. The Fairy Walk will nod to the ethereal side of the garden without being overly scary.

Occupy Road, Worsley, Salford M28 2LJ


Simply Cycling | Different Locations | Weekly

This regular cycling class is a great way to get some fresh air and try a bike you never thought you’d need – does anyone need a tricycle? Fun time, but will also help build confidence for those who don’t ride their bikes very often. Meetings were held at Longford Park in Stretford/Chorlton, Wythenshawe and Boggart Hole Clough. For more free or cheap exercise ideas, we recommend visiting the MCR Active website.


Read next: Top things to do in and around Manchester: October 2022

Read it again: 10 of the best restaurants for kids (and you) in Manchester city centre


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