Spooks and scares for the whole family at Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo is challenging families all across the country to celebrate Halloween by carving creepy-crawly pumpkins as part of a spook-tacular Halloween programme and exclusive family promotion.

From scuttling spiders to slithering snails and swarms of cockroaches, families who bring animal-themed carved pumpkins to the zoo will get a free child ticket (15 years and under) with every full paying adult this weekend, Friday October 27, until Monday, October 30, writes Imogen Lovie

A selection of the very best pumpkin designs brought in by visitors will be displayed in the zoo entrance until Halloween when all pumpkins received will be composted afterwards and used by the RZSS Edinburgh Zoo Gardens team to help fertilise plants in the park in future months.

Twins Max and Oscar launch Edinburgh Zoo’s Halloween programme

The pumpkin challenge coincides with RZSS Edinburgh Zoo being invaded by Scotland’s most skin-crawling collection of insects until October, Sunday 29. Visitors can explore the limited-edition ‘Creepy Crawlies Exhibition’ featuring giant millipedes, crickets, beetles, stick insects, spiders, cockroaches, giant snails, spiders and a host of other weird and wonderful bugs.

The interactive exhibition will run daily from 11am-3pm in the Budongo Trail Lecture Theatre throughout the October school holidays and is free with zoo admission. There will be insect handling sessions throughout the day for any brave enough youngsters and creative craft activities.

For grown-ups who aren’t keen on eight-legged friends, Edinburgh Zoo is hosting a Spiders: Fight Your Phobia workshop with top clinical hypnotherapist Morag Torrance on November, Sunday, 5. In the afternoon workshop, attendees will face their fears through hypnosis and the chance to meet the Zoo’s most friendly spiders if they feel confident enough.

The jungle nymph is just one of the creepy crawlies to see at Edinburgh Zoo this Halloween

Visitors to the zoo can also explore its newest permanent exhibition, Wee Beasties. Featuring reptiles, amphibians and exotic insects, it explores the importance and diversity of our smallest animals and the important role they play in the natural world. Favourites include the iconic Natal dwarf chameleon, blue poison arrow frog and the zoo’s Chilean rose tarantula.

Bruce Ritchie, head of business operations and Visitor Experience at Edinburgh Zoo, said: ‘This year we’re presenting a skin-crawling Halloween programme with the chance for visitors to meet Edinburgh Zoo’s most weird and wonderful animals. We’re challenging families to create carved pumpkins for access to our exclusive family offer.’