Saturday, 27 October 2012

Places & Events: Model Village Halloween Evening of Mini Horrors

The Halloween flag
The Halloween Evening of Mini Horrors at Model Village in Babbacombe, Torquay,  is running this year from October 22nd - October 31st. Prepare yourselves for zombies, vampires, werewolves, witches, pumpkins, ghosts, monsters and more, all set in a miniature world!

A shot of some of the miniature models and real plant life
I didn't know quite what to expect from the evening, as the last time I visited Model Village was for school, with some German exchange students when I was about 14 and I don't remember liking the place much. However, The Evening of Mini Horrors was pretty great! I think what struck me the most about the event was how much effort was put into it. Model Village is not usually a horror attraction, and the Halloween event only lasts for 9 days, but nearly every part of the venue - inside and out - was transformed into a ghoulish spectacle, or at least decorated in a spooky way. Even the roof of the ticket booth had a giant tarantula on it, which my friend and I nicknamed "The Yeti Spider", and the woman behind the counter was wearing a ghost ring that I really wanted!

"The Yeti Spider"
So, on to the event itself...during the evening sessions, which run between dusk and 10pm (last admission at 8pm), there are various things to see and activities in which you can take part. First of all, there's the park, which covers 4 acres of land (not including the indoor areas) and has a multitude of moving model displays of varying sizes, interspersed with greenery and - at this time of year - Halloween props.

I don't want zombies on my lawn♪
It really pays to look closely at the scenes that are set up, as you often find unusual and interesting additions to seemingly everyday scenes. Even in the zombie scene above there's a random pumpkin head shambler! 

The Wicker Man display
After dark, many of the displays are illuminated and some even have pyrotechnics and sound effects going on too. The Wicker Man, The Addams Family house, (what I perceived to be a) haunted mansion, and castle with fire-breathing dragon displays were my particular favourites during the visit.

The Addams Family house
Gomez & Morticia get amorous
Pugsley & Wednesday "looking after" the baby
As we walked around the park, we ran into some of the undead staff who were floating around. They told us that although they didn't mind being photographed, the camera might not be able to see them. Luckily enough for us though, it did!

Apparently this was the first year that the park hired actors for Halloween and they really did a good job of staying in character, whilst also being amusing and entertaining. I did notice a few little children skirting around them, wide-eyed though - haha. Speaking of which...

Workshop of Horrors animatronic
The Workshop of Horrors tour is something of a cross between a haunted house and a spooky behind the scenes look at the model-making workshops. If there was one part of the evening that I thought perhaps wasn't suitable for very young children, it was the this. There are a lot of eerie sounds, life-size animatronics and models, scary stories and it's also fairly dark throughout.

A skinned dungeon dweller
That's not to say that all 6 or 7-year-olds would find it scary, but some younger, or more sensitive kids might find it a little disturbing. On the other hand, I loved being scared and creeped-out when I was a child, so it really does depend on the each individual's personality I think. 

Werewolf chained to a tree
The park does have plenty of signs warning parents about what the workshop tour entails though, and the actress leading the tour makes it very clear at the beginning that people can leave anytime they want if it's too frightening. Besides - upon exiting, this inflated cuteness (below) is just around the corner - who could be scared of that?!

Creepy-cute pumpkin ghosts
Apart from the displays and actors, there was also a 4D cinema with that showed an animated version of Dracula in the evening. What made it 4D, you ask? Well, in addition to wearing 3D glasses, the seats shook and rocked, blew jets of air at us and squirted water at opportune moments during the film. One of the moments was particularly gross, as even though I knew it was water, due to what was happening on the screen, it didn't feel like water. 

The Dracula 4D poster
Nevertheless, it was enjoyable and probably something that children over the age of 5 could watch without being frightened. It was really a light-hearted, horror-themed comedy adventure though, so it wasn't supposed to be scary.

This Dracula prop was at the door to greet us!
Overall, The Halloween Evening of Mini Horrors was enjoyable, well-put together and a lot of fun. If you're really only interested in being shocked and terrified, this isn't the place for you. As the MV website states, the Halloween event "is largely aimed at families with a light-hearted Halloween theme, it's not a scarefest". However, if you're looking for a spooky evening out - with or without children - that's a bit different, I'd definitely recommend this event!

Animatronic Uncle Fester (dressed as Dracula) in the gift shop
Babbacombe Model Village
Hampton Avenue
Devon TQ1 3LA

Tel: +44 (0)1803 315315

This post is part of The Countdown to Halloween

↓To see more pictures, click the cut below↓


  1. When I was young, there was a miniature village set up like this place called Cullen Gardens. It had Christmas events like this. I'd gone as a child, then again closer to 20 and while I thought it might be lame, it turned out to lame, you know? Where it's not exciting but there's something really nice about it. Especially (for Christmas) with the snow and all the lights. While you had an exciting 4d ride, we had Reindeer. I think you win.

    But yeah. Sometimes "kinda lame" is my favourite stuff to do :)

    1. Yeah, I agree! I like going to places sometimes where it's just cheesy fun, but everyone just accepts it for what it is and has a good time anyway :D It's kind of the same reason I like classic horror movies too, haha.

      The 4D cinema was fun, but Reindeers are awesome though! I've never seen one in real life D:

  2. I could definitely get into this more so than those train gardens around Christmas time. Too bad I'm not in the UK.

    1. It was definitely a lot of fun!
      Hope you have some other great places / events to visit during Halloween instead :)


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