Thursday, 3 November 2011

A Magical Halloween Weekend

Nut Crack Night is a major new family arts event offering an antidote to the over commercialized ghoulfest that Halloween has become. The team behind the award winning Just So Festival will take over the magnificent Astley Hall in Lancashire on October 29th  and offer families a slice of the magical and macabre with an evening of theatrical performance, wild dancing, light spectaculars and masked mayhem.
Nut Crack Night was originally a northern term for Halloween, when people would throw nuts on to the fire and predict their futures based on how the nuts cracked and sparked in the flames.  Wild Rumpus will reinvigorate the old traditions with their own twist, an evening where audiences can expect to see the wonderful Astley Hall and its grounds transformed into an enchanting and terrific space where they will thrill and delight in the mysterious and magical.

On Saturday my housemates and I volunteered at a children's art festival, Nutcrack Night.
We applied to help out before really knowing what we were getting ourselves into, so had no idea what to expect as we were driving up to the location. None of us had ever been to the site before, so we had to rely on Jadine's trusty sat-nav to lead the way. We arrived at the car park of Astley Hall.
Astley Hall is a stunning country house hidden away in its surrounding grounds, the public Astley Park. The house and its nearby coach-house are known as Astley Hall Museum and Art Gallery.
We spent the morning helping with odd jobs around the site, then went to help prepare for the lantern making, which involved cutting up willow branches and taping them together to make the bases. 
Once it was almost time for the event to begin, we were briefed with the basics of what we needed to do throughout the evening, then sent off to get changed into our 'Victorian Villain' costumes. 
We were then split up and assigned with rotating jobs. I started by helping with the mask-making, then was paired together with Cat to go and greet people at the gates of the park. Once it got quite late we were allowed to go and get something to eat and have a wander round the site for ourselves. We visited the woods, Astley Hall itself and then joined in with the lantern parade at the end of the night.
The best coffee wagon I've ever seen! I treated myself to 2 lovely hot chocolates that evening.
The mobile pianist played even while it began to rain.
...we were brave enough! Despite meeting a skeleton playing his violin...
...followed by ghostly dresses hanging in the trees...
...and last but not least, the lantern parade, lead by the huge puppet (Hekkity?)...

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