This had been our most successful Halloween event since our first hosting, all the way back in 2018. Over the last few years we had built up a large stock of Halloween props made by volunteers from recycled pallets and donated timber, which led to us having an entire graveyard, pirate ship, shack, pumpkins, fences and even stocks.
Adele kindly made by hand over 200 Witch & Wizard pom-poms, along with making and cooking 230 bat biscuits, which she proceeded to hand out to local children as our resident Halloween witch. Volunteers also made 130 wands that glow in the dark, yet again all of these had been handed out for free to the local community.
As the event began, here at NEWT all of us want to say a massive thank you to James, Neve and Tia for making the night for so many children, by dressing up as the Dino trio handing out hundreds of bags of haribo. Another big appreciation and praise, needs to go out to Elliot and Michael Myers (Leon), the two of them had decided to make the most of our displays and blend in as prop statues, right until the moment someone got to close and had the bejeepers scared out of them when they jumped out.
Our estimates put the attendance at between 300 to 400 people, we literally had people queuing to get inside the site, which we've never seen before. Thanks to grant funding from GMEF via 'Green Spaces' we were able to make the event free entry, but bare in mind that there was literally thousands of pounds worth of equipment and props, we charged £1.50 for a jumbo hotdog and 50p for hot chocolate, it cost £96 for just the hotdogs/buns/haribo, not including the cost of cooking equipment, cups and hot chocolate we didn't even come close to covering our base cost. The reason why we're mentioning this, is because our free events are not about raising large amount of funds for Bolton NEWT. It's about local volunteers providing unique experiences by bringing grant funding into Breightmet for their community, that simply wouldn't exist on our doorstep.
The bat themed Halloween event took a unique twist this year, not only did we make 1,000 flyers with information about bats and the Bat Conservation Trust, bat biscuits had been handed out and we used bat detectors with speakers around the site, Adele also spent most of the night with a line of children, one after another explaining about Bats in her Witches tent. There was a special moment, as one child who attended got super excited when he was told the clicking noises at the shack are live bats in flight, apparently he loves bats and this made his night. Another big thank you goes out to Terri for making countless paper bats for the shack.
As always, none of this would have been possible without the amazing volunteers; Adele, Alex, Neve, James, Tia, Elliot, Becky, George, Jasmine, Stuart, Angelica, Terri, Sue and Dave. If you enjoyed our event and enjoyed hearing about what happens behind the scenes, perhaps you might like to join us at the Garstang Hub, every Saturday from 11am. We do woodworking, gardening (less so in Winter), cooking food, playing games and generally enjoying a lovely social hub. With that, we finally say, roll on 2024, as we're done with events for this year!