After Dark at The Real Halloween
Some say the witching hour is midnight but they are wrong. We all know the real magic happens as dusk falls, and at no time is this truer than at Halloween.
Dusk is not just when bats and owls emerge and daytime creatures go to bed but a time between two worlds, bringing ambiguity, possibility, and playing tricks on our senses. It is, as Shakespeare wrote, when: ‘light thickens, and crow makes wing, to rooky wood’.
The origins of the real Halloween as once celebrated across Britain, Ireland and Europe have been quite literally lost in the mists of time. Hardly surprising as in those days, in our lands, hardly anything got written down. But a common thread is that at this moment in the year, the veil between worlds of the spirits and ancestors, and that of of men, grows thin, and things can get across. And it is clear that trick-and-treat had a very different meaning then from today’s door- knocking-demands for sweets from neighbours. In those days, the tricks were played by ‘fairies’ after dark and the treats were left out to placate them.
It’s also hard not to be aware that the original meaning of Halloween – an autumn festival pinned to both the turn from autumn towards winter and the phases of the moon – has now been eclipsed by a commercialised plastic and sugar fright fest of ‘horror’. The subtle senses of twilight, flickering candles, owl calls, mists and moonlight have been lost in flashing LEDs, electronics and luminous paint. Which is fine if that’s what you want but it’s not what this event is about.
So, Mike Dodsworth and Callum McGowan will tell our story of The Real Halloween, conjuring up the sort of Halloween events we imagine were once commonplace for our ancestors, as light falls, at dusk. Be at the Performance Tent before 5.30pm on Saturday, 4.30pm on Sunday.
The story is followed by the Parade of Animal Lanterns and the Candlelit Lanterns. Assemble at 6pm outside the Performance Tent, with your lanterns.
The Parade moves off from the Main Lawn and wends its way through the woods, where all being well you may catch sight of some witches, before returning about 6.30pm, and the event ends around the fire, back at the Main Lawn at 7pm. During this time the trading stalls and the pub will remain open for business (last orders 6.45). [Times an hour earlier on Sunday].
Please help us maintain the woodland atmosphere of the event, and give your night-vision a chance to develop, by avoiding use of electronic lights and torches wherever possible.
To book entrance tickets and workshops:
Book here for Saturday
Book here for Sunday