Halloween at Fleetham Lodge
Over the past 15 years or so Halloween has travelled over to the UK from the US and is now a firmly entrenched date in the October calendar. Children dress up and go door-to-door seeking sweets while adults organise parties with ghostly themes and the TV has its ‘Fright Nights’ showing old and not so old horror movies.
The festival is connected with the feast of All Saints on November 1st – the evening before – October 31st being All Hallow’s (holy) Eve – hence Halloween and is in fact an older festival which goes back centuries and was actually exported to the US many centuries ago from here. In the UK children used to celebrate Halloween (I remember this from my childhood) by carving lanterns, not from pumpkins, but from large turnips (or swedes), dressing up as ghosts, witches or skeletons in fact any ghostly character ( a friend of mine once dressed up as a mummy – it took ages to do all the bandages!) and then going around the streets making ghostly noises and pretending to scare people. There were also traditional games like apple bobbing and of course we told each other ghostly stories!
Nowadays it’s a far more commercial affair and perhaps an excuse to have a party – as the days get shorter and the nights draw in there does seem to be a need for such parties, to inject some light into the darkness outside. Supermarkets sell a range of Halloween foods and costumes and many of the attractions (Halloween generally falls in the school half-term) offer activities such as lantern carving and ghost tours. One of the most famous being the Ghost Tour of York which is the oldest in the country and actually
runs all year round but is especially popular at this time.
Kiplin Hall is a local Mansion that we visit very often with students. It is a lovely house surrounded by gardens and a large lake. It features in our Christmas course and we have also taken students to Shakespeare plays in the grounds in the summer. It is a favourite place to visit.
However, there is another side to the Hall which was revealed to our students when we took part in the Ghost tour of the house one evening. It appears that things are not always as they seem and this fascinating tour really made us all feel rather differently about the house. I’m sure I will view it in a different light the next time I go – but it won’t be in the dark!! Find out more by watching this YouTube video about the ghostly goings-on.
For the last 3 years here at Fleetham Lodge we have organised a one-week Halloween themed Teenage Immersion course complete with ghost tours, pumpkin carving, torchlight treasure hunt and a Halloween party on the final evening.
As we have a large collection of dressing-up clothes the students can put together a costume very easily and this is all part of the fun. We invite other local teens to these events which makes the immersion even better and our students can have fun and improve their English at the same time.
One of the highlights is the torchlight treasure hunt around the garden where they not only have to find the clues, but then work them out to discover where the treasure lies. Other traditional party games such as Murder in the Dark and Charades on a ghost theme have proved popular.
We love to decorate for Halloween too and over the years have collected things together to give a spooky feel to the house for this course.
Pumpkins feature large and we dot them around the house and garden – the colours stand out during the day and at night, when they are lit, they definitely give a ‘spooky effect’.
Strings of spiders and bats festoon the hall and streamers in orange and black paper fall from the doorways. It’s a special course for a special time and the students love the experience. Here are some of their comments:
“I’d never experienced Halloween before – it was good fun”
“We loved the party and decorating – the ghost walk was very scary!”
“I like the woodland walk with Halloween things hidden in the trees – it was amazing!”
For Halloween fun and great English language skills (this year was all about IELTS) consider our Halloween Course 2018. It’s a great way to experience something a bit different while you improve your English.