Halloween a hit in the Dene

Kids enjoy the atmosphere at Jesmond’s famous wooded valley, with pumpkin carving and ghost stories, writes Amy Bolton.

Jesmond Dene is proving a popular setting for Halloween, as people come in their droves to attend events at the wooded park.

On Saturday night children from across Jesmond collected to take part in a Halloween event organised by the Friends of Jesmond Dene, which was oversubscribed by two to one. Park ranger Sarah Capes said she could quite easily have done the event twice over.

To start the evening, children, supervised by parents and volunteers, carved their own pumpkins, some doing it for the first time. After scooping out the insides, they created eerie designs, including bats and spooky faces, which they then imprinted into the pumpkins and cut out. They all agreed cutting the vegetables was hard work, but the result was definitely worth it.

The finished pumpkins were lit and everyone gathered outside to prepare for the night-time walk in search of woodland creatures and Halloween monsters, many of which could be seen lurking in the forest.

On their return to the visitor centre, the group encountered a witch sitting in a barn; she gathered the children and told them her own scary story, followed by the well known tale of The Gruffalo.

Finally, well-deserved pumpkin soup and hot chocolate in the visitor centre helped warm everyone from the cold winter weather.

The Friends of Jesmond Dene is a conservation society who work for the protection of the area. They promote public interest in all areas of the Dene, including wildlife and the local history of families in the area.

Other events can be viewed on the Friends of Jesmond Dene website.