Today was the day we have been waiting for for a long time; the day of the Chislehurst Pumpkin Hunt. We managed to obtain tickets this year, and I was very excited (I say ‘I’, I don’t think the rest of my family really cared but they went along with it anyway)! I love the area that we live in. Although we are technically in a London Borough, it feels like we live in a small village in the middle of nowhere. There is such a great sense of community, particularly during events like this when a large number of the businesses along the High Street either take part, donate something towards it, or decorate for the occasion.
The title “Pumpkin Hunt” is actually quite misleading, as the the day basically consists of walking around Chislehurst armed with a “map” that shows you where to collect sweets from, and a bucket to put them in (that you have to bring along yourself). “The safe version of trick or treating, with a few crafts and games thrown in for good measure” would be a more appropriate title for this event, though admittedly it does have less of a ring to it. There is no actual pumpkin hunting involved at all, as A pointed out when we had almost finished – “but mummy, I haven’t actually found any pumpkins yet”. It is, however, a really fun afternoon, made all the more magical by a plethora of decorations adorning the High Street, and the cheery enthusiasm of the staff members chosen to distribute the goodies at the participating businesses:
There were also craft activities at both the library and the pond, and games and refreshments in the Old Chapel. The library was the first stop on the route and included the chance to make a spider lolly; I say this based on the advert at the entrance to the library, but we didn’t actually make one or even see them being made, as after queuing for 10 minutes with the other 100 people that had descended on the library at the same time, D decided that A and E would probably not even remember there was such an activity by the time their buckets were filled with sweets, and that we might be better off getting a head start on the rest of the route, rather than hanging around in the library with two restless children for another 10-20 minutes. So off we headed, after having our maps stamped, to location number two, where there was no queuing at all.
The third location was the Old Chapel for games. The games were great, with a spider web maze and a hoopla, amongst others.
We paid the lovely April’s Kitchen for a few Halloween-themed cakes and biscuits and continued on to the duck pond.
There was more craft here, and it was really well done. A decided she didn’t want to take part so went off to play on the grass while E waited patiently for his turn, before making his way along a production line of volunteers, who helped him to make a paper owl sat on a pencil. On seeing this, A decided she actually did want to make one, but there was no way we were getting back in that queue! Fortunately there was not much upset when D told her that she had missed her chance! The rest of the route was mainly just collecting sweets, but this was probably the highlight of the day for A and E anyway; it was just a matter of getting them in and out of the shops as quickly as possible, whilst carrying a number of balloons, flags, maps, buckets, bags, a broomstick and coats (just in case – although not needed – isn’t that always the case!), whilst making sure we took full advantage of the free goodies for grown ups too! I was very thankful that we had decided not to take A’s witches hat out on this occasion. D was very happy with his mini tube of toothpaste from one of the dentists (the one offering the children more sweets than any other business)!
Once we had finished the official “Pumpkin Hunt” we headed home for a short rest before venturing out into the woods for an actual “hunt”. Armed with a bag of treats we chose a route into the woods and D attempted to run on ahead to hide them for A and E to find. We have now done this activity many times, for Halloween, Easter and also at Christmas, yet this year A was wise to the fact that it was D hiding the treats! This was at first very funny, as she is far too smart for her own age, but also very sad; my baby girl is so grown up and is no longer innocently oblivious to what is going on around her!
We had a wonderful hour in the woods finding treats and playing around! I am already looking forward to next year!