The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 meant that the usual crowds of excited kids in Station Square was not an option for Halloween. The Forum were keen to do something though, as lockdown had been particularly hard for children. We also wanted to somehow support local traders by encouraging people back into shops safely. Not an easy brief and we had to put our (pointy) thinking caps on and get creative.
What we did
As the pandemic unfolded it became increasingly clear that Halloween 2020 was going to have to be radically different. Large crowds were banned and trick or treating was being discouraged by the Government. Our only option was to move the fun online.
We got in touch with children’s entertainer Jessica Sparkles who created a Halloween themed party for the under 7s which was then uploaded to Vimeo so families could join in the fun at any point over the Halloween weekend. Forty five families logged in with their little monsters to roar, dance and singalong.
Instead of the usual ghost trail around local shops, we decided to set up competitions online so people could win special Herne Hill Halloween Pounds. These unique notes were redeemable in seven local shops who were then reimbursed by the Forum. The aim was to encourage people to shop locally whilst ensuring we didn’t overload the shops with crowds of people on one night. The Halloween Pounds were valid until the beginning of December and each winner was able to spend £10. The competition categories were: Creative Costume, Best Biscuit and Wonderful Windows. Sweet Carolina provided a recipe for the Halloween biscuits and we hoped that the competitions gave local children something creative to do away from their screens.
Finally on the night of the 31st itself we arranged for local magician Amigos Magic to host two special magic shows. The shows were live streamed from Hogwarts Castle and included all kinds of revolting Halloween tricks to delight the young audience. The shows were excellent fun and Amigos Magic had clearly mastered the art of entertaining on Zoom.
Despite the restrictions we’re proud to have organised a little bit of fun at Halloween. Who knows what Halloween 2021 will look like – fingers crossed.
Thank you so much for offering this, it makes a huge difference, particularly at a time when the kids have very little to do.
Helen, local resident