I am a freelance writer living in Gloucestershire. I have been writing family style articles in the form of columns for newspapers since 2000 and spent four years presenting an interview chat show on Forest of Dean Radio.
It's Punkie Night tonight It's Punkie Night tonight Give me a candle, give me a light
If you don't, you'll get a fright
Naturally we are talking about Halloween. The night of all evil spirits, or at least the night of all things theatrical designed to scare. I personally am so old, that Halloween was not actually invented in England when I was a child. "Well of course it was" I hear you say. Well, no, not really. It has always been around in Ireland and in the USA, but in England, when I was a child, we celebrated bonfire night on 5th November. This, for those who don't live in the UK, is when we Brits become a bit paganish and burn effigies of a man called Guy Fawkes on a bonfire, have lots of fireworks set off, eat baked potatoes, sausages and bonfire toffee. Guy Fawkes, the man so regularly burned, was involved in a plot called the Gunpowder Plot, where a group of men were plotting to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Needless to say they were not successful in this mission, but are probably the most infamous of infamous traitors known to all Brits.
But, time has moved on since I was a child, and trick or treating is now a regular part of everyone's childhood. Well, almost everyone. As parents, Hubby and I have always been reluctant to let our children go trick or treating – because we felt it was a form of begging. However, most of our offspring have found a way round this by spending Halloween with "AN Other" friend at least once and have benefited thereby from a truckload of sweets.
Actually, down at Over Farm in Gloucester it's Punkie fortnight rather than Punkie night. And as you wander around most of the attractions in pitch black there is no way of warding off the evil spirits using a candle or light. But then as such an event is designed to scare you, and you go along quite happily intending to be scared, it is hardly a surprise.
The fun starts from the first moment. The indicator is "no under 14's", so technically it was not quite suitable for my 12 year old. However, when you are taking her three older sisters, it hardly seems fair to leave one behind. So, she came too, safe in the knowledge that if it got just a little bit too scary then we could all rescue her. Ironically, although the 12 year old screamed loudly, it was actually the 18 year old daughter who seemed to find it most genuinely scary, her face being a picture.
For your money you get to see three main attractions which include the famous haunted hayride. There is plenty of interesting stuff to see and experience prior to the ride too, but to tell you too much would spoil all the fun. You need to visit yourself to see what it's all about.
It is a good idea to wrap up warm, and do remember to take your wellies. You are on farmland, and there are times when a firm footing is essential.
This is a great evening out for all the family.
There are two Frightmare events: Daytimes are for children and littlies while the scarier Nightimes are reserved for the bravest older children and adults. Do you dare?
Frightmare runs from Saturday 20th to Wednesday 31st October.
Daytime events are available until Sunday 28th.
Frightmare 2012 has introduced 3 new attractions to really get your adrenaline pumping: Big Top Bedlam Haunted Hayride, PANIC and Stage Fright
The best idea is to book well in advance because this is so popular. You can purchase an all-in-one ticket that allows one trip on The Haunted Hayride and one visit to PANIC and Stage Fright.
Pumpkins and other Halloween decorations and goodies can also be purchased