26th & 27th October 2013
Holt Hall, Norfolk.
So it was back to Holt Hall for the magical Real Halloween run by the Fairyland Trust charity. This year Eila and I left Daddy and Evan at home and took fellow FK mum Heather and her son Noah, 3.
We arrived at 11am on the Sunday (due to the clock changes the timing is different on Sunday) so were there from the off. A short queue and we were in. There were musicians entertaining the crowd on the way in which really set the mood for me: a fun, chilled day was waiting for us.
The famous Fairyland trolls came to say hello and although very entertaining, were slightly frightening for some children. Noah was not keen on them at all and Heather and I felt that maybe the trolls walking down the queue to welcome people possibly wasn’t the best idea. I am aware having spoken to other parents that their children were frightened of the trolls and they decided not to attend again which is a shame as that is just one small aspect of the event. Perhaps a troll enclosure would be a good idea for next year!
As always I was blown away by the atmosphere, Holt Hall is a pretty magic place anyway, but with the fairy yurts, the braziers, the mellow music and smoke rising in the mild autumnal air it just ticks every box in the “festival vibe” category for me.
The Real Halloween layout is different to that of the larger Fairy Fair event in May. It’s smaller with less stalls but still a lot going on. The magical creatures ” animal hospital” was back again which made it’s debut in May. There were also drop in workshops where you could make a lantern for £2 (these looked glorious but sadly we didn’t have time so we made our own on Monday) a witches brew or a fairy dinner and our favourite rainbow trail through the woods which was just incredible. So simple yet the children love it (as did the mummies!)
After the rainbow trail we went to our first workshop, the brand new Witches Messengers. In this workshop the children heard a story about how the witches chose the owl as their messenger and could either make a long eared owl or a small owl using mostly natural materials such as pine cones for the main body and feathers for the wings. Both children loved this work shop and were fully engaged in the activity.
We were due to make Witches Pets later in the day but due to the severe weather warnings that day and the winds that got stronger throughout the day this had to be cancelled as the tent it was in was too unstable. Instead we made Wizards Shields were again we listened to a story about how 4 magical creatures were used to make the wizard’s shield, the badger for it’s strength and bravery, the owl for it’s super hearing and silent flight, the stoat for agility and enchantment and the hare for speed and transformation. The children were given a round card with pictures and information about each animal on and were clearly instructed in how to build their shield again using natural materials. I wasn’t sure if Eila would like this workshop but she loved it and both children were again fully engaged in the activity.
I was really impressed to see how the Fairyland Trust have listened to their visitors feedback. This year there were mens’ urinals thus making the toilet queues more manageable, toilets in the woods in case anyone got caught short. The baby changing tent was huge this year and I have heard from a friend that it was a lovely cosy area to change her son’s nappy and feed him and she felt very relaxed while her older child played. I am told there was a huge array of cake on offer (Hooray!) but had sold very quickly on the Saturday, as we bought our own lunches we had no need to venture over the food and drink areas to check them out, but I was pleased to see the return of the Good Elf and the Proper Pizza Co as I wandered past the Hall.
As always this event is one I look forward to as much as Eila does as it has none of the plastic horror show of the Halloween that is so familiar to us in this day in age. As mentioned before the atmosphere is just amazing, the activities are brilliantly planned and designed to teach children to delight in the magic of nature and because it is run by a team of dedicated and passionate people aiming to encourage conversation by enabling children to discover nature’s magic it just makes it all the more special.
Sadly we missed out on the atmospheric story told at dusk in the woods as both children were exhausted from their adventures. From pictures I have seen it looked wonderful, and the owls! WOW!
Heather and I both felt that maybe an extra story telling session earlier in the day would be good for those who can’t manage the whole day but appreciate that doing it earlier would have an impact on the theatre of it.
Maybe that’s why our readers voted The Fairy Fair the best day event of the year because year on year the Fairyland Trust delivers, it listens and it keeps giving. I don’t want that magic to stop and I urge you if you have children between 3-10 to go to one of these amazing events.
I’m looking forward to what the Fairy Christmas has to offer…