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Halloween at Ightham Mote: what's on

PUBLISHED: 12:49 24 October 2016

Ghost of Dame Dorothy at Ightham Mote

Ghost of Dame Dorothy at Ightham Mote

Archant

Halloween is nearly here but at Ightham Mote the team have been planning it for the whole year. Words by: Emma Ward. Pictures by: National Trust/Ightham Mote

The ghostly team at Ightham MoteThe ghostly team at Ightham Mote

The nights are drawing in, there’s a chill in the air…creaking doors and things that go bump in the dark. The arrival of October means just one thing: Halloween is fast creeping up on us.

From taking part in trick or treating to making your own pumpkin carving, spooky season is a great excuse for some dress-up wizardry with friends and family.

Patty Judge, a volunteer with the National Trust at Ightham Mote and Halloween expert, has more than a few tricks up her sleeve.

“Planning for Halloween can take up to a whole year” Patty explains. “I’ve been organising the Ghosts and Gourmet evening at Ightham Mote for nine years, so I have it all down to a tee.”

As Halloween approaches, Patty brings in a team of handy helpers. “Our team of volunteers take on all sorts of jobs, from front of house 
to behind the scenes.

“Some of the most fun roles are acting as the ghosts placed around the house to frighten our visitors during their tour. We usually have a long list of people who are more than willing to sign up to take part, although others sometimes need ‘gentle’ persuasion!”

The ghost-ridden tour takes place in an almost totally dark manor house; the only light source being the artificial candles carried by the guests.

“Ightham Mote has been intrinsically linked to ghosts and spooky tales throughout its 700-year history, and their stories make for fascinating listening,” says Patty.

She and her team pay careful attention to the details, including the clothes and accessories worn by the various ‘ghosts.’

“We’re lucky to have a costume department that has grown up over the years. Our very first costume was created for Death, closely followed by a scary monk’s outfit (my local church was very helpful on this one!). We have a group of skilled volunteers who can produce almost anything you ask for.”

Patty is keen for everyone to enjoy a spot of ghostly goings on at Halloween. She suggests: “Why not do a ghostly tour of your own house? Things can look very different in the dark. Or if you have a large garden, ghosts can hide behind walls and bushes – pack a midnight picnic and take only candles and lanterns to light your way. Go on... spook yourselves!”

Find out more

Ghosts and Gourmet evenings take place at Ightham Mote on 22 and 29 October, from 7pm. Ticket includes a two-course dinner in the Mote Café and must be booked in advance on 01732 811314; they cost £37.50 per adult.

For more information about this and other events happening at the National Trust in Kent this month, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/southeast.

Halloween events in Kent

This October half-term the National Trust in Kent takes on a Halloween flavour, with lots of ghoulishly entertaining goings-on for kids and adults alike…

Museums at Night at Knole

See Knole in a different light on 29 October, as the mansion opens up at night for rare after-dark access between 6pm and 8.30pm. Climb the newly opened Gatehouse Tower, explore selected rooms and bring torches for an evening guided walk in the park.

Tickets: £3 adults, £1.50 children or £7.50 family ticket. Book in advance on 01732 462100.

Play and Display at Sissinghurst

This charming exhibition of paper and card toys runs daily from 22 October until 20 November (11am to 4pm). The collection includes puppets, paper dolls, model theatres and panoramas. Keep a close eye on the toys and dolls, in case you see any of them move!

Ghoulish Crafts at Ightham Mote

Join in creepy crafts at Ightham Mote on 27 October (12pm to 3pm), where families are invited to make their own horrific mask to take home for a suggested donation of 50p. Or tackle the horrifying Halloween trail any day from 22 to 30 October.

Terrifying tours of Fan Bay Shelter at White Cliffs of Dover

Are you brave enough to delve deep underground to explore a piece of local wartime history in the Fan Bay Deep Shelter? Climb down 125 steps to see a life-size time capsule, inside the chalky walls of White Cliffs of Dover.

Tickets: £10 adult, £5 child (aged 12 and over only). Admission by timed ticket only, bookable at the ticket office.

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