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All Hallows’ at St Nicholas Priory

All Hallows’ at St Nicholas Priory

For a few years now, we have been celebrating autumn and the change of the seasons in our beautiful building. Every year, people ask me “Do you throw a Halloween party?” and the answer is yes and no. With our programme, we try to strike a balance between celebrating autumn and the many customs and traditions of Allhallowstide, without “selling out” to the commercial Halloween which seems so prevalent now. I love carving pumpkins and decorating the building with things found in nature to make us mindful of the changing season. I try and steer clear of plastic skulls, fake bats and skeletons, but spooky legends and songs of Dartmoor with Jim Causley and Mark Norman are right up my street, as are nature poems by Chris Waters with Ruth Molins on the flute. It’s a real highlight of the year to invite those fantastic artists to come and join us for a bit of celebrating.  Our amazing volunteers will run their popular crafts sessions to get kids into the mood. And new this year, we’ve partnered with Devon & Exeter Medical Heritage Trust and Lightbear Lane (one of my many hats) and devised a cunning plan to deliver a herbology lesson with a bit more than a nod to Harry Potter. With medical expertise and artistic contributions from my partner-in-crime, Lightbear Lane’s Sarah Spencer, we can’t wait to try it out with you. The priory kitchen, of course, will be the star of the show – the perfect magical setting for a bubbling cauldron.

So the answer to the party question is yes – we do party: with music, folklore, poetry and bit a magic.  And on the 31st October, I’ll make sure to light a jack-o-lantern outside our house, so the kiddies know we’ve got some sweets ready for them. After all, it’s a good feeling to be part of something that brings the community together.

I’m sure we’ll meet at the priory soon! Until then, stay safe and be in touch, Judith

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