In it’s 22nd year, Nicholson Street Public School Halloween Festival is once again ready to scare your socks off. The event attracts over 2000 ghouls and goblins from all over Sydney. Read on to find out how to join in…
There’s a reason why so many families come to this must-do family Halloween event. Starting in 1992 after an American family in the area introduced Halloween to the Nicholson Street School Community, the event has grown to become an Inner West institution. One of the reasons for its popularity is the range of activities on offer. Kids will enjoy soaring down the Monstrous Megadrop Slide, exploring the inflatable Jurassic obstacle course and walking the Bridge of Doom.
The Kitchen of Horrors will be offering a selection of food including a sausage sizzle and homemade delicious curries. But it’s not just for the kids, there is also a fully licensed bar for the grown-ups.
If you’re not prepared for the day itself, then the The Lil’ Shop of Horrors will be offering Show bags for the first time ever in 2014 with everything you need to decorate your house for Halloween and Trick or Treating.
“The Halloween Festival is a unique and fun day for children and parents alike and captures the true spirit of our community school,” says Nicholson Street Public School P&C President, Nicole Sorby.
If you’re brave enough to set foot into this night of frightful fun, follow the crowd to Nicholson Street Public School in Balmain East on Saturday 25 October. The festival starts at 3:00pm and wraps up at 8:30pm. The school is a five minute walk from Balmain East Ferry Terminal, or you can take the bone-rattling 442 bus from the city or the 444 and 445 from Leichhardt and Rozelle.
Interview with Grand Head Witch Melanie Moss
Ciao talks to Grand Head Witch, Melanie Moss, to make sure you get the most out of this hair-raising Halloween festival.
What is the must do attraction at the festival this year?
It’s definitely the Haunted House. We work very closely with our presenting sponsors Cobden & Hayson for the theme, signage and even decorating to come up with a completely new concept each year. This year we have a Southern Mansion haunted by a mad doctor and his lonely locked up wife. Very scary and strange!
What’s new to the festival this year?
We have replaced our regular bouncy castle with an inflatable obstacle course called the “Giant Jurassic”. Filled with volcanoes, dinosaur skeletons and mammoth tusks it’s unlike anything you will see at other events. It’s a brand new concept and we are so excited to be one of the first to hire it. We also have a new stall, ThE CRaZy cOOkiE. Kids can decorate a milk arrowroot with butter cream frosting and lollies. YUM!
What keeps so many families coming back year after year?
So many reasons, the community atmosphere of the event is definitely one of the most important reasons we keep doing the festival. Seeing the faces of the kids AND the grownups gives everyone who works so hard to pull the Halloween Festival together a huge buzz. We are a very creative bunch and try to do something different each year which brings people back to see what’s new!
Are there any ways that you get the students excited about the festival?
Nicho kids love everything to do with Halloween! They are so proud of the festival and love creating their Tombola Jars to sell on the day. We make 1600 jars filled with lollies and treats! Our Year Sixes write and edit the Ghouly News our special Halloween edition newsletter. The entire school spends time creating decorations for the yard, whether its new hanging bats, gruesome gravestones or this year it is all about spooky eyes that light up once night falls.
Do you have any favourite memories of the festival from previous years?
2014 is my second as a Nicho parent and first as Grand High Witch but I’ve been coming with my children since they were babies. Definitely my favourite memory was the first year I came. I had absolutely no idea what to expect and was blown away by what this little school had created. I decided then and there to send my kids to Nicholson Street, if they could pull an event like this off, imagine what it must be like to be educated here. I was proved right, it is truly an amazing school.
Dressing up is fun but it’s sometimes hard to find a costume – do you have any ideas?
Make your own! All you need is your imagination, and a few bits and pieces. I’ve always tried to work with my kids to create their costumes. We look at Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration then gather supplies from places like spotlight, Vinnies and our craft cupboard. You will always end up with a costume that’s one of a kind and super special to your child because you made it together. Remember, you can make pretty much anything with some felt and a glue gun!
Do you have any advice for first time festival-goer’s or even veterans of the event?
Dress up! The more crazy your outfit the more fun you will have. Point out our Good Witches who will have special badges in case little ones get lost and show them where the MC stand is so they can go straight there. Also we are the only school event on the peninsula that runs a licensed bar. We want the mums and dads to have just as much fun as the kids!
Sneak Peeks and Scary Freaks – New and Improved Stalls for 2014.
Deep down in the Old South lies an empty mansion with a Very Big Dark Secret. A doctor driven mad with the pursuit of medical research experiments on innocent victims.
Step inside the dark hallways lit only by candlelight. Reflected among the gilt edges of picture frames are the faces of the family members who have lived in this house for generations, too many of them to name.
A doctor hides away his lovely young wife from the eyes of the world too jealous to share her beauty. Can you find her reflected in the giant mirror or hear her wailing amongst the weeds at the back of the house?
Lil’ Shop of Horrors
The most successful stall gets a few new additions this year, the most exciting being a Decorate Your House Show bag! Everything you need to decorate your place to frighten Trick or Treaters including spider webs, glow in the dark signs, scary Halloween tape, a light-up pumpkin lantern and more!
If you think you’ve jumped on every Bouncy Castle from Balmain to Bathurst think again! Making its first ever appearance at the Halloween Festival (drumroll), the Giant Jurassic Adventure! Weave your way between the field of bones to the jumping area where you will be faced with a rock climbing wall and the waiting jaws of the Jurassic Monsters.
If sliding is more your thing the ever popular Mega Drop Slide will be ready and waiting!
Creepy Crawly Cookies
Fill your stomach to bursting at the newest stall for 2014. Located on the bottom playground you can decorate a cookie with gooey butter cream and candies sweet enough to pop your teeth out. Try to create a ghastly insect with wriggly witchity grubs, jellybeans and snakes.
An old favourite getting a makeover this year! Mae Mae, Georgie, Stella and the Year Six crew from 2013 will be coming back to school to impress you with their Monster High Makeup skills. Expect scars, scales and hairspray on a whole new level!
After its wildly successful return last year, the parent in charge of Touchy Feely this year has promised to provide all the vomit, congealed blood, old scabs and slippery eyeballs you would want to stick your hands into. Have you got the nerve to touch them all?
Weave your way through the tunnels of darkness with your friends and make sure you take the correct turns to get back to the beginning! After many years of construction experience, the Nicho parents promise to keep you in there even longer this time round.
Bridge of Doom
A feat of constructive genius – built with rope, you’ll wobble as you weave your way across the bridge… beware the crocodiles waiting for dinner below!
Nicho students have had a lot of colds this year and their parents saved all the snotty mucus from their hankies just for this stall! The Grand High Witch has lent the school her Cauldron of Slime – dip your hand in, find an eyeball and win a prize.
Easily the best value Tombola stall in the Inner West, the tombola stall is a lolly lucky dip – pick out a numbered ticket from the witch’s hat and find that number on a jar – you never know what creepy, sugary delights you will get and all for just $3. And these are no ordinary tombola jars; last year we made 1,600 jars and still ran out at 7pm.
AND much much more!!!
Ghostbusters Green Slimed Popcorn
1/2 cup (1 stick butter)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 heaping cups miniature marshmallows (or 12 large)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 drops each green and yellow food colouring
8 cups popped popcorn
Place butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a 3-quart saucepan.
Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and add marshmallows and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.
Add the green and yellow food colouring to create desired colour.
Put the popcorn in a large bowl and pour the “green slime” marshmallow mixture over the popcorn.
Stir with a large spoon until coated. Cover until ready to serve.
Store in an airtight container.
• Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com