At the start of September, after a strange socially distanced and restricted summer, the schools had finally re-opened, I started to think about the rest of the year. How might everyone’s favourite autumn events be affected this year due to Covid-19.
Bonfire night was cancelled, as no large gatherings could take place. There was speculation online that Halloween couldn’t happen as it normally did. Covid-19 had already taken a huge toll on everyone, having to restrict our movements with little more than a walk to look forward to. The thought of Halloween and Christmas activities also potentially not going ahead made things seem even more depressing.
Scrolling through Facebook I came across a post that mentioned putting together a month-long Halloween festival. It encouraged people to decorate their homes for a longer period, so that people in the community could view them with leisure. Barrow residents had always got involved in Halloween, with residents in The Retreat usually raising money by putting on an amazing display. I shared the post I’d seen on Barrow Helping Hands to gauge some interest, with the idea of putting together a trail map for a week rather than a month.
I wanted more, I wanted Halloween and I wanted to see who else felt the same. There was a really great response, so many likes and comments. Barrow Helping Hands knew first-hand how ready the village was for something to look forward to. People were up for this, they were ready for something fun and were offering to get involved and decorate, so I decided I was going to do it! I approached the people of BUSCA, who do a marvellous job running village events. They already had a full calendar but were happy for me to proceed. That was it, I had free reign, some pointers and a village ready.
I started with the creation of a poster, luckily I have some experience in marketing so knew what to do. Then an email address was created, however that was a mistake as it really wasn’t manageable, and I had problems from the start. So, I created a Facebook page I shared through Barrow Helping Hands and Spotted Barrow. Immediately, over the first few days, we gained followers and almost 200 likes. It was really exciting! Over the course of the weeks leading up to 20th October I engaged with over 100 residents, all offering to decorate on various nights, and the page kept on growing with people wanting to learn more. For me, the work has been pretty full on from collating addresses to posting the maps. It has taken quite a lot of thought, promotion, love and hard work to deliver, but the outcome was so worthwhile.
Thank you Barrow – here’s looking forward to an even bigger event next year.