Scary stories and ghoulish gourds


collection of halloween carved pumpkins

Things are getting spooky at Hamptonne this October half term and young Islanders are being asked to help make the country life museum look as ghoulish as possible.


The Jersey Heritage ‘Ghoulish Gourds Competition’ runs from Monday to Sunday, 24-30 October and families can take part by carving a pumpkin at home and then bringing their creations to Hamptonne. The pumpkins will be used to decorate the Cider Barn ahead of a weekend of Halloween storytelling and there is the chance to win a Jersey Heritage goody bag for the winning entry.

The two days of ‘Ghostly Tales’ storytelling, which has been sponsored by Ogier, together with the pumpkin carving competition, takes place on Saturday and Sunday, 29-30 October from 10am-5pm, with last entry at 4pm. Storytellers will be in the Cider Barn and other areas of Hamptonne and visitors will be able to meet Wanda the Good Witch and The Wise Woman of the Village, among others, and enjoy spinetingling tales from days of old. Local author Erin Michaels will also be reading stories from her books about Jersey myths and legends from 1.30pm-4.30pm on both days.

Nicky Lucas, Jersey Heritage’s Community Events Curator, said: “Hamptonne is the perfect setting for telling hair-raising stories. There are lots of dark corners in old buildings and rumours of ghostly sightings. Jersey folklore is also rich with tales of ghosts, monsters and witches. We’ve lined up some suitably strange storytellers to share spinetingling tales over the weekend leading up to Halloween and it will be up to those who dare to listen to decide if any of the stories are true!”

Although spooky, the storytelling will be suitable for primary school age children and anyone who enjoys a story. No booking is necessary but parking is limited and in the Hamptonne car park only. Usual entry fees apply. Free to Jersey Heritage Members and children under the age of six.

Pumpkins are often the preferred choice for Halloween carving, but Nicky said that squash, marrow or turnips could also be used for the ‘Ghoulish Gourds’ competition, in a nod to the origins of the tradition of carving pumpkins. This lies in Celtic festivals, when turnips were carved into fearsome faces to the mark the end of the summer, celebrate the harvest and as a way of scaring away evil spirits before the onset of winter.

Anyone taking part is asked to drop off their creations at the Hamptonne reception between 10am-5pm and include a battery-operated tealight, if possible.

Kate Kirk, Director of Marketing at Ogier, said: “Throughout 2022, we’ve partnered with Jersey Heritage to offer a series of family learning events and activities as part of our commitment to education and learning. These “spooky” events for Halloween provide the perfect opportunity to not only explore our creativity, by carving pumpkins, but also delve into Jersey’s myths and legends with the help of local author Erin Michaels. The only question is: will any ghosts also join the Halloween fun?”