Another Goblin Walk, Come and Gone

One of the great things about autumn is Halloween, and here at Dahlem we do it up in style with our Goblin Walks:  not-so -scarey Halloween fun.  For two nights each October, usually the weekend before Halloween, Dahlem’s arboretum gets a facelift and becomes a theater for not-too-spooky Halloween antics.
It actually begins the previous Monday, when staff and volunteers head out to Gee Farms and collect hundreds of pumpkins to bring back for carving – courtesy of the fine folks at Gee Farms!  This year the pumpkins were very big…and very heavy!

Then, come noon on Friday, the carving begins.  Another crew of volunteers comes out and spends over three hours washing, gutting and carving all those pumpkins!  This year we had a crew of volunteers from DaVinci high school out in the morning to gut pumpkins so that our carvers had a good head start when they arrived at noon.
Carving over 300 pumpkins is a big task, but our volunteers are up to it.  Wait until you see some of their creations below!
When Friday evening rolls around, the walks begin.
Guided tours go out every 15 minutes starting at 6:30 PM.  The crowd starts to gather about 5:30 – some to see the pumpkins and other decorations before the walks begin, others hoping to maybe get a spot if someone doesn’t show up!  This year our spots were all filled before mid-October!  We had quite a waiting list going.

We love it when visitors come in costume!

One family came with everyone dressed as a character from the Wizard of Oz!

Gallery of pumpkins:

These pumpkins line the path down which the guides lead their groups.  Along the way, the groups stop at several locations to watch a skit (each with its own song, too).  These skits, each dispelling the misunderstandings of various animals, are put on by a large cast of volunteers made up from local teachers and students, and their friends.  Many thanks to Dahlem volunteer Kathy Shaw for putting it all together every year!  This year we had five skits:  Bear and Raccoon (what it means to be an omnivore);

Robins in the ‘Hood (migration and what it means to be a robin);

They sing a rap song about migration, but I was unable to capture any good audio on it.

the Mariachi Moose Montage (new this year – all about moose and their relationships with wolves and people);

a close-up of Lawrence Elk
and the perennial favorite:  The Roadkill Cafe (why turkey vultures do what they do).

By now it was so dark that photography without a flash was impossible…and these actors did not want any flashes.  So, you’ll have to picture the turkey vulture and chef in your head as they do their skit.

After the Roadkill Cafe, visitors head to the pavilion, where the Friends of Dahlem await them with cider (hot or cold) and donuts.

There’s also a rip-roarin’ good fire going at the fire pit, where folks who are chilled can have a seat and defrost.  We were actually very lucky with the weather this year – couldn’t have been more perfect!

One of our camp staff leads songs and tells stories at the pavilion while guests enjoy their treats before heading down the last pumpkin-lined path and make their way back home.

We had a record number of visitors this year:  over 300 each night!  Each performer had to do 10 shows each night.  But they did a bang up job, no one went home with laryngitis, and all our visitors had a good time.

Did you miss Goblin Walks this year?  Don’t despair – there’s always 2015!  We start taking reservations in September, and, as we always tell folks, it fills up fast, so don’t wait until the last moment to reserve your spot!

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