Such was the predicament we found ourselves in on the Friday before Halloween as we toured the Ghostly Gardens in Annapolis Royal.
The unusual garden experience was just one of the highlights that took place over a span of 10 days, from Oct. 21 to Nov.1. A haunted house, unveiling of a skeleton at Fort Anne and tours of a graveyard by candlelight were happening, along with many other events in the creative little town, which promoted itself as Ghost Town for the duration. Close to 200 attended the Historic Gardens’ events, from as far away as Kingston and Yarmouth. The Winter Farmers’ market on Saturday mornings attracted another several hundred.
Historic Gardens manager Trish Fry says a 2010 Goblets & Goblins event sparked the imagination of several volunteers.
“They became involved and made some incredible decorations for that event and created a very special atmosphere. The wine evening went fairly well, but we quickly realized that all that work should be enjoyed by more people," said Fry.
At the same time, another organization in town, the Annapolis Heritage Society, decided last year to launch a Haunted House event in late October.
Fry says an "incredible" team of decorators – half a dozen imagineers” – created the atmosphere over several days, creating a large pile of skillfully carved pumpkins, a bat cave out of the laburnum pergola, a witch's lair out of the Acadian cottage and other decorations.
A carved pumpkin sale held after the event made good use of the pumpkins.
Next year the Ghostly Gardens will change and grow. Fry says they want to keep things fresh and exciting.
"Since this was the first year of the larger event, there was a long list of ideas that we simply never had the capacity to carry out this year. There is a lot of energy and enthusiasm for next year.”
Community Ghost Town festival efforts will also grow and evolve in the coming years. The website www.ExploreGhostTown.com will remain online and updates will be posted.