For some families, fall in Greater Columbus wouldn’t be the same without participating in All Hallows’ Eve at the Ohio Village or attending “Pumpkins Aglow” at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
This October, both perennially popular events are set to return. Each will offer familiar sights and frights as well as some fresh elements.
We spoke with officials from both organizations to get the skinny on what’s new — and what remains the same — at these two autumn standbys.
All Hallows’ Eve to include new experiences
Each year, All Hallows’ Eve at the Ohio History Connection’s 1890s-era Ohio Village, Interstate 71 and East 17th Avenue, offers Ohioans a glimpse of Halloween as practiced in the late 19th century.
That includes familiar experiences including pumpkin-carving, mask- and puppet-making, fortune-telling and a reading of Washington Irving’s classic tale “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
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This year, the event — set to take place from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. each Thursday through Oct. 29 — will include a number of new components to honor Halloween traditions of long ago.
All Hallows’ Eve to feature a revival tent
For example, a revival tent will be set up beside the Village Church to replicate an autumnal celebration that some communities preferred over more widely known Halloween activities.
“In particular, it was the type of experience that was enjoyed by traditionally marginalized communities, especially African Americans, who did not have a lot of the same deep connections to those kind of Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve traditions that people of Irish, Italian, Scottish, English, German descent do,” said Andrew Hall, senior experience developer at Ohio Village.
“Instead of focusing on things like fortune-telling or celebrating the harvest, . . . it’s a time of reflection as the seasons are changing as well as a time to come together as a community,” said Hall, who said the experience at Ohio Village will involve a discussion of revival tents as well as performers’ re-creation of some of the entertainment that would have been featured over a century ago.
All Hallows’ Eve’s new Psychographic Spirit Dial
Also new this year will be a re-created so-called Psychographic Spirit Dial, a device dreamed up in the 1880s by Ohioan Hudson Tuttle that bears some resemblance to the Ouija Board.
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“It’s essentially a square cardboard board with letters, numbers and then the words ‘yes’ and ‘no,’” Hall said. “There’s a wooden dial in the middle of the board with a metal pointer, . . . and when you are holding a reading, you have every member of your table place your hands on the dial and the idea is that the spirit will then move the dial.”
The Psychographic Spirit Dial can be found in Ohio Village’s mercantile building.
“We will have interpreters on hand to guide visitors through what it is, how it works, as well as to ask it simple questions and see what answers might come,” Hall said.
Tickets cost $18 for adults, or $13 for Ohio History Connection members; $14 for ages 4 through 12, or $9 for members; and free for age 3 and younger. For more information, visit www.ohiohistory.org.
Pumpkins Aglow about gourds and more
Pumpkins Aglow lives up to its title.
The annual nighttime event at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1777 E. Broad St., includes pumpkins from the ongoing daytime exhibit “Harvest Blooms” as well as about 800 newly carved and lit pumpkins.
Pumpkins Aglow will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 12-16, 19-23 and 26-30.
Of course, the event has more to offer than gourds alone.
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“Near the Pumpkin House, we have skeletons who are gardening,” said associate director of exhibitions Bonnie DeRubertis. “There is a giant pumpkin patch, there is a spooky forest, pirates take over part of the Children’s Garden.”
This is in addition to an abundance of family activities and crafts, including sand art, spin art, fortune-telling, face-painting and lawn games.
“It’s that balance of: ‘How do you make this spooky-feeling but also really comfortable and fun and safe for 5-year-olds?’” DeRubertis said.
Other features of the event include live entertainment that will change each week. Fire performers will light up the night skies on Oct. 12-16, jugglers will show off their dexterity on Oct. 19-23 and a sway pole witch will impress on Oct. 26-30. Food trucks also change weekly.
Tickets cost $25, ($12.50 for members); $22 for senior citizens ($11 for members); $15 for ages 3 through 12 ($7.50 for members); and free for age 2 and younger. For more information, visit www.fpconservatory.org.
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