Saturday 28th October 2023
Report written by Kash
Halloween 2023 brought another instalment of last year's popular task: spookifying the Northfield Allotment! The oldest allotments in Ealing were setting up their favoured Halloween family event - the Halloween Pumpkin Trail! GoodGym Ealing offered help decorating part of the spooky trail: putting up lights and pumpkins on Radbourne Walk!
Sevan and Kash were first to arrive, running a short distance to get to the allotment, where they met the task owner, Clare. They stood in the middle of the path, getting the brief, oblivious to the passers-by.
'Careful, a bike!' said Sevan.
'That's one of ours!' Kash noticed.
'Oh, that's Penny!'
The access to the allotments was restricted by a metal fence. Only the holders of the keys had the freedom to go in and out. Clare abolished the unfair system and bestowed one of the keys upon Kash so the goodgymming class could enter the site.
The first task was to distribute 50 carved pumpkins along Radbourne Walk, the path running alongside the allotments. The requirements were as follows:
After letting all GoodGymers behind the fence, Clare revealed a group of carved pumpkins hidden under a tarpaulin. She gave us wheelbarrows and battery-powered tea lights. Soon, we faced those few small challenges that made all the fun!
One pumpkin didn't have a face, so Michelle stepped in to massacre (I mean: decorate!) it. Her piece was a brutalist art manifesto, capturing GoodGym's sense of community, equality, simplicity and strength.
After the Steel Curtain was abolished and the pumpkins had the freedom to go out of the allotment, they evenly distributed themselves on both sides of Radbourne Walk. When a strimmer operator was cutting the overgrowth on the left side of Radbourne Walk, all the pumpkins suddenly decided to move right. After the radical Strimmer Reform and abolishing the reign of nettles, we convinced some pumpkins to return to the left and restore the balance of power.
We discovered there were not enough working tea lights for all the pumpkins. We had to appoint two tax collectors to find the pumpkins who had accumulated all two lamps and collected a whopping 50% tax. Luis and Christos then gave a tea light to the poor pumpkins that didn't have a single lamp in them.
When Rohan joined us, we started the final task: putting up ropes with lights and spooky decorations across Radbourne Walk. We were at an advantage this time as the allotment crew had already assembled the strings. All we had to do was switch on the lights and fix the cables to hooks on one side of the path and trees or the fence on the other. We had plenty of hands to do that and a step ladder (however, Clare was very happy when she heard earlier that The tall guy from last year would come to the task. At some point, Kash and Sevan had to run East for their next mission, so there was a change of command. Caz, who got the keys and the hotline to Clare now, led the group, making sure all strings were in place for the event.
After dusk, Sevan and Kash returned to Northfield Allotment to inspect whether the decorative strings held up till evening and whether every pumpkin on Radbourne Walk was glowing well with a single light in. As other GoodGymers, they got free entry to the event. The code word GoodGym, didn't seem to work at the entrance but the name Clare did the trick. The visiting GoodGymers could see all the effort their team and allotments' volunteers had put into the event. If Sevan and Kash were not terrified by the skeletons on the trail, they got a bit scared of the pouring rain that just started. Nevertheless, the event has gone well. When they encountered Clare, she mentioned 3000 visitors popping into the Pumpkin Trail so far.