For the first time since 2019, this October we hosted ‘Peninsula Pumpkins’ at The Rifles Museum. These Halloween activities included pumpkin carving, colouring, local and military ghost stories, and pumpkin recipe handouts.
Due to the pandemic, ‘Peninsula Pumpkins’ did not take place in 2020. For 2021, I was keen to see the event make a comeback! Lyburn Farm, famous for its cheese, but also a vegetable farm, had sponsored The Rifles Museum’s Halloween activities in 2018 and 2019. I contacted them and was very pleased when they said that they would be happy to, once again, provide pumpkins for our event.
To make sure the pumpkins were as fresh as possible, I travelled to Lyburn Farm to collect them on Monday 25th October, the day before the event started. All went without a hitch, and we were told to take as many as we liked. With the car loaded with 50 pumpkins, we headed back to Winchester!
By Tuesday, all was set-up and ready in the museum. Over the course of the next three days, we saw plenty of families and children coming in to choose and design their pumpkins (which were usually actually carved by me!). Visitors enjoyed both our usual Regiment-themed colouring and our special, spooky colouring sheets. Dressing up and riding the museums quadbike also proved popular – both of which have only recently returned to the museum.
My favourite memories of the event were helping to carve a 2 ¾ year old visitor’s first ever pumpkin, being bombarded by military history questions by many young visitors (my favourite subject!) and seeing so many fantastically creative pumpkin designs.
With the event over, the museum had a few pumpkins left over. These ended up going home with staff and colleagues from The Rifles RHQ and across Winchester’s Military Museums, for either cooking, composting or carving.
Thanks to the support and generous donations of those who attended ‘Peninsula Pumpkins’, the event was a success. Your support helps us to continue to host activities in the museum and to plan more events for the future.
We look forward to seeing you again for ‘Peninsula Poppies’ in November and ‘Christmas Card Making’ in December.
James Fenton – Assistant Curator, The Rifles Museum