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It’s that time of the year when we are getting ready to light up carved pumpkin lanterns for all to enjoy in the Garden. 

As we have done for the last couple of years, we are inviting adults, young people and children to carve their own pumpkin at home for entry into our Dalston Pumpkins competition. To enter, you just need to bring your carved pumpkin lantern to the Garden from Tuesday 24 to Sunday 29 October between 2-6pm. Our team will ask you for some contact details and then take your creation into the Garden to be lit up as part of the nightly display.

All of the pumpkin lanterns will be on show in the Rainbow House and around the Garden. You will be able to see them lit up every night from Wednesday 25 – Tuesday 31 October. We start lighting them all up at around 5pm. The lantern display will grow as the week goes on. We can’t say how big or small it will be, it all depends on how many pumpkin carvers get involved! Last year we were thrilled to have over 80 entries into our competition and the atmosphere they created in the Garden when they were all glowing in the dark was truly magical.

During the half term holidays, in addition to carving pumpkin lanterns with community groups, we will also have a number of sessions for family groups in the Garden. However, as places are very limited, we are asking people who are able to, to carve their pumpkin at home, for entry into the competition.

If you would like to take part in one of the half-term sessions, here’s what you need to know:

  • Sessions will take place on:
    Wednesday 25 October: 1.30 – 3pm & 3.15 – 4.30pm
    Thursday 26 October: 1.30 – 3pm & 3.15 – 4.30pm 
  • We cannot take advance bookings, but places are limited and are offered on a ‘first come first served’ basis. We recommend you come early to avoid disappointment. You can sign up for your session with the pumpkin team, at the stage at the bottom of the Garden, from 1pm.
  • Our pumpkin-carving sessions are led by a workshop leader, but children’s carers must stay with them and support them during the activity at all times, as a ratio of two children maximum per adult.  
  • We will provide the pumpkins and carving materials.
  • All of the pumpkins carved here will stay in the Garden to be part of the competition and display.
  • As the Garden receives no funding for these activities, we will be asking for donations to help us cover the costs. We recommend £3-5 per participant.