Spook-tacular fun and games!

Kids from Claire's Dance Academy entertained the visitors with their dance routines.
Kids from Claire's Dance Academy entertained the visitors with their dance routines.

Youngsters turned out in style for a spook-tacular day of Hallowe’en fun at a Morpeth shopping centre on Saturday.

As well as taking part in a fancy dress parade and competition, many of the children who came along to Sanderson Arcade took to the craft tent in the piazza area in a bid to compete to create the scariest pumpkin – more than 100 were decorated throughout the afternoon.

Entertainment was provided by super stilt-walkers, a fantastic fire show and a thrilling performance by local dance school Claire’s Dance Academy. There was also a treat trail and Animal Escapades brought some snakes and spiders.

Another activity at the Arcade during the afternoon was a bushtucker trial organised by Morpeth Mayor Alison Byard. It formed part of her fund-raising events for her chosen charity – the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

The other participants were Adrian Drake (general manager at Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre), Rhona Dunn (Morpeth Rotary Club President) and Medi Parry (Sanderson Arcade centre manager). The charities they did the trial for are St Oswald’s Hospice, Contact Morpeth Mental Health and Barnabas Safe and Sound respectively.

The menu consisted of meal worms, crickets in salt and vinegar and coco bugs in chocolate. A total of £210 was raised.

Coun Byard said: “As expected, the bugs were disgusting.

“The crickets were the worst because they were whole crickets and we could still taste them a few hours afterwards, so it helped having a big crowd of parents and children to give us encouragement.

“I think the activity captured people’s imagination and we had a lot of fun being dressed up.

“I’m very grateful to Medi, Rhona and Adrian for agreeing to take part in the bushtucker trial and Morpeth Gadgy Alex Swailes did a great job as the compere.

“You feel such a sense of achievement when you complete this type of challenge.”

The Mayor also judged the scariest decorated pumpkin competition. The winner was 15-year-old Mia Travis, with Amelia Ball, aged seven, taking the runner-up prize.

For the fancy-dress contest, youngsters competed in two age categories.

In the six years and under section the winner was Isaac Sadler-Yasan (aged four) who attends the Northumberland Church of England Academy James Knott Campus. The runner-up was five-year-old Faye McAlpine, an Abbeyfields First School pupil.

Another Abbeyfields pupil, eight-year-old Hayden Dobson, was the runner-up in the seven to 13 section. The winner was Arthur Smith, also eight, who attends Morpeth First School in Goosehill.

Ms Parry said: “We started running a Hallowe’en event four years ago here at the Arcade and it really has grown into a popular and busy event.

“There were some amazing costumes and really fantastic pumpkins – we had more pumpkins than ever before this year.

“It was great to have so many families enjoying the event. Well done to all the competition winners and we hope to see you all back here next year.”