Marie Louise McConville: It will be a very different Halloween this year for the kids

Outdoor Halloween event at Millbrook Lodge Hotel gave kids a little sense of normality during these tough times
Marie Louise McConville

Finally, the spookiest day of the year is here - so, what are your plans?

Maybe you're putting the finishing touches to some spooktacular costumes and then cooking up a beastly banquet of fangtastic food ahead of all your family and friends arriving for the biggest, bestest, most scary Halloween houlie ever.

Then it will be time for some terrible trick or treating with all the neighbours and then there will be a frightening fireworks display and probably a deathly disco to follow - it will be fantastic night.

Ok, so no.

Given the times we are living in, Halloween has been pretty much cancelled this year and it's sad for the kids.

Every year, we have a small party at home for the kids before they go out trick or treating and given how young they are, it has been hard to explain to them why they can't do it this year.

We had also planned to attend a couple of Halloween-themed events with them to try and give them some form of fun but given the new restrictions that came into force recently, they have been cancelled.

So, thank the heavens then for the Millbrook Lodge Hotel in Ballynahinch who put together a wonderful outdoor Pumpkin Patch Trick or Treat Trail, which ticked all the boxes in terms of social distancing and restrictions.

The event encouraged the kids to dress up and then follow a map of locations around the hotel's grounds - from meeting the wicked witch to the scary scarecrow, you invited them into the pumpkin patch to pick their pumpkins.

They then watched as they were carved with their choice of faces before they had to visit the Haunted Hill where Harry Potter was waiting to greet them and then it was time for some petrifying photo ops.

At each location, they received a stamp on their map and on returning to the start, these were exchanged for a spooky goodie-bag.

Kids could then play some Halloween-themed games including throwing hoops around the witches' hats and rolling pumpkins.

Burgers and hot dogs were on offer however Abbie and I opted for two warm cups of hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows. Delicious.

The kids really enjoyed all the spooky characters along the route including the lady with her head stuck in a toilet seat and the clowns buried in the leaves.

It was just so nice to be able to bring them along to enjoy something fun, given how tough things are for them at the moment.

Both have been missing their friends and school and the team at the Millbrook managed to give them a little bit of Halloween happiness and in a way, a bit of normality.

However you're celebrating Halloween today, I hope you have some hair-raising fun and let's all look towards the brighter days ahead.

Happy Halloween everyone.


It's the news I've been waiting to hear since 2013.

Legally Blonde 3 will be released in cinemas in May 2022.

That's right, our favourite Gemini vegetarian, Elle Woods - sorority girl-turned-lawyer - is returning for a third instalment in the movie series and I can't wait.

MGM made the release announcement on its Twitter page, tweeting: "Elle Woods is back! Legally Blonde 3 coming May 2022. We rest our case."

Although additional cast details and plot details are being kept under wraps, I have no doubt it will be funny, classy and fun.

Bring it on, I just know it will be pink-tastic.


If the wind and rain and cool temperatures have left you dreaming of cosy nights in, how about a "most enjoyable read set in the wild and majestic landscape of Cornwall" to keep you company?

A Cornish Betrothal by Nicola Pryce Keynote is set in Cornwall in 1798.

Eighteen months have passed since Midshipman Edmund Melville was declared missing, presumed dead, and Amelia Carew has mended her heart and fallen in love with a young physician, Luke Bohenna.

But, on her 25th birthday, Amelia suddenly receives a letter from Edmund announcing his imminent return.

In a state of shock, Amelia is torn between the two.

When Edmund returns, it is clear that his time away has changed him however, Amelia is determined to nurse him back to health and honour his heroic actions and renounces Luke.

But soon, Amelia begins to question what really happened to Edmund while he was missing.

So, who will she turn to - Edmund, or Luke?

I have five copies of A Cornish Betrothal to give away.

If you fancy winning a copy, simply email your name, address and telephone number - along with the answer to the question below - to

Closing date for entries is 12 noon on Tuesday, November 3, 2020

(Q) Who wrote A Cornish Betrothal?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply but please note that there will be a delay in processing our competitions during the period of the current restrictions.

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