Halloween is kind of a big deal in our household. My son is as obsessed with Halloween just as much as I am, he’s mentioned how he’d take Halloween over Christmas a few times now… but I’m sure that wouldn’t be the case if he knew that meant no presents! When we were kindly asked by Metro Radio to attend this event on behalf of InNewcastle we jumped at the chance.
Newcastle now seems to be the hub of many Halloween activities these days which I’m sure would challenge London in the stakes now. So, what is the Walk of Fear you may ask and why is it so different from other Halloween events? The Walk of Fear is a family friendly 1 mile woodland trail in the dark at Saltwell Park, Gateshead. This event is for such a worthy cause as the event helps raise money for local charity Cash For Kids. Cash For Kids helps local children and young people who are suffering from abuse or neglect, who are disabled and have special needs or who simply need extra care or guidance.
The event opened its gate at 5pm, with the main event beginning at 6pm. We arrived at the event and where greeted with an array of funfair rides. As you can imagine, my little one was in his element. There must have around 15 rides to choose all suitable for an array of different ages. We arrived just after 5pm and already the event was bustling. From face painting, to fancy dress awards and stilt walkers to spooky music and stage entertainment hosted by Metro Radio DJ’s, you were spoilt for choice and the children were certainly entertained – after all this event was catered specifically for them after all.
With the main event due to start we headed towards to queue, not realising we where late to the party with people obviously queuing up a lot sooner than us… you know us Brits love a queue. The event didn’t start till around 6.20pm but with such a huge queue in front of us, we didn’t get in until 6.45pm. To say there was such a big queue and the weather being wet, cold and windy the children were in such good spirits.
I think we entered the event at the perfect time if I’m totally honest because the sun was down and the park was eerily dark. As we neared closer towards the gate of the Walk of Fear you could see some of the children getting more and more nervous, my child however was bouncing around and couldn’t wait to get through. Once in the Walk of Fear, we headed down the pitch-black path to the sound of blood curling screaming off into the distance.
The live performers at the Walk of Fear were in fact local performing art students from Gateshead College who certainly used their training and knowledge to deliver frights to families who were fearless enough to undertake the trail. Along the one-mile trail you were greeted at stops by an undead array of ghoulish characters including witches, zombies, skeletons, vampires, ghosts and clowns for some truly frightening performances.
From an adult point of view, the event wasn’t scary but from a parent point of view there was just the right amount of scary for the little ones. My child laughed most of the way around and the words, “Wow, that’s cool,” were mentioned on more than once occasion. The live performers were very aware at the fact who they could scare more than others with the performers preying on the adults when they noticed little ones near them – much to the children’s entertainment of their parents being stalked by Dracula or screamed at and chased after by a very creepy looking scarecrow.
Walking through the park, you anticipated when the performers were going to jump out at you but, boy, were you wrong as they jumped out when you least expected. One thing that I feel could have been included was the use of the maze that is situated at Saltwell Park. It would have been the perfect opportunity for some amazingly frightful scares but then again it probably would have gave some of the little ones nightmares. Maybe food for thought for next year though as I know my son and I would have definitely been up for this.
After we completed the course, we were handed a certificate signed by Draclua himself congratulating us on bravely completing the course. We headed back towards the funfair and treated ourselves to a hot chocolate where I casually interviewed by son about the Walk Of Fear…
Me: ‘What was the best part of the Walk Of Fear?’
Jack: ‘When the people jumped out of the bushes and scared us! Oh, also the scary lady who was shouting, “There’s no place like home.”
Me: ‘And the scariest?’
Jack: ‘Well, it was quite weird actually but when the twins (from The Shining) walked up to us and asked if we wanted to play a game and I actually said yes.’ Queue lots of laughing and hand over his mouth!
Me: ‘Which performers outfit was the best?’
Jack: ‘Mine… obviously.’ You weren’t a performing mate but your outfit was pretty cool if I do say so myself!
Lets rephrase this. Me: ‘Which character was the best?’
Jack: ‘Beetle Juice definitely, definitely, definitely!’ This child has a strange obsession with Beetle Juice.
The most important question of all - Me: ‘Would you come back again? If yes, why?’
Jack: ‘Yep I definitely would because I liked all of their costumes and I had so much fun. Can we go again tomorrow Mammy, I really, really, really wanna go back!’
Needless to say, this event has the seal of approval from both Jack and myself. There are so many Halloween trails within The North East now but this is the only one I’m really aware of that happens after dark for the little ones and they really did go the extra mile to ensure for children had a brilliant time but also felt safe in the dark with the significant number of marshals at the event. I can’t recommend this event enough for so many reasons, mainly because it great how such an amazing event raises funds for local disadvantaged child and young people. Another reason being it’s nice that the young ones are being included in Halloween trails, which are now the most happening, and “in” events this Halloween within The North East East.
The Walk of Fear took into consideration of it’s audience with great detailing and made sure the event was suitable for pushchairs, buggies and strollers which also meant the course was suitable for wheel chair and mobility scooter users. Well behaved dogs were welcome to the event and were even encouraged to take part in the fancy dress too. Parking wasn’t really an issue either, as I did worry about this prior to the event. There is plenty of parking around Saltwell Park on the streets that surround it as long as you’re considerate to the local residents. If you don’t drive, public transport is available from Gateshead Interchange and Newcastle City Centre, which takes you direct to the park.
Tickets for the event are £10 per adult and £5 for under 16’s. In my opinion this is very well priced due to the sheer amount of live performers and entertainment throughout the event and you can’t really put a price on spending quality time with your children. We both had such an amazing time and we will certainly be returning for round two next year!
To keep up to date about local events and going ons in Newcastle, be sure to check out: www.innewcastle.co.uk.
For more information about this event head too: www.planetradio.co.uk/metro/local/events/join-our-walk-of-fear/