Colwick Hall’s Halloween Archive
…read on for a spooky roundup of our experience day and evening banquet
Planning a party, putting on a theme, and forming an experience is exactly what our team do best. Seeking to highlight the Wizarding Afternoon Tea on a magical experience day, the 31st October rang true more than once, being not only Halloween but also the date of the boy who lived.
At times we like to bite off more than we can chew, perhaps explaining how the experience day grew from an afternoon filled with activities for children to enjoy (half term for many) to an evening banquet for just adults – this time with a gin potions class!
Wizarding Afternoon Tea Experience Day
11am arriving were guests (including lots of families) in their robes and favourite house scarf or jumper – it was more than a spectacular sight to witness! Children just taking their first steps sporting the infamous scar and chalk drawing of glasses, armed with their wand in hand. Welcomed by our very own magician ‘Matty Potter’ who performed tricks and spells in our stately reception and later at tables whilst guests enjoyed their themed tea.
12noon much preparation had gone into all the food and decorations by Lauren and her team, maintenance by the wonderful Ray, and not least the powerhouse kitchen team – especially Chefs Ryan and Sue. Guests were initially shown through to the lounge to begin with the magical potions. Many opted for the ‘Unicorn Magical Blood’ or a ‘Buttery Cider Beer’ and the younger folk enjoyed ice-cream floats and fruit potions.
1pm Halloween hit with ‘Monster Mash’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ playing in the background. It was the perfect moment for Amy to lead the young witches and wizards on the spider trail – following an excess of 500 small spiders through the hall of mirrors and never-ending corridors with clues being picked up throughout. A final sighting of the huge Aragog beneath the stone stairs meant successful spider trail hunters were showered with gold coins (the edible version).
2pm next on the activities list was pumpkin carving. This time, Hannah escorted groups to sofas and tables in the Champagne Lounge. Laid before them were pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, and children with their grown-up helpers started carving their best attempts on a scary and spooky demeanour. After being inspected by head chef Jason, the winning entry was selected. Amy presented the young recipient with the first prize certificate in the pumpkin carving competition.
3pm nearing the end of the afternoon with not only the highlights of these activities but also the delicious afternoon tea of savoury sandwiches and fruit scones, to the delicious pea and mint soup, pumpkin pasties and cheese wands. The children particularly enjoyed the chocolate frog cupcake, golden pop cakes and chocolate wands!
4pm the team had one more surprise up their sleeves. All sat down in anticipation and out came our feathery friends. Pet owls, Tookie and Freddie, who made a jaw dropping entrance swiftly followed by several flights. Their wide wingspan caught several by surprise as they glided with tremendous precision. Owl keeper, Amy-Joe, gave a short and informative talk during this owl flight show and many had the opportunity to have selfies taken with their feathery acquaintance of the day.
Over 110 people attended and we were inundated with positive comments and reviews – and many echoed this one by Sue Parker,
“Absolutely fantastic day thank you so much! The owls made it even more magical and thanks to the magician – my Grandson is now convinced it’s all real and there’s a chance he’ll get his letter for the castle in 5 years. Nothing was too much trouble – excellent food and service.”
Halloween Banquet Dinner with Gin Potions Class
5pm this was just halfway through the day. A short interval as we changed over for the evening experience. After a rapid clean-up and reset in readiness for our evening guests, the team met for their briefing before doors opened.
7pm a queue swiftly formed lining the entrance colonnade. Gentlemen in robes, skeleton suits and Dracula teeth, while ladies with glasses, wigs, house ties and capes complete with scarves and fishnets, came in droves ready to party the night away.
7.15pm greeted in the Champagne Lounge with a decorated chocolate wand and the first potions class began. In collaboration with Gincident, guests were called up in rows to concoct the Black Powder gin potion. Glass in hand, they measured out the Black Powder gin and then topped it with prosecco. A flat-rimmed stirrer was then used to rise the gin base through the fizz.
7.30pm guests mingled with further potions and drinks from the bar. Many photos were captured with friends against the brick wall backdrop amidst flying letters, broomsticks and disco with a Halloween silhouette. There was an atmosphere of impatience and excitement as guests waited for the big reveal. Doors were closed to the Grand Ballroom where the Halloween banquet was to be served. ‘What does it look like?’, was the question on everybody’s lips. ‘You’ll have to wait and see’, we teased.
7.40pm the Grand Ballroom opens: long dining hall tables laid with black lycra body-shape runners made real with skulls and imitation hands, candelabra centrepieces, wizarding hats and black cauldrons.
7.41pm guests were welcomed in and were truly amazed as the three black cauldrons puffed and steamed away. The potion maker had perfectly timed the dry ice. While we were itching to show off the Halloween decorated Great Hall, we had one more surprise: Pet Owls, Tookie and Freddie – back for a guest appearance. As guests took their seats as per the table plan and found their name cards and chosen house, the music was softened.
7.45pm Owl flight: Tookie took centre stage and amazed diners. All mobiles in hand, it was as if the entire paparazzi of Nottingham had shown up to catch the sight before them. Three flights in, she swooped ever so close to several foreheads and was cheered with much applause. The candles could now be lit.
7.50pm Lauren, Deputy Headmistress, and Host, Selva, addressed the diners from the gold eagle podium. Encouraged to open their scrolls, witches and wizards now had the magical yet technical task of following the recipe in making their second potion of the evening. Key ingredients measured in glass jars were laid out before them on black slates. There was a hive of activity as the Gincident crew were on hand to help diners concoct their house gin. The magic Sharif gin was undoubtedly the star of the show, commencing life with a royal blue complexion yet once released and poured over ice and topped with Fentimans tonic turned a magical light crimson shade!
8pm Dinner was served with a themed 3 course banquet. With a choice of starters from ‘Eyeball Caprese Salad’ to ‘Witch Fingers’ – we opted for the Hocus Pocus oxtail soup which was ecstatic! The rump of Beef goulash was the main course with overriding popularity. Once again, for the sweet toothed, you were really spoilt for choice. ‘Bobbing Blackberry and Apple Pie’ to ‘Devilish Dark Chocolate Torte’, and the ‘Pomegranate and Sloe Gin Cheesecake’ gave yet more drooling moments.
9pm House Games began with a ‘Which Witch?’ quiz. Conversations were in full flow as this guessing game proved quite demanding – even for the die-hard Halloween enthusiasts. Completed entries were collected with the successful quiz winner treated to an afternoon tea for two.
10pm The House Disco began in the Champagne Lounge and guests aplenty partied to bewitched Halloween hits and many more through to midnight.
12am Carriages after a Halloween night like no other, a really magical, social and dining experience!
We were thrilled with more positive comments to follow, and what a day to be at Colwick Hall!
“Amazing night at the themed Halloween banquet last night at Colwick Hall – the attention to detail was just fantastic! In one night I got to eat a chocolate wand, make my own magic alcoholic potion, drink gin cocktails, eat themed food, sit with smoking cauldrons & have an owl fly over my head! Well done team!” – Fiona Duncan Steer, Direcrtor of RSViP Business Network Nottingham
Now, we patiently await Halloween 2018!
Til the next one,