Halloween at the Newtown Road Cemetery

Halloween at Newtown Road Cemetery 2023
This Halloween, the historic Newton Road Cemetery in Rushden, England, became the stage of an original event that blended slow tourism with an educational note.

Event organisation

In October 2023, Friends of Newtown Road Cemetery linked up with City Arts, a community art centre, based in an old Wesleyan Missionary Chapel, to organise a unique Halloween event like no other.

With a total of eight executed performances, the event proved to be a great success, leaving participants with lasting memories and a newfound appreciation for the stories embedded in Newton Road Cemetery.

"Memergising" a ghost

During the event, the participants, primarily families, engaged in the creative process of decorating skulls before encountering the Great Memergiser, an actor and poet. He challenged them to use their experiences to "memergise" a ghost that evening.

Participants then walked along three alleys and met a Wise Woman in each. They were given rosemary (they had to touch green on green as they went along), a red candle and a black stone with a rune on it. Upon arriving at the cemetery, they were met by the sexton, who skillfully guided them in the dark to the ceremony site where, as if by magic, the Great Memergiser awaited them.

As they lit their candles and commenced a chant, the rhythm gradually transformed into the powerful phrase, "We remember them". The Chapel doors swung open, revealing a mystical haze and a ghost, who thanked them for their efforts and dashed off to find someone they knew in their life.

Inside the Chapel, participants enjoyed spiced apple juice while viewing a display of 19th-century photos (CDVs), challenging them to identify the ghost they had encountered. However, the missing names on the CDVs made this task impossible.

Print and label your photos

The educational message resonating from the event encouraged participants to return home and, over the winter, label their photos. This simple act ensures that future local historians will be able to identify individuals even a century later. It was also a poignant reminder to print cherished photos.