Halloween, Christmas coming this year to ANHS

This year's seasonal display at the Annandale National Historic Site Pratt Gallery will highlight Christmas ornaments. (Chris Abbott/Norfolk Tillsonburg News/File Photo)

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Two holiday seasons will be celebrated in the coming months at Annandale National Historic Site in Tillsonburg.

“We have some children’s programming happening for the fall,” said Patricia Phelps, Manager of Culture & Heritage/Curator at Annandale National Historic Site.

“Since none of us know what Halloween is going to be like yet, we thought it would be fun to have a little party. If we have a beautiful October, we’ll actually do it outside. And if it’s not so nice, because we have limited numbers of children we will be able to socially distance properly in our Program Room.”

Phelps noted there will be two Halloween parties, both on Oct. 24.

“Because of COVID and distancing restrictions, they are limited numbers. So to allow more kids to come we actually split the age groups. So we’re offering a two-hour party in the morning for little people and a two-hour party in the afternoon for slightly older.”

The first from 9 to 11 a.m. for ages four to seven will feature games, crafts, and treats. Each child will be bringing home their own pumpkin. The second party, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., for ages eight to 12, features the same for the older children.

COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place, and pre-registration is required. Call ANHS at 519-842-2294.

“The biggest exiting news is that Christmas will come to the museum this year… just not the usual Christmas.”

ANHS staff will be offering booked-appointment guided tours of the decorated first floor.

“This year staff will be decorating the first floor for the season… and we just don’t know how we’re going to be able to compete with our wonderful volunteers,” Phelps smiled, “but we will give it our best college try. We have ideas.”

Rooms include the breakfast room, butler’s pantry, dining room, library, parlour, kitchen, as well as the main hallway.

“We’re putting on our Christmas elf hats and we’re going to be working long and hard.”

The Pratt Gallery, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 30, will exhibit An Ornamental Christmas featuring the history of Christmas tree ornaments.

From Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, a daily private Christmas Tea and Tour takes place at 2 p.m. ($15 per person, maximum six people per tour).

“We’re quite excited about that,” Phelps nodded.

There will be two ornament-making workshops, Dec. 16 and Dec. 22, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ($5 per person).

The gallery and museum – including all programs – are open for advance booking appointments only.

“You can call right now to reserve your spot,” Phelps concluded. “We’re here and we’re ready.”