Although this country is steeped in many traditions, Halloween is a celebration that seems to have been embraced by only the hippest nightclubs and bars, pouncing on yet another sales ploy to get us through the door. Most definitely not the kind of party we want to take our children to, even if the ghoulish dressing-up thing is right up their street!
Indeed, trick-or-treating out here is more tricky than treat. It would involve going up and down in lifts and lengthy explanations to security guards long before getting a finger anywhere near the door bell. Some schools are allowing a dress-up day to honor the event but unless mum is happy to clad the house in cobwebs, don a broomstick and pointy hat, organize a party and open the home to the likes of ketchup stained vampires high on a variety of E-numbered delights, what is available in Warsaw to help our children acknowledge Halloween?
Well the answer can be found about ten minutes outside the city center: Warsaw’s very own pick-your-pumpkin farm! Yes, the search for summer’s largest watermelon is passé, it’s time to get a glimpse of Poland’s largest pumpkin and search for new pumpkin inspired recipes to spice up the autumn. And as winter looms, you just can’t miss the warm orange glow of a thousand of these things begging for a home.
My first visit was last year, and although it was bitterly cold, we still managed to spend a hilarious 90 minutes searching for our perfect pumpkin, getting a brief lesson on how to make the best lantern face and receciving some well needed advice on pumpkin meat – the part to keep for making the best soup and pie.
The majority of the time, however, was spent watching my daughter run around the Halloween maze. At first glace the straw-built labyrinth looked rather small, cumbersome and not for the likes of todays techno-minded toddlers… but we were proved wrong. The maze was a wonderful place for her to run, hide and explore hidden nooks, her senses all the time tantalized by the smell and texture of the straw. As the maze comes to an end children approach a cosy, little hut, home to a few bunny rabbits, pigs and chickens – thankfully not for sale (much to my husband’s disappointment). And this year, I have on good authority, a lamb has joined this animal clan.
For a small amount we filled the boot of the car with an array of pumpkins and set off home, all of us ready and psyched for a serious session of Halloween-style, pumpkin transformation. Ironically, the Polish translation of Pumpkin is dynia and that is exactly what our pumpkins became. The amount of soup and pie I had to make was our dynia for weeks!
The farm is open every day, 9am to 5pm, from mid-Sept-ember to October 31st, and is located on ul. Przyczółkowa 2K, Powsin. You can organize a group visit in advance which includes a Halloween quiz. Information is available in English. For more details call tel. 692 992 589 or visit www.farmadyn.pl.