Pupils prepare for Halloween

Cian O'Reilly and Ella Mulligan with one of the pumpkins grown by pupils at Abbeylara National School
A national school in Longford saw their Halloween preparations start almost six months ago, as they began the process of growing their own pumpkins for the occasion.

A national school in Longford saw their Halloween preparations start almost six months ago, as they began the process of growing their own pumpkins for the occasion.

The project saw pupils of St Bernard’s, Abbeylara nurture their plants from seed to pumpkin, ending up with 12 pumpkins ranging in weight from less than 1kg up to 12kg.

In May of this year, Eugene Brady - an uncle of one of the students - visited the school. An award-winning pumpkin grower himself, Eugene brought in pumpkin seeds to the pupils. On May 6, the seeds were planted in pots at the school. The pupils made sure that the pots had plenty of heat and sunlight in order to help them grow.

Shortly afterwards, the school’s principal, Mary Quinn took the pots home, placing them on her kitchen window, before moving them to a window sill in her garage, as it was still too cold for the plants to be moved outside.

The school then had another visitor, in the form of Vincent Quinn, who helped the pupils to plant the pumpkins in the small vegetable patch at the school. Not just confined to school time, the project was one for the whole family, with 9 families volunteering to water the vegetable patch throughout the summer holidays.

On the children’s return to school, the pumpkins were green in colour and had grown. Eventually, once they were ready, the pumpkins were cut and left inside until they turned orange.

Over the past few weeks the pumpkins have been prepared for Halloween, as Mrs Quinn explains that some were carved, while it is hoped to raffle the others. The pumpkins were also used for Maths Week, helping the students to learn about weight and measurement! Mrs Quinn added that it was a “combination of things” that led them to such success, happily adding; “it worked!”