Great Pumpkin Ball at Botanical Garden

A huge fall celebration at Space for Life!

The Botanical Garden is celebrating the 27th edition of its Great Pumpkin Ball. Events feature the everpopularpumpkin-deco-

John Symon


rating contest and Esmeralda, the friendly witch. At the Insectarium, spiders will be the stars of the show, showing off their spectacular skills in a number of original presentations, like Acrobatic Spiders. It is an unusual experience that puts a different "spin" on things!At the nearby Biodôme (a zoo), there are other activities during the festive October 27-28 weekend. Central to these activities is The Great Pumpkin Ball which features a pumpkin-carving contest. Who will win the prize for the best-decorated pumpkin? Or the biggest one? The public is invited to put creativity to work and see what can be made with recycled materials. There are individual, family or group contests, and five age categories with cash prizes for the winners.The pumpkins will be on display in the Botanical Garden's Main Exhibition Greenhouse from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through October 31. The friendly witch,Esmeralda, accompanied by her cat,Abracadabra, and her broom, Gontran, invites children to recite some intriguing magic spells. There is also a play for ages 4 to 8 (in French): "Il était un petit Pépo" where Pépo is having an identity crisis. Marie, the market gardener, tries to calm him down by explaining how he grew from a tiny seed into a pumpkin. There is also the Little Monsters Courtyard - an outdoor play area for the under-10 set. From pumpkin-aroos to battling monsters,Insect Soup,a hungry frog toss and a squash hunt, children are sure to enjoy themselves in this Halloween-themed play area. Games of skill, races, jumping - there's plenty of fun in store! Can they make it across the shaky bridge? At the Squash Kiosk, the spotlight is on the Cucurbitaceae family. The public can learn about the sixty different varieties of squash, try the squash quiz or take home some pumpkin seeds and a collection of tasty recipes! Daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 7 p.m. on Friday & Saturday) The Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) kiosk provides the public a chance to meet local agricultural growers. On weekends, come and talk with the farmers who put healthy, delicious food on our tables. Halloween Origami lets the public discover how to transform a simple square of paper into a pumpkin, spider or black cat. This is done through the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. Naturally, it takes place at the Japanese Pavilion,weekends, from 2 to 4 p.m. At the Insectarium (an indoor facility on the grounds of the Montreal Botanical Garden), there is a show entitled: Spiders Unmasked. Spiders are true tightrope walkers, champions at lassoing,sprinting,weaving and tagging.They're amazing athletes who steal the spotlight wherever they go! One of the Insectarium's nature interpreters and an acrobatic colleague offer a thrilling tribute. Also at the Insectarium there are some other shows, including one called "Insects onTour" where the public can meet spiders and insects dressed up as superheroes and out of

Credits: Montréal Botanical Garden (Michel Tremblay) Kids have fun at Little Monsters' Courtyard

their vivariums for Halloween. There is also "Pop-capsules" where some odd characters who know all about entomology will be waiting to reveal all kinds of secrets about spiders. The public is equally invited to learn about jumping spiders which are smart and have some surprising tricks for attracting the opposite sex. Other Halloween activities will take place at

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the Montreal Biodôme where many of the resident animals will be challenged to open pumpkins filled with their favourite foods. This fun-to-watch enrichment activity keeps the animals alert and curious, just as they are in the wild. More info:

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