A MUM from Tadley has set up a huge Halloween fundraising trail for the children in the area, in an attempt to make up for cancelled celebrations throughout the year.

Bobie Jones, 30, is a mind and body health coach for her own company, Thriveology.

She has lived in the town her whole life, and was saddened at the thought of children stuck indoors during their break from school, so she decided to put together a Halloween trail, involving more than 100 homes.

“It all came from my own children, and wanting to help other families this half term, after the summer holidays being very different this year,” she said.

“My eldest son loves Halloween - possibly more than Christmas! Having to tell my children again that something was cancelled, I just couldn’t tell my son that we can’t do Halloween and I thought to myself, I can’t be the only one.

“I wanted to make sure that children didn’t miss out, being stuck inside. It’s a walking trail, outdoors so that way if we had gone into lockdown, people could still take part.

“We don’t know what’s coming round the corner for Christmas, and keeping spirits up is so important.”

Bobie saw the idea of the pumpkin trail on other community pages, and decided to take it a step further. She put out the call on the Tadley Mums Facebook page, and was “shocked” at the overwhelming response.

“I have been inundated with messages of gratitude. It is giving people something to look forward to, a focus point, something to be creative with.

“We are trying to do as much as possible with recycled goods, that way everyone, whether you are from a low income family or not, can still take part.

“116 houses came forward - it would have been even more but some unfortunately missed the cut-off. The numbers in the group kept doubling - it’s just gone a bit crazy!

“I think community support is a big thing. We’re all in this together.”

Participants can expect to spot a whole array of different spooky displays, from pumpkins in windows to full-house dress ups, spiders and cobwebs, a smoke machine, and even one home projecting Halloween scenes.

Bobi made and designed maps, marking all the houses with displays, sponsored by her company.

Alongside the trail, she is running a costume competition for children, a best pumpkin carving competition, and a raffle - with prizes donated by many local businesses, including a family pass to the 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park in Newbury.

“When I was designing the map, I offered free advertisement to local businesses, and of course many of them donated prizes, so it's fantastic because it's supporting the wider community as well,” she said.

Maps can be purchased for £2 from the Gourmet Queens Café in Baughurst, or a digital version is available by emailing bobie@thriveology.co.uk. All of the proceeds raised will go straight to the Intensive Care Unit at Basingstoke hospital.

Bobie said: “Covid is a global issue and it has affected so many lives, whether it’s losing family members, or just being in a state of anxiety. It is a very worrying time for people.

“Hospitals across the country have been inundated. With Basingstoke being local, it was my focus to support them

“I paid for the maps myself, my business has covered the costs, so that all the money can go straight to the hospital.”

The trail is running from Saturday, October 24 to Sunday, November 1 and, despite the poor weather, is off to a great start.

“Especially if you have got young children who are still excited about Halloween, they’ll get exercise during half terms, but can also spot Halloween houses along the way,” said Bobie.

“We have not encouraged people to put out treats for children, but have done a twist on trick or treat and have said if parents can take sweets with them, as they spot a house they can do it that way.”

The mum-of-three says the organisation has not been easy, but very much worth it, and is already looking ahead to a potential Christmas trail, and even getting questions about next year.

“I sometimes pinch myself and think, ‘How have I managed to do it?’, but my boys were also my biggest motivation,” she said.