Each Halloween, the little corner of Cambridge known as West Galt comes alive with chilly autumn winds bearing witness to a unique spectacle- a captivating tableau featuring beloved characters from Hollywood’s most iconic movies. As one local, Steve Hahn, vocalizes the sentiment of the neighborhood, “We come every year with the grandchildren…I think everybody in the community really appreciates what this community does.”
A tradition that dogs its roots to West Galt Pumpkin People, a yearly neighborhood event, involves transforming the streets into a veritable cinema of pumpkins. This year’s theme: Hollywood movies. Neighbors, united by friendly competition and community spirit, have so far erected at least 40 life-like pumpkin installations.
The streets of West Galt are a cinema lover’s fantasy this season, with every house sporting an incredibly detailed cinematic display. Jessica Hewitt, co-creator of a charming rendition of Cast Away, wows, “Every single home on the street has a display, year after year.”
The festive fervor spreads like wildfire, with installations ranging from pulp fiction to E.T., right up to the unforgettable Titanic raft scene. The tradition, started back in 2015 by Scott Illsley and his family, owes its inspiration to the traditional pumpkin festival held annually in Nova Scotia.
Scott took to remembrance, “[I] never thought when I first started doing this that people would be so excited about it and put so much effort into it.” Somewhat a local legend now, Scott and his family might have moved to Prince Edward Island, but their enthusiasm for ensuring the Halloween festivities continue remains unfazed.
Madeline Martin, the artistic brain behind an excellent The Grinch display, hails the family’s efforts, “Scott and Allison began the tradition, and then we just kept on doing it every year.”
Residents and visitors who are interested can view the interactive map available on the West Galt Pumpkin People website to locate each of these local masterpieces. Mike Parkhill, the creative mind behind the captivating Finding Nemo display, optimistically muses, “I think we’ll keep it going as long as people are interested…Hopefully the next generation in the neighborhood does and keeps it going.”
Displayed through the first week of November, these hauntingly luminous exhibits stand as a beacon of community involvement and unity. The organizers, albeit, have managed to incorporate a charitable angle to the merriment too. They will be collecting donations for Sick Kids on Halloween night, amalgamating the joy of Halloween with the spirit of sharing and caring.