Tomorrow evening Derry celebrates one of its biggest annual public events, the Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival.
Tens of thousands of people, of all ages, many in fancy dress, will take to the streets to take part in what has become a very unique Derry celebration.
The city’s Hallowe’en festival has established itself as the premier event of its kind in Europe and attracts thousands of visitors to Derry each year.
While in the past the festival attracted criticism for its association with public drunkenness and underage drinking, great strides have been made in recent years to ensure the carnival is now a family-friendly and alcohol-free event.
The vast majority of revellers, including families with young children, enjoy the festivities in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
However, each year in the aftermath of Hallowe’en we are faced with reports of fights, sexual assaults, and firework injuries. While such incidents are not representative of the city as a whole at Hallowe’en, even one incident where someone is hurt or injured is one too many.
Derry City Council, together with local arts and cultural organisations, have worked extremely hard to create a festival which includes something for everyone. Hallowe’en is a chance for Derry to shine and to celebrate in a way that shows the creativity and ingenuity of local people.
So this year everyone must work together to ensure that everyone experiences all the fun of the festival and none of the horrors of Hallowe’en.