The Mayor Michaela Boyle wishes Derry a happy and safe Hallowe’en

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It’s that time of year again with Derry overrun with ghosts, ghouls and all things supernatural as we count down to the biggest Hallowe’en celebration in the country this Thursday.

The fiendish festivities are already in full swing with the Awakening the Walls event opening the gateway between the ghostly realms of the underworld and the city’s historic walls until Wednesday, heralding the approach of All Hallows’ Eve.

With tens of thousands of people expected to descend upon the city centre for Thursday night’s big event, the Mayor of Derry City & Strabane, Councillor Michaela Boyle, is looking forward to another ‘fangtastic’ showcase event for the region.

But as the final preparations get underway, the Mayor also had a serious message for all Hallowe’en revellers.

“The excitement is already building ahead of Hallowe’en night and over the coming days there will be plenty of spooky activities for all ages,” she said.

“The event has been growing year on year, and we expect there to be a huge audience for the Carnival parade this year. I just want to take this opportunity to issue a reminder to people that this is a family friendly event and we want to make sure it’s an enjoyable one for all attending.

“With large crowds anticipated please take heed of the advice issued about traffic and travel, plan ahead and be mindful that there will be parking restrictions and road closures in place. Follow the signage and also any guidance from the PSNI and stewards who are there to ensure your safety on the night.

“Parents please be aware of where your children are – and that’s big children as well as little ones!

“Arrange meeting points in crowded areas and ensure teenagers have transport home if out with friends, and that mobile phones are charged.

“If consuming alcohol do so responsibly and be aware of the risks of over indulgence.

“If you’re planning on dressing up please heed the warnings about costumes, check the labelling and only buy products which meet the relevant safety requirements.

“Finally I want to wish everyone a ‘boo-rilliant’ Hallowe’en – take care and have a ‘terrorific’ celebration.”

A number of measures have been put in place to ensure the festivities are enjoyable for everyone.

Parents should note that there are alcohol free zones throughout the city centre and Strabane town. Stewards and PSNI officers will be on duty to provide information and assistance throughout the evening and police will be monitoring and seizing alcohol from anyone under the age of 18.

Council’s Community Safety Wardens will also be working throughout the wider area providing advice and assistance to anyone that they perceive to be in need.

This will include directing people who need to get home or to accommodation or advising on local transportation provision.

Event stewards, community organisations, local volunteers from the Long Tower Youth Group, Our Space and Off the Streets, Council and local police will be on the ground working together as a positive presence, providing support and helping to ensure alcohol misuse is minimised.

When buying fireworks and costumes only buy from a licensed retailer and please note that costumes intended for use by children must carry the necessary labelling and important CE safety mark.

Please be aware of the potential dangers of children wearing fancy dress costumes, either shop bought or home-made, if they’re around fireworks, sparklers, or open flames (such as pumpkins with candles).

Extensive safety advice is available from www.nidirect.gov.uk as part of their ‘Put safety first at Halloween’ message.

Businesses who are supplying Hallowe’en and children’s dress up costumes and accessories, are reminded that the onus is on them to take appropriate steps to ensure they are of the necessary quality and are compliant.

For further information and advice please contact Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Environmental Health Service on 028 7125 3253 or email health@derrystrabane.com

Traffic and Travel information detailing all road closures and traffic restrictions is available at derryhalloween.com