Details about the 2016 Hallowe’en extravaganza planned for next month have been released, with five days of ghoulish goings on to mark 30 years as the premier Hallowe’en destination.
This year’s theme for Derry and Strabane will be “Out of this World”, with a spectacular programme drawn up.
Coming on the back of Derry being named the Best Hallowe’en Destination in the world in a USA Today public poll, the local Council has promised the best celebration yet with events and activities for revellers of all ages to enjoy and participate in.
On Hallowe’en night, Monday October 31, Derry will host an evening of fun and entertainment when the City of Bones Street Carnival Parade will make its way along Derry’s Queen’s Quay from 7pm, followed by a Fireworks Finale at 8pm,.
In Strabane, the Upper Main Street car park will be transformed into a family friendly fun area from 7pm to 8.30pm and a fireworks display over the River Mourne will begin at 8pm.
Among the other key highlights of the festival include a welcome return of the Awakening of the Walls when the ancient City Walls will come to life with music, animation and light, creating a realm of fantasy fire and flame from Friday October 28 to Sunday 30 from 6pm to 8pm each night.
Other highlights include spooky Gothic organ recitals at the Guildhall on the evening of Sunday 30 October, terrifying haunted tours at the Tower Museum, Weird and Wonderful Witches Tales at the Guildhall, a Hallowe’en panto at Strabane’s Alley Theatre, Monstrous Halloween workshops and Storytelling at Strabane Community Library and family entertainment including mask making workshops and arts and crafts at the Craft Village.
New to this year, there will be a ‘Made in Derry’ Halloween focused food tour on Saturday 29 October from 12pm to 4pm where you can adorn your favourite Halloween costume and eat and drink your way around the city centre and sample cuisine from over 30 different food and drink producers and venues.
The Hallowe’en Fun Fair will be returning at Ebrington and a horror movie week will be held at the Nerve Centre,.
There will be treasure hunts and spooky bat and ghost tours at Creggan Country Park while the Riverwatch Aquarium will play host to a series of fantastic ghoulish events including a Shark Night and a Barn Owl Prowl.
Gray’s Printing Press in Strabane will host an day of Bewitching Tales while Trick or Treat tours will leave from the Alley Theatre and the Riversdale Leisure Centre will host a Hallowe’en Pool Disco.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, speaking at the launch of the City of Bones Hallowe’en programme, said:
“This year we have a fantastic line up of events and activities for everyone to enjoy. We are expecting an influx of visitors and in particular young families coming to the City and District looking to enjoy our unique Hallowe’en experience and to be part of our world famous Hallowe’en celebrations.
“A lot of work goes into the festival every year and Derry City and Strabane District Council is delighted to have a programme of events that includes street animation, storytelling, tours and trails, street markets and lots of spooktacular happenings, for the entire community to enjoy.”
Jacqueline Whoriskey is the Council’s Festival and Events Manager. She says preparations are at an advanced stage for this year’s festival, with Council pulling out all the stops to make sure the 30th anniversary of the festival is truly special for the people of Derry and Strabane.
“Preparations are well underway and we are delighted to have up to 600 carnival participants taking part in workshops and rehearsals for the Carnival Parade,” she said.
“The ‘Out of this World’ theme encourages people to be creative and think outside the box for their costumes and we are really looking forward to seeing some magical creations and designs taking part.
“We are delighted with the variety of the programme and the fact that cultural venues, shops and theatres in both Derry and Strabane have come up trumps in terms of organising events and activities to complement our festival,” she added.
To find out more about all the events taking place in the City of Bones in the run up to and during Hallowe’en check out the full programme at www.derrystrabane.com/halloween.