Dressing up Derry for the best Hallowe’en parade ever

With the internationally renowned Derry Hallowe’en now just weeks away, revellers are being urged to dress up and even handmake their own bewitching costumes.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 9:18 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 10:18 am
Derry Halloween - Return of the Ancientsâ¬" International Halloween Street Carnival Parade Photo by Lorcan Doherty

From humble bin bags and charity shop gems to handstitched masterpieces, fancy dress has long been at the heart of the celebrations in the city. In fact, what is now a seven-day Samhain spectacular began as a costume party in a local bar in the 1980s.

As supernatural beings and the souls of the dead prepare to flood into the city, organisers are keen for festival-goers to arrive in costume and show the world why no one does Halloween like Derry.

A number of workshops are planned where people can pick up a needle and thread (or a magic wand), and create some frightfully unique looks.

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Derry Halloween - Return of the Ancientsâ¬" International Halloween Street Carnival Parade James Cannava and Shane Foster from Montana, USA. Photo by Lorcan Doherty

Events include False Faces and Ghoulish Garments, a three-day workshop for young people focusing on costume-making and make-up at the Fashion and Textile Design Centre on Shipquay Street, from 28th to 30th October, and a gore-geous Halloween Make-up Workshop at Foyleside’s Make-up Pro Store on 13th October.

Children will also get the chance to stitch their own felted dolls with Louise Kelly of Lou Loves This at a Spooky Stitching event at the Fashion and Textile Design Centre on October 26th.

Derry’s Guildhall will be transformed into a chillingly chic catwalk on October 30th for Gothica Glam and the Wilting Bouquet, an evening of live music, freaky fun and Halloween fashion. It will showcase some of the amazing entries from Junk Kouture, the nationwide recycled fashion contest for budding young designers.

Junk Kouture’s Megan Kelly wants people attending the cabaret-style show to join in the fancy-dress fun – by making something from scratch, or recycling something from the back of the wardrobe or dressing up box.

“The Guildhall is one of the most iconic locations in the city and it’s a chance to create a costume and come to the show dressed up,” Megan said. “Halloween is the one time of the year when you can actually go all out. Why not? Express yourself and be as elaborate as you can – let out your inner self!”

Meanwhile, Aoife Doherty, founder of handmade headwear business Sass and Halo, is busy planning a very special – and top secret – Halloween look of her own.

“I have always dressed up in ridiculous things for Halloween. As a child, once one Halloween ended I would be planning next year’s costume,” she said.

Last year, her pink Sass and Halo horsebox was stationed in the Guildhall Square, where she saw first-hand all the “crazy costumes” and the effort festival-goers went to.

“There are people that go to extremes – light up costumes, all sorts - and people that go for something more low-key. It’s all about what you’re comfortable with,” Aoife said.

“People come from everywhere to experience Derry Halloween.

“It’s a great chance to show everybody else how great we are, and to keep the buzz going. We might as well celebrate that.”

For more information visit www.derryhalloween.com.