Belfast Telegraph

Derry to shine with sterling Halloween spooktacular

By Brendan McDaid

Silver spooks, killers, wolves and a pussycat will all be swooping on Londonderry for Europe’s largest free Halloween bash this month.

The 25th Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival in Derry will have a spooky silver theme throughout the celebrations.

Four days of spellbinding, family-friendly activities are planned from October 28, including a spectacular carnival parade and fireworks display in the city centre.

On Halloween night itself on Monday October 31, music will come from ex-Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt and her group, Her Majesty And The Wolves, while a range of storytelling events, unique outdoor shows, sports events and ghostbuster tours will be held across the four days of the Halloween weekend.

Hailed as Europe's biggest outdoor festival, the carnival annually attracts between 30,000 and 40,000 people into the city centre.

Mayor Maurice Devenney said Halloween is a unique event in the city and something that has grown in popularity over the years.

He added: “It's a fantastic event for the city and offers everyone an opportunity to enjoy a range of free events to suit every age.

“A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes putting this year's programme together with a record number of free events with a family focus appeal and performances by local performers and acts, and local carnival participants.

“This year's event promises to be one of our best yet as we prepare for being UK City of Culture in 2013.”

Derry City Council’s events organiser Gerald McColgan said the addition of events for teenagers and young people was an added boost to this year's event.

“We are keen to offer something for every audience and feel that performances by local acts such as Paddy Nash And The Enchiladas and Paul Casey, and local up-and-coming bands at the Teenage Spooks Stage, as well as appearances by Her Majesty And The Wolves and The Killers Of Leon, gives this year's festival added value.”

He said that with the Halloween falling on the Monday — a bank holiday in the Republic — hotels and B&Bs across the city and region are expecting a bumper weekend for the local economy.

The Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau is advising people to book early to avoid disappointment.

Mr McColgan said that in addition to the fireworks and carnival parade, other highlights include haunted houses, bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins, puppet theatre and family film shows, as well as fancy dress, face-painting, sports and atmospheric outdoor markets.

For full details, log on to www.derry city.gov.uk/halloween, or contact the festival office (028) 7137 6545.

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