Belfast Telegraph

Halloween in Northern Ireland: Ghouls and monsters take to the streets

By Joanne Sweeney

Rain failed to dampen the spirits of revellers at the two main Halloween celebrations last night in Belfast and Londonderry.

The cities showed that when it comes to things that go bump in the night, we are not that easily spooked.

In Belfast, fun-loving ghouls, vampires, witches, zombies and skeletons took to the streets for the annual bewitching that is All Hallows' Eve.

Those who weren't in the city's busy bars or a house party took advantage of Belfast's big free entertainment event - the Monster Mash at Titanic slipway.

Thousands gathered to watch what Belfast City Council had billed as the largest firework display in Northern Ireland.

They were not disappointed as just after 8pm, the city's sky was lit up in a kaleidoscope of colour and shapes far above the River Lagan in a 30-minute show.

The event attracted families, groups of young teenagers and couples.

The open-air concert had people dancing despite the persistent light rain and the event's facepainters did a roaring trade in painting webs, spiders and ghostly faces on the young and old.

The Fraser family from north Belfast all dressed up to enjoy the night. Dad Paul's scary clown costume attracted so much attention that people asked to get their picture taken with him.

"This is our first year coming out to the main Belfast event and so far the children are having a great time," said his wife Arianne, who was dressed as a vampire with daughter Eimear (7) as a witch and son William (5) as a pumpkin.

Caroline and Billy Murphy from Belfast and their daughters Shannagh (5) and Madisen (7) never fail to miss the annual fireworks display.

"We come every year and it's a always a great night," said Mrs Murphy.

Bonnie Robinson (25) from Lisburn was dressed as the popular cartoon character Maleficent while her brother Ashley (22) was dressed as a scary woman.

"We are here for the fireworks display, this is my second year here and my parents' first time.

"It's a great night and we are not bothered by the rain."

In Derry - what is now the biggest Halloween festival in Europe - the celebrations began in the early evening as the barriers went up to mark the alcohol-free zones so families could enjoy the events in a peaceful environment.

There was live music in various parts of the city and as darkness fell the first of the ghosts, ghouls and every other sort of fancy dress costume began to drift into the city centre.

The festivities kicked off with the grand parade, with floats adorned as dragons and skeletons - in keeping with the City of Bones theme - dancing through the thronged streets.

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