Footsteps in the Forest, Sinister Cinema, and Monster Making – Halloween in Northern Ireland

Three children with lanterns, Halloween toys and big smiles . All three are little girls.

Halloween in Northern Ireland is very vibrant, and especially so the ones in Derry. In fact, about 100,000 people are expected to be in Derry-Londonderry for this year’s festival. No wonder then, it is regarded as one of the largest such celebrations in Europe. This year’s festivities include a fantastic carnival parade and fireworks display.

Elsewhere in Northern Ireland plans are afoot for a whole range of Halloween celebrations from events designed to scare to others a little more child friendly.

If you’re thinking of heading to Northern Ireland this Halloween, this handy little list from Discover Northern Ireland would help you embrace everything spooky and fun!

Awakening The Walled City, Derry-Londonderry

The Walled City of Derry-Londonderry comes alive for Europe’s biggest Halloween festival from October 28-31. Around 100,000 are expected to attend which takes place at 14 key locations across the city. Guildhall Square will be transformed into the Heart of Samhain, with live music, the haunted Halloween market and plenty of festive fayre to feast upon. The Monster Halloween Funfair will have you howling at Ebrington Carpark, not to mention cemetery tours, Silent Disco events, monster making workshops, and sinister cinema screenings. The festival comes together in one giant finale with the return of the magnificent carnival parade and epic fireworks display which will see 40,000 revellers gather on Halloween night for the first time since the pandemic.

Visit www.derryhalloween.com

Halloween Extravaganza, Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast

One of the most popular visitor attractions in Belfast is Crumlin Road Gaol. Though it stopped operating in 1996 there is a lingering fascination about this place and the self-guided tours around the jail are full of fascinating characters. Their Halloween Extravaganza from October 21-31 includes the Spooktacular Gaol Tour, the Pumpkin Puffer Train Ride and the main attraction – The Pumpkin Patch! You can visit the Petting Farm and enjoy Live Interactive Halloween Musicals.

Visit https://discovernorthernireland.com/whats-on/halloween-extravaganza-p805051

Halloween Torchlight Tours, Ulster American Folk Park, Co. Tyrone

Journey back in time at the Ulster American Folk Park, from the Old World of Ulster to the New World of America. The Torchlight Tours explore the life of Amos Burns, who, along with his wife in 1865, travelled to an American town called Drowned Horse Creek. Legend has it that the only correspondence after his departure was a book sent home to his mother written in blood red ink and titled Torment at Drowned Horse Creek. Costumed guides will take you on an adventure, filled with creepy characters, gruesome gore and strange sounds that will put shivers up your spine!

Visit https://www.ulsteramericanfolkpark.org/whats-on/halloween-torchlight-tours

Todds Leap Horror Nights, Ballygawley, Co. Tyrone

The popular Horror Nights at this activity centre continue this Halloween with the Scare Maze and the haunted house attraction, Get Out. Face nightmarish walkways, scare zones, and narrow alleyways as you try to figure out exactly how you are going to get out. Caution! U15s should be accompanied by an adult. Dates include October 21-23 and 28-30.

Visit www.toddsleap.com/events/horror-nights

Armagh Observatory & Planetarium, Co. Armagh

Join a very special Tall Tales & Terror tour of Armagh Observatory this Halloween. Meet your terrifying tour guide and listen to stories that will chill you to the bone. The Armagh Observatory was founded in 1790 by Archbishop Richard Robinson, and with hundreds of years of history, there are plenty of stories to tell. Also join Scientific Sue for a special Halloween themed “Potions and Explosions” live science show at Armagh Planetarium. Events take place October 29-30. Or check out the Spooky Space Dome Show on October 22-31.

Visit https://www.armagh.space/

Footsteps in the Forest, Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Co. Armagh

Footsteps in the Forest is a magical Halloween experience in Slieve Gullion Forest Park from October 27-31. The popular free event will celebrate the Gaelic festival of Samhain (Sow-in), marking the harvest season’s end and the beginning of winter. Visitors will go along a self-guided, illuminated trail into the ‘otherworld’ for a fun and spooky immersive experience that will be brought to life through costumed characters, spectacular illuminations and mythical storytelling.

Visit https://www.visitmournemountains.co.uk/whats-on/footsteps-in-the-forest-p795281

Fireside Folklore at Florence Court, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh

The evening commences with a drinks reception in the National Trust Georgian House. Enjoy local stories told by Paddy Montague with a fireside setting in the Colonel’s room. Take in the atmosphere of Florence Court at night on a special house tour and experience the house as the family would have at harvest. Your evening will finish in the kitchen with traditional music around the range. Seasonal canapes will be provided by Tully Mill showcasing local produce including some from the kitchen garden. Tickets available on October 28 and November 4.

Visit www.fermanaghlakelands.com/whats-on/fireside-folklore-at-florence-court-p807281

Halloween at Hillsborough Castle, Hillsborough, Co. Down

Hillsborough Castle’s Scarecrows have come alive and been possessed by mischievous spirts that have crossed through the veil to our world from October 28-31 with the Scarecrow Night Walk. They are scattered throughout our spookily lit night-time gardens; do you dare come to find them all? Back by popular demand are Cahoots NI Children’s Theatre company and Lumiere Events, who will create a magical and spooky light walk through the historic gardens for all the family to enjoy.

Visit www.hrp.org.uk/hillsborough-castle/whats-on/autumn-family-activiti

Prerna Shah
Prerna Shah
Prerna Shah is a media and content professional with over a decade of experience in both print as well as digital. She pursues her love of a good story and storytelling by writing features, blogs, essays and interviews.

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