Londonderry celebrated Halloween in a style befitting the UK’s City of Culture, with 30,000 people enjoying the spectacle of magic, music and lights.
Around 600 local performers paraded through the famous walled city against a backdrop of carnival attractions, illuminated artworks and giant lanterns.
The Curious Carnival of the Lost Souls Parade – which left Strand Road, passed the City Hotel and the Harbour Square roundabout before arriving at Queen’s Quay – was followed by a spectacular fireworks display.
Even the clock tower in Guildhall Square was lit up in a spooky pumpkin orange colour for the occasion, while hundreds of on-lookers in fancy dress added to the party atmosphere around city centre.
Ruth Burns, of the NI Tourist Board, said: “The Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival is a highlight in Northern Ireland’s events calendar.”
Throughout the week, the city hosted fashion shows, storytelling, an eerie bat walk at Learmount Forest Park and several music and cultural events.
In Lisburn, 5,000 people converged on Wallace Park for the Twilight Night by Fairy Light parade and firework display.
The city’s park was illuminated by special beacons as well as a parade of lights and lanterns.
There was entertainment for children and adults alike in every corner of the sprawling park, including dancers and musicians who mingled with the delighted crowds.
The Halloween festivities in Craigavon on the banks of Lough Neagh had a “ghost ship” theme for 2013.
The excitement began at the Rushmere Shopping Centre with a children’s fancy dress and lantern parade before it made its way to Craigavon Watersports Centre. Throughout the evening, the crowds were entertained by stilt walkers, circus performers and a samba band.
A performance by the Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra was particularly well received by the large crowd.
In the north west, the “Halloween Happening” drew large crowds to the Rugby Avenue playing fields in Coleraine after a funfair earlier in the afternoon. Live entertainment included music, fire-jugglers, street theatre and prizes for best fancy dress.
A family “Halloween Extravaganza” took place at the Castle Museums in Enniskillen with a packed programme of events.
The fun included fire eaters, birds of prey demonstrations, live music, bouncy castle and Halloween craft workshops.
In Belfast, Oktoberfest at the King’s Hall is took on a Halloween theme for its evening of German food, beer and music.
One of the main events taking place across the Province last night was definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Billed as the “Jail of Horror” tours, visitors flocked to the old Crumlin Road gaol for a fright night with a difference.
Led through the dimly-lit prison wings by a guide, the ghost-hunters encountered a collection of creepy mannequins, and the occasional live actor, among the cells.
A highlight of the tour was a visit to the infamous “basement drop cell” where many condemned men and women met their end before the death penalty was abolished in 1973.
The Victorian-era prison received its first inmates in 1846 and eventually closed in 1996.
It is reputed to be one of Northern Ireland’s most haunted buildings. Not surprisingly, last night’s special tours were advertised as not suitable for anyone with a heart condition.