NI prepares to party for Halloween with biggest celebrations in Londonderry

Fireworks, parades and other activities are taking place across Northern Ireland this evening as people celebrate Halloween.
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The biggest celebrations are set for Londonderry again this year as a four-day festival that has been ongoing since Friday reaches its climax tonight with a Halloween Carnival parade, followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the River Foyle.

There is no fireworks display from the City Council this year in Belfast, although several events are taking place around the city with plenty of colour expected in the city centre as people enjoy the nightlife in fancy dress.

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A number of other councils have also cancelled fireworks displays across Northern Ireland.

Londonderry boasts the biggest Halloween celebration in EuropeLondonderry boasts the biggest Halloween celebration in Europe
Londonderry boasts the biggest Halloween celebration in Europe

Ards and North Down Council took the decision to cancel its display two years ago, while the Fermanagh and Omagh council has recently called off its displays in Enniskillen and Omagh due to budget pressures.

There will still be fireworks in several towns, however, with Antrim and Newtownabbey Council still planning to go ahead with its Halloween fireworks plans as will Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

The Causeway Coast and Glens council is also still set to go ahead with its fireworks displays in Limavady, Coleraine, Ballymoney and Ballycastle.

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Carrickfergus, Larne and Ballymena are also set to see fireworks displays in the night sky with Mid and East Antrim pressing ahead with its plans, while Lisburn and Castlereagh are continuing with their Halloween plans inlcuding fireworks.

Mid Ulster council is putting on four separate fireworks displays - in Dungannon, Coalisland, Maghera and Cookstown.

But the Londonderry festival - dubbed Europe's largest Halloween event - is undoubtedly Northern Ireland's premier Halloween celebration with around 100,000 expected to take to the streets in fancy dress tonight.

Over 700 performers are to take part in the carnival parade this evening, while several installations across the city have been in place for days.

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There is a funfair in place at the former Ebrington military base in the Waterside.

Nearby, a snaking trail around a mile long with flames, spooky displays and light installations is in place in St Columb's Park in the Waterside, while live music and on-street performances are taking place all day just across the Peace Bridge in Guildhall Square in the city centre.

Performances are also being held at various times around the city centre from groups and artists, ahead of the carnival parade at 7pm.

The parade will set off from the banks of the Foyle before embarking on a route around Strand Road and the Foyle Embankment and returning.

The fireworks finale is set to take place from 8pm.

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The display will take place from two barges on the River Foyle, with the Peace Bridge to close from 7.45pm until 8.45pm.Visitors are advised to spread out, with viewing points extended from the Peace Bridge to the Fort George Science Park.Festival and Events Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Jacqueline Whoriskey, said: "We are expecting huge crowds for this year's festivities so I want to appeal to people to prepare in advance so they can get the most from their visit. I would recommend downloading our Derry Halloween app – this will give you the lowdown on all that's going on and all the information you need to plan your journey.”