NI gets ready to party for Halloween night

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Festivities are already under way in Northern Ireland’s second city where the largest Halloween celebration in western Europe is set to take place tomorrow.

The highlight of Londonderry’s eight-day long Halloween festival this year is sure to be the main carnival parade around the city tomorrow night, followed by the fireworks finale over the River Foyle.

Scene from the Awakening of the Walls event in Londonderry.

Scene from the Awakening of the Walls event in Londonderry.

But there is much more going on with over 100 events with 1,400 performers across 40 venues in and around the city.

The nightly ‘Awakening the Walls’ extravaganza has been going on since Monday, with street performers bringing life and colour to the city’s famous 400-year-old walls.

Tonight is the last night to catch the spectacle before the city’s main festivities get under way tomorrow evening.

Elsewhere in Northern Ireland, a Jack O’Lantern carving event is being held today and tomorrow at the Ulster American Folk Park in Co Tyrone.

Visitors can learn how today’s Halloween traditions originated in the beliefs of Irish and Ulster Scots people centuries ago, before they were exported to the United States when they emigrated.

The event will show how pumpkin carving, fancy dress and trick-or-treating began through craft making, storytelling and barn dancing.

But nothing makes Halloween better than a spooky fireworks display.

Some towns, such as Limavady, Ballymoney and Bangor held theirs a few days early, while the displays in Dungannon, west Befast, and Coleraine will happen tonight.

Craigavon, Enniskillen, Omagh, Coalisland, Maghera, and Ballycastle will host their displays tomorrow night.

And Londonderry is expected to go all out, as usual, with an estimated 120,000 people expected to attend the festival and fireworks finale in the city tomorrow.

Michaela Boyle, the mayor of Derry and Strabane, said: “The excitement is already building ahead of Halloween night and over the coming days there will be plenty of spooky activities for all ages.

“The event has been growing year on year, and we expect there to be a huge audience for the carnival parade this year.”

The now famous ‘Derry Girls’ mural in Londonderry will also be lit up in Halloween style.

Donal O’Doherty of UV Arts said: “It will feature all things Halloween, and a few surprises, but we don’t want to give too much away. It’s mesmerising what can be done with video mapping.

“Derry Halloween started off along the River Foyle, then expanded into the Guildhall Square, and now the whole city is getting utilised, which is great.”

He added: “Everyone takes part, from eight-year-olds to eighty-year-olds.”