Spark! Spook and Spectacular – 30 years on and Derry is still the world’s best Halloween party

By Grainne McCool

Last night Derry celebrated it’s ‘Out of this World’ Halloween festivities with a rush of revellers all joining the big party, celebrating 30 years of the most weird and wonderful Halloween’s that has led to the city holding the acclaimed title of ‘best Halloween destination in the world’.

The arrival of some unique visitors to the city this year really was out of this world, as aliens arrived to join the truly spooktacular celebrations!

No one was alarmed by the sound of a World War II siren across the city on a night, preparing earth residents for the arrival of extra terrestrials.

The brimming programme of events and activities for all ages really did make this the best year yet.

Alien nation or Derry city?
Alien nation or Derry city?

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, said: “The world knows no one throws a Halloween party like us. We already have the title of ‘Best Halloween Destination in the World’ as voted by US Today’s readers, one which is not awarded too easily.”

“For 30 years now, people from all over the world have visited our city and celebrated with us in our unique Halloween celebrations, making memories and great friends during their visit. To celebrate this, we’ve had some really exciting events and activities for families, groups, individuals – in fact everyone, including our alien visitors.”

The ‘Out of This World‘ programme included everything from street walkabout creatures Saurus to Spark.

The energetic street performers brought high impact drumming, dynamic choreography and beautiful lighting designs to the city centre during the festivities.

Feeling a bit peaky girls? Two of the zombies at the Awakening of the Walls, Derry
Feeling a bit peaky girls? Two of the zombies at the Awakening of the Walls, Derry

The people of Derry and their visitors didn’t forget to unleash their inner superheroes in aid of the Mayor’s chosen charities for her ‘Superhero Week’ which began on Monday last week, running through to last night, when she urged local people to dress as their favourite super human idol in return for a donation to charity.

Huge crowds arrived in and around the city centre yesterday evening for the biggest Halloween parade and fireworks display in Europe.

Making Halloween all white - the children of the Derry Halloween parade
Making Halloween all white – the children of the Derry Halloween parade

Throughout last week, street animation, storytelling, tours and trails, a city centre harvest market, the Castlederg apple fair and lots of spooky goings on took place, alongside the Awakening of the Walls where the City Walls came to life with music, animation and light, creating a realm of fantasy fire and flame from Friday to Sunday.

Other events included a spooky Gothic organ recital at the Guildhall on Sunday, haunted tours at the Tower Museum, the Weird and Wonderful Witches Tales at the Guildhall, a Spooky Halloween panto at Strabane’s Alley Theatre, Monstrous Halloween workshops, storytelling at Strabane Community Library and family entertainment at the Craft Village.

Last night Derry hosted an evening of fun and entertainment when the carnival parade made its way along Derry’s Queen’s Quay and was followed by a fabulous Fireworks Finale. It really was ‘out of this world’ in every way.


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