Be afraid, be very afraid

Lon­don­derry’s fab­u­lous Hal­loween car­ni­val is dou­bling in size this year

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - TRAVEL -

When it comes to cel­e­brat­ing the scari­est time of the year, nowhere does Hal­loween get bet­ter than the Walled City of Derry. Re­garded as Europe’s top des­ti­na­tion for Hal­loween, year af­ter year the peo­ple of Lon­don­derry mas­ter­fully con­jure up a scare-fest like no other. Jam-packed with ghoul­ish events and fright­ful fun for all the fam­ily, this year the event is dou­bling in size. So for out­stand­ing fam­ily fun and a stu­pen­dous ar­ray of events and ac­tiv­i­ties over eight days, let your imag­i­na­tion run wild at the big­gest ever Banks of the Foyle Hal­loween Car­ni­val (Oc­to­ber 26-Novem­ber 3).

Thou­sands will be get­ting into the spirit by dress­ing up in creepy and cre­ative Hal­loween-style cos­tumes. For a smart base to don your out­fits and be close to all the thrills, the four-star City Ho­tel is hard to beat. Sit­u­ated on Queen’s Quay, ad­ja­cent to the beau­ti­ful River Foyle, iconic Peace Bridge and his­toric Guild­hall, the ho­tel of­fers ex­cel­lent city and river views from many of its guest rooms and is cen­tral to all the ac­tion.

Once you set­tle in to your ho­tel, as it’s Hal­loween time, see the sights on a guided ‘para­nor­mal’ bus tour which will pro­vide hair-rais­ing sto­ries of the city’s most haunted streets and spa­ces. A mon­strous cast of ghosts, zom­bies, ghouls, witches and su­per­heroes will cre­ate a spine-tin­gling city tour that is fright­fully good fun.

Other scary ac­tiv­ity in­cludes a haunted har­vest mar­ket, tours and trails. See the Zom­bie Apoca­lypse, let the kids loose in the Mon­ster Fun­fair and Hal­loween dis­cos, or bathe in the light of Mu­seum of the Moon, fea­tur­ing de­tailed NASA im­agery of the Moon’s sur­face and an at­mo­spheric sound­track by award-win­ning com­poser, Dan Jones.

One of the best ways to ban­ish the dark­ness will be with Awak­en­ing the Walls, a su­per­nat­u­ral il­lu­mi­nated an­i­ma­tion trail around the city’s fa­mous walls — cel­e­brat­ing the 400th an­niver­sary of their com­ple­tion in 2019. Awak­en­ing the Walls will fea­ture some of the great­est street per­for­mance acts and land­scape artists in the world in over 30 in­stal­la­tions around the walls, Cathe­dral Quar­ter, Craft Vil­lage and sur­round­ing ar­eas. Large-scale light in­stal­la­tions, fire, pro­jec­tions and the­atri­cal spec­ta­cle will weave an amaz­ing story for three evenings (Oc­to­ber 28-30).

Af­ter all the ex­hil­a­ra­tion, grab some­thing to eat at the Bent­ley com­plex, which boasts fab­u­lous food and great en­ter­tain­ment. With a new wine bar, a cosy tra­di­tional Ir­ish snug bar and a top notch func­tion room, ev­ery­thing is un­der one roof at the Bent­ley. On Hal­loween night, the an­nual street car­ni­val pa­rade fea­tur­ing more than 1,000 lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional par­tic­i­pants and fire­works fi­nale is not to be missed. The pa­rade is like an il­lu­mi­nated mov­ing per­for­mance. Cos­tumed per­form­ers, il­lu­mi­nated sculp­tures, large-scale lanterns, mu­si­cians, dancers, cir­cus and street artists will weave their way through the city streets.

THRILLING NIGHTS: last year’s fire­works dis­play in Derry and (be­low) thou­sands at­tended the Hal­loween fes­tiv­i­ties at Guild­hall Square and Ebring­ton Bar­racks

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