WITH Halloween creeping up and the goblins and ghouls coming out to play, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) is encouraging everyone to have a bewitching time this year with lots of frightful fun in store for the all the family.
From spooky candy making to a haunted castle and from fancy dress competitions to spectacular fireworks displays, Northern Ireland is the place to be.
“Every corner of Northern Ireland will be celebrating Halloween this year with so much to do for the whole family,” said NITB’s Destination PR Officer, Pauline Gormley.
“Make sure you get along to one of the spooktacular events and enjoy the midterm break with your family,” she said.
To help you have a thrilling time this Halloween, NITB has compiled a list of ghoulish goings-on taking place right across Northern Ireland.
For the first time ever, the hair-raising Monster Mash event will be taking place at The Slipways at Titanic Belfast and everyone is invited along for a thrilling time on October 27. Beginning at 2.30pm, there will be all sorts of creepy goings on including entertainers, street theatre, face painters, live music and a breathtaking fireworks show.
Join the Belfast Zoo for its Boo at the Zoo fun-filled day of eerie activities on October 27. Take part in a Halloween trail, spooky storytelling, animal feeding times, reptile displays, creepy crafts, bat talks, a best carved pumpkin competition and a fancy dress competition.
Watch scary lollies being made, make your own chocolate apples and take part in the missing finger quiz at the Spooky Candy and Chocolate Apple Show in Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory on October 31 or feel the fear this Halloween at Escape in Belfast’s W5. Running until November 3, participants will enter a secure facility to witness a new scientific breakthrough only to be plunged into a chaotic scramble for survival.
Spend the weekend listening to stories during the Ghost of the Glens Festival in Cushendall running from October 25 – 27. This annual festival will be an autumn feast of stories, song and music with lots of activities for all the family including a forest walk and many more spooktacular happenings.
Do you dare visit Carrickfergus Castle on this scariest of days on October 26? The castle has seen battles and sieges and is reputed to have ghosts from many different periods who haunt its rooms and battlements. Will you see any of them? Will you hear the rattling of chains, or even see our resident spook ‘Button Cap’ beating his ghostly drum?
Join the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre on October 30 for its Mexican Day of the Dead event. Enjoy making themed-crafts and follow the sugar-skull treasure hunt on Runkerry trail to earn a prize. Visitors can opt to have their face painted as ‘La Catrina’ – Mexico’s grand dame of death – but beware, pumpkins, broomsticks, black cats and witches hats are all banished for the day.
Don your spooky Halloween costumes and make your way to Ballycastle on October 31 for its Halloween Festival with a fancy dress parade and a spectacular fireworks display at the seafront at 8pm.
Lisburn’s Island Arts Centre will have your little spirits spell-bound this year with its Halloween Hoolie on October 31. The highlight of the evening will be the Twilight Night by Light when fantastical lights and sculptures will bathe the park in a myriad of hues. Mythical creatures will weave their enchanted magic and there will be a glorious fireworks finale.
Take the family along to Navan Centre & Fort for the Little Spooks event from October 26 – November 1 offering a fun interactive Halloween experience. Meet Suzie and Steve Scarecrow and help them prepare for Halloween, learn the skills required to be a scarecrow and experience the Scarecrow House.
On October 31, Navan Centre will be also hosting its annual Halloween Horror event on October 31 with lots of freaky activities including storytelling, a wooded walk, zombie ville, a Victorian mind reader, a fancy dress competition and a spectacular fireworks display.
There will be a Halloween Crafts and Games Club taking place in the Palace Stables on October 31 with lots of hair-raising fun. Children will work with a variety of art materials to create their own Halloween craft and there will be lots of games to keep them entertained.
Prepare to be spooked at Rowallane Garden this year during the Ghost and Gourds Weekend. Enjoy a bewitching day out with a ghost trail, scary face paintings and the chance to behead, scoop out and carve your very own pumpkin to take home, taking place October 19 – 20.
Newcastle will be filled with creepy, kooky and mysterious characters this Halloween at its Hallowtides Festival on October 26 – 31. Come and join in the fun with haunted house tours, fancy dress competitions, pumpkin cravings, live music and one of the largest fireworks displays in Northern Ireland.
There is something strange happening at the Downpatrick & County Down Railway this Halloween, with ghosts on the platforms and ghouls on the train it can only be the return of the Halloween Ghost Trains. Travel on a vintage train, visit the great wizard in his haunted grotto train and visit a Viking graveyard, taking place October 27 and 28.
The scariest time of the year is creeping up and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum is ready to welcome a host of witches, ghosts and ghouls on October 31 with its Halloween Family Festival. Ruby Dalzell is on trial for murder and help is needed to solve the mystery. Everyone will also be able to enjoy horror films, magic shows, traditional food and turnip carving. The folk park will be hosting lots more Half Term Halloween Fun with apple games, a Halloween quiz and craft activities taking place each day from October 29 – November 3.
Don your spooky costumes and bring the family along to Mount Stewart this Halloween to enjoy the Enchanted Garden on October 31. Highlights this year include a spectacular show from top Irish performers FirePoise with further entertainment provided by the Samba Animals. Additional storytellers and characters will add to the magical atmosphere.
There will be an afternoon of family fun and capers at Florence Court’s Halloween Fest and Craft Fair on October 27. Enjoy a magic show, face painting, live music, spooky tours and much more.
The Share Village Halloween Howler is back with a bang this year with more spooktacular treats and ghostly goings on from October 31 – November 2. Enjoy a ghost ship cruise, the haunted forest trail, pumpkin carving, a pumpkin paddle, face painting, fireworks and much more. There will be ghoulish goings on, crafty capers and scary stories at the Halloween Extravaganza in Enniskillen Castle Museums on October 31. Everyone is invited to come along in fancy dress and to enjoy the festival atmosphere.
Make your way to the grounds of the Lakeland Forum for the Fermanagh Fireworks Festival 2013 on October 31 at 8pm and watch as the exciting display lights up the sky or enjoy the frightful fun at Fermanagh Lakeland Lodges for its Haunted Forest Walk from October 31 – Nov 1 with a visit to the haunted barn and pumpkin hut, bobbing for apples and face painting. After 6pm things will get even spookier as you meet ghoulish characters on your way through the woodlands.
Ghosts, goblins and all things spooky are invited along for some ghoulish entertainment in Strabane this Halloween in its Festival of Fun from October 25 – November 2 with a Halloween disco, grizzly art workshops, a magic show, story-telling and family Dungeon tours.
Come dressed in your most frightening costume and enjoy a weekend of family fun at the Argory’s Pumpkin and Potions event. Enter the spook shed for some ghoulish tales and explore the graveyard trail. Carve a pumpkin to take home and join in the traditional Halloween activities for all the family on October 26 and 27.
Come along and enjoy Halloween Fireworks in Omagh on October 31. There will also be a fancy dress competition, fire performances, face painters and a singalong, taking place in Grange Park Lower Car Park.
Be warned! Roe Valley Arts Centre will be transformed into a spooky and ghoulish Haunted Halloween Trail for one night only on October 25. Bring all the family along to experience the thrill of eerie storytelling, ghastly art and hair-raising theatre.
The world famous Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival will be even bigger and better in 2013 as Derry~Londonderry celebrates the magnificent City of Culture year in style. Enjoy a mesmerising week-long programme of activities from October 26 – November 3 with spooky fun for all the family including storytelling, a bat walk, eerie arts, a festival of light, ghostly walking tours and drive in movies. The festival will culminate in a colourful carnival parade and spectacular fireworks.
Two wild and wicked witches will lead you on the Deadly Derry Ghostly Walking Tour on October 29 – 30. Goosebumps are guaranteed with ghost stories to chill your heart. The tour will depart from the Craft Village at 7pm.
Autumn breaks in Northern Ireland start at just £45 per person for one night B&B. For more information on Halloween events click on www.discovernorthernireland.com, or visit your local tourist information centre.