You know how Hollywood movies always portray Halloween as this amazing city-wide fiasco?
Perfectly-carved pumpkins flicker grotesque grins, candy appears by the bucket-load, ghosts and goblins creep out of every corner and every character has an amazing costume (the studio costume department probably helps).
How sad that life is never how it appears in the movies…
Apart from one glowing, ghoulish exception: the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival in . We’re sure that art directors for the Witches of Eastwick, Donnie Darko, and Halloweentown in the Nightmare before Christmas, took a research trip to Londonderry before they set their elaborate scenes of toothy pumpkins and grinning ghouls.
This is fright night right down to the glow-in-the-dark cobwebs. The city dedicates five days to a carnival of all things spooky. There is a parade, fireworks, and a whole programme of family events. In between the haunted houses, ghost tours and horror-story telling, they squeeze in workshops, catwalks, scary movies and a Dragon Safari (we’ve been told giant footprints have appeared at a number of locations).
As Mayor Kevin Campbell puts it: “No one does it like we do in Derry”.
The best part is how the people join in. Everyone, we mean everyone, is in costume.
It really is like being on one of those Hollywood Halloween movie sets – or at least the wrap party. Dare to venture past those after October 30th without so much as a novelty hat and you’ll be completely under-dressed. You’ll also be thirsty – the barman will be so disappointed in your lack of effort you won’t get served in any of the heaving bars.
The biggest display of spirit, evil and otherwise, is the homemade costumes.
Tin foil angel wings, wildly re-purposed Twister mats, the finally-another-chance-to-wear-this Hawaiian shirt, and cardboard legomen. Throughout the night, zombies unravel, black eyes smudge, wings flutter to the ground, and witches eyelashes can be found stuck to your shoe.
This year the city will bring fashion to the fore with its Shapeshifters Catwalk event. Revellers are invited to show off their spine-chilling costume designs on the catwalk, while style guru and Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemingway judges the efforts by costume design, makeup and hair. The most innovative examples of ‘creepy couture’ will get to strut their stuff in the carnival parade.
This’ll be the 26th Halloween carnival in Londonderry, and it promises to be a total cracker.
So before they shout ‘action’ on the best Halloween carnival set ever, you’d better get your costume sorted.
The Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Festival takes place from 27 – 31 October 2012.
Did you know that Ireland actually invented Halloween? We explain all…
There are tons of spooky special events being celebrated all around the island of Ireland for Halloween.