Spark! Spook and the Spectacular – 30 years on and City of Bones still the world’s best Halloween party

The city and district is preparing for its most ‘Out of this World’ Halloween festivities and a rush of revellers all eager to join the big party celebrating thirty years of the most weird and wonderful Halloweens that has the city holding the acclaimed title of ‘best Halloween Destination in the World’.

The public are warned to be prepared for the arrival of some unique visitors to the city this year as aliens have confirmed they’ll be arriving in the city to join the truly ‘Out of this World’ celebrations! Residents and visitors have been advised by Derry City and Strabane District Council to not be alarmed with the sound of a World War II siren across to city on Halloween night as this is to prepare earth residents for their arrival.

The brimming programme of events and activities for all ages is sure to make this the best year yet! The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, was speaking ahead of the City of Bones Hallowe’en festivities which kick off this week and reminded residents and visitors that there is lots on offer.

She 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 thirty 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 some really exciting events and activities for families, groups, individuals – in fact everyone, including our alien visitors!

The ‘Out of This World’ programme will include everything from the street walkabout creatures Saurus to Spark! the energetic street performers who will bring high impact drumming, dynamic choreography and beautiful lighting designs to the city centre during the festivities.

‘Do not forget to unleash your inner superhero in aid of my chosen charities for Mayor’s ‘Superhero Week’ which began on Monday October 24th running through to Monday October 31st when I’m urging local people to dress as your favourite super human idol in return for a donation to charity.

‘With huge crowds expected in and around the city centre on Monday evening for the biggest Halloween parade and fireworks display in Europe. I would like to make everyone aware of Council’s online advice for ensuring you all have a very enjoyable and safe evening, this can be found at the website at’

The programme also includes street animation, storytelling, tours and trails, a city centre Harvest Market, the Castlederg Apple Fair and lots of spooky goings on, especially as we’ll see the Awakening of the Walls where the City Walls come to life with music, animation and light, creating a realm of fantasy fire and flame from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th October from 6.00-8.00pm.

Other events to note is a spooky gothic organ recital at the Guildhall on Sunday 30th October, 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.

On Halloween night, Monday 31st October, both Derry and Strabane will host an evening of fun and entertainment when the City of Bones Street Carnival Parade will make its way along Derry’s Queen’s Quay from 7.00pm. This will be followed by a fabulous Fireworks Finale at 8.00pm. While in Strabane, the Upper Main Street car park will be transformed into a family friendly fun area from 7.00-8.30pm with a fireworks display over the River Mourne at 8.00pm.

Jacqueline Whoriskey, Council’s Festival and Events Manager commented ahead of the events, ‘Preparations are well underway and we are delighted to have up to 600 carnival participants taking part in workshops and rehearsals for the main Carnival Parade.

‘Other highlights happening in and around the Council area over the Halloween holidays include the Halloween Fun Fair at Ebrington and a horror movie week at the Nerve Centre, as well as treasure hunts and spooky bat and ghost tours at Creggan Country Park. Riverwatch Aquarium will play host to a series of fantastic ghoulish events including a Shark Night and a Barn Owl Prowl. Gray’s Printing Press in Strabane will be hosting a day of Bewitching Tales. They’ll also be Trick or Treat tours from the Alley Theatre and a Halloween Pool Disco at Riversdale Leisure Centre.

The public are advised to expect some disruptions to travel in and around the city centre and Strabane Town Centre ahead of this year’s Derry~Strabane Halloween celebrations on Monday 31st October. Updates on travel arrangements will be made available via local radio stations such as Radio Foyle and Q102 throughout the day and on Council’s social media and websites. Halloween carnival care information is available at

To find out more on all the events taking place in the Derry and Strabane over the Halloween spell check out the full programme at or visit the Facebook page halloweenderrystrabane. The Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council and supported by Tourism NI.