’Awakening the Walled City.' - Derry’s annual Halloween celebrations. The ever popular Spark passing through Castle Gate on Derry’s Historic Walls. Credit ©Lorcan Doherty Photography

Spooky season in the northwest

By Rebecca Parker

Halloween in my hometown has never been much of a celebration therefore I never fully understood the hype surrounding the occasion.  This year I found myself in Derry/Londonderry on the 29th of October and it did not disappoint. 

The ‘Walled City’ truly comes to life at Halloween. From children dressed as lions, witches and pumpkins to dogs dressed as Disney Princesses. The entire city was in costume with tenticles coming out of the Quayside centre and monsters peering over the city walls.

’Awakening the Walled City.’ – Derry’s annual Halloween celebrations. Arachnobott crawling the streets of Derry. Credit ©Lorcan Doherty Photography

The Walled City Market was lined with various food stalls including sweets, homemade pastries and my personal recommendation Doherty’s of Derry  – their sausage bap was exceptional.  The market was filled with the laughter and squeals of children who were overjoyed to be out and experiencing normality once again. Possibly the first time for some children.

The live singers added to the excitement in the atmosphere as their music filtered through the market. There were endless children’s entertainers including stilt walkers – which some kids weren’t so sure of along with a giant black spider which attracted quite the crowd as it creeped through.

’Awakening the Walled City.’ – Derry’s annual Halloween celebrations. Walter’s Wake – a circus celebration for the city’s most beloved skeleton. Credit ©Lorcan Doherty Photography

As we made our way through the city we couldn’t help but making a pitstop in the “Badger’ for my first ever pint of Guinness. (It is safe to say I am now a fan.)  The friendly staff instantly made us feel at home and made it abundantly clear that Derry Halloween is one not to be missed. For many this was their first big outing in public since the outbreak of Covid-19 and their happiness could not be denied. A little lady in the pub said, “It’s good to be out again after being locked up for so long”, with a beaming grin.

Derry Halloween is undoubtedly the place to be at Halloween and although I couldn’t be there for the main festivities this year –  I can assure you I will not be missing it in 2022!