The top 5 ways to celebrate HALLOWEEN in DERRY (2023)

Nowhere celebrates the scariest night of the year quite like the Maiden City. We outline the top five ways to celebrate Halloween in Derry this year.

The top 5 ways to celebrate Halloween in Derry (2023).

Some people think of Salem or even Transylvania when they think of Halloween. But what about Derry? No, not the fictional Maine town where Stephen King sets his gruesome tales – the Irish city renowned for its Halloween festivities.

Home to Europe’s largest Halloween festival, Derry takes the celebrations seriously. With so much going on, it’s easy for both locals and visitors to miss out! But we’re on hand to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Whether you’re a fan of fireworks, a thrill-seeking adrenaline junky, or a curious historian, let us help you get into the spirit of Samhain with the top five ways to celebrate Halloween in Derry in 2023.

Ireland Before You Die’s top travel tips for celebrating Halloween in Derry:

  • While Derry has an international airport, Belfast’s two airports offer many more flight options. Moreover, you can drive to Derry from Belfast in little over an hour. You can also avail of a train and a bus between the two cities.
  • Don’t be afraid to get into the spirit of things by dressing up to celebrate Halloween in Derry!
  • Take the opportunity to get acquainted with some of the Maiden City’s excellent bars and restaurants.
  • Derry is in Northern Ireland and so uses the pound sterling as its currency. However, given its proximity to the border with Donegal, many of its establishments will accept euros. This remains at the discretion of the establishment.
  • Ensure you don’t miss any of the key Halloween events in Derry this year by bookmarking this guide!

5. Awakening the Walled City Trail, 28–30 October, 6 pm–8:30 pm  – an alternative exploration of the walled city of Derry

The Awakening the Walled City Trail takes place between 28 and 30 October.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Lorcan Doherty

Derry is often referred to as the ‘Walled City’, thanks to the defensive walls built in the 17th century. Visiting these walls and their historic gates is one of the best things to do at any time of the year, but there is an added spectacle at Halloween.

Learn all about the heritage, folklore, and history of Halloween – from its Celtic origins to the present day – through dazzling light shows, performances, pyrotechnics, and music.

The Awakening the Walled City Trail takes place over three nights (28–30 October) before Halloween night itself. The event is free to attend each night.

MORE INFOHERE

Address: The Diamond, Derry BT48 6HW

4. Fright Night, 13–31 October – not for the faint-hearted

The top 5 ways to celebrate Halloween in Derry (2023).
Credit: Facebook / The Jungle

Some people might be content with a light show or maybe a visit to a pumpkin patch, but for the hardy among you, we have a spine-tingling suggestion: Fright Night at the Jungle.

A benevolent guide will help you through six terrifying attractions while filling your head with captivating tales of horror. Keep your eyes peeled as you traverse the Woodland Trail as a band of zombies, ghosts, and other ghoulish characters lurks within.

You’ll have to leave Derry City for this one, to the outskirts of the nearby town of Magherafelt. But if you’re a thrill-seeker, it’s well worth the trip! This event is strictly for people over 12 years old, and those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

MORE INFOHERE

Address: 60 Desertmartin Road, Moneymore, BT45 7RB

3. Spark!, 28–31 October, 6:30 pm – an electrifying musical performance

Spark! provide an electrifying musical experience.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Tourism Ireland

Spark! is a captivating street theatre performance that masterfully blends music, dance, and lighting in a spectacle that must be seen to be believed.

The Spark! troupe consists of five to seven street performers and combines static set-pieces, movement through the streets, and audience interaction. The show culminates in a fantastic climax of light and sound that will blow your mind.

This show is also free, and takes place in the city centre, usually near the Guildhall.

RELATED READ: Halloween in Ireland: the 10 best events this year (2023)

2. Live music events – at the heart of Derry’s nightlife

CHERYM play Sandinos on 28 October.
Credit: Facebook / Sandinos Bar/Club

Derry loves its music, and during the Halloween festivities, it would be remiss of you not to check out the live music events. Bear in mind that some of these events require tickets, which can be found via the relevant links.

First off, the City of Derry International Choir Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary between 18–22, with events taking place at the Millenium Forum and the Guildhall.

Then, between 28–30, Guildhall Square will host the Samhain Bandstand, featuring eerie, Halloween-inspired music by local artists from 12 pm to 9 pm.

What’s more, the legendary Sandinos will host local band CHERYM for ‘A Nightmare on Foyle Street’ and Candlelight Orchestra will light up St Columb’s Cathedral on 28 October, while the Playhouse presents Ballad of the Bones on 28 and 29.

Make sure to stop in at one of several events across the city for the After Dark series between 28 and 31 October. The series culminates on the buzzing Waterloo Street on Halloween night.

1. Halloween Carnival Parade, 31 October, 7 pm – the biggest Halloween parade in the country

The fireworks display is on 31 October.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Tourism Ireland

Halloween in Derry is an experience full stop, but the highlight is undoubtedly the parade on Halloween night, one of the biggest in Europe and, indeed, the world.

The Derry Halloween parade involves performances from schools, clubs, and groups across the city and greater county, fostering a community spirit and bringing the story of Halloween in Derry to life.

Stick around at the end of the parade for Northern Ireland’s first drone show – the City of Drones – at 8:15 pm and, of course, the spectacular fireworks show at 8:30 pm.

These shows take place over the River Foyle and look incredible from the iconic Peace Bridge or the adjacent Queens Quay.

MORE INFO: HERE

READ MORE: The top 5 ways to celebrate Halloween in Dublin (2023)

Notable mentions

The top 5 ways to celebrate Halloween in Derry (2023).
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Tourism Ireland

Hallowee’uns: At the Jungle (see Fright Night above), this family-friendly event offers pumpkin picking and a haunted haycart ride, among other adventurous activities that kids are sure to enjoy. MORE INFO: HERE

Cemetery Tours: For the history buffs among you, this free tour of the City Cemetery provides a fascinating insight into the history of Derry. MORE INFO: HERE

House of Horrors: Apparently built atop an old graveyard, “Derry’s scariest haunted house” invites you to test your bravery. MORE INFO: HERE

Your questions answered about Halloween in Derry

If you’ve still got questions about Halloween in Derry, read on! In this section, we answer some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions alongside some of the most popular questions in online searches related to the topic.

The top 5 ways to celebrate Halloween in Derry (2023).
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Lorcan Doherty

Is Halloween a big deal in Derry?

Halloween is a huge deal in Derry! With the biggest Halloween festival in Europe and one of the biggest in the world, Derry pulls out all the stops for Halloween. Many regard Derry as the world’s best Halloween destination.

Does Derry celebrate Halloween?

Derry celebrates Halloween in style! From family-friendly pumpkin patches to chilling scares and Europe’s biggest Halloween festival, there is something for everyone celebrating Halloween in Derry.

Does Derry have a Halloween parade?

Derry’s Halloween parade takes place on 31 October.

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