Derry Halloween is regarded as one of the biggest and best Halloween celebrations in Europe. Today, we’re revealing five great ways to celebrate Halloween in Derry.
Outside of Northern Ireland, Derry City has become quite famous thanks to the hit TV show Derry Girls. Within Northern Ireland, however, Derry City, aka The City of Bones, is known as the place to be for Halloween celebrations. From killing zombies to mesmerising firework displays, Halloween in Derry has it all.
Not only does this famous Walled City hold the biggest Halloween festival in Ireland. Rather, it also holds the biggest Halloween festival in Europe, with thousands of people visiting for the annual festival!
This is certainly appropriate considering Halloween originated in Ireland around 2,000 years ago as the Celtic Festival, Samhain. Pronounced “sow-in”, Samhain is said to be the time of year when the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest. The ancient Irish marked this occasion with gatherings, bonfires, sacrifices, and feasts.
Today, Halloween in Derry is still celebrated much in the same way, except for the sacrifices, of course! Here are some of our top recommendations for making the most of your Halloween in Derry.
5. Zombie Apocalypse Laser Tag ‒ save the world from zombies
Ever dreamt of saving the world from a zombie apocalypse? Well, now you have the chance to make that dream a reality! Saving the world is no easy task, however. You’ll be up against as many as 30 players, one of which is infected with the zombie virus!
If you’re bitten (tagged) by the infected zombie three times, you become a zombie too. Your weapon will change colour from blue (living) to red (zombie), and you will continue to hunt the living as a member of the walking dead.
Entry is £9 per person.
Address: Business Park, Unit 3 Springrowth Rd, Derry BT48 0GF
4. Heart of Samhain ‒ discover Ireland’s origins of Halloween
If saving the world sounds like a little bit too much work, we’ve got you covered!
For a more traditional Halloween in Derry city centre, head on over to the Heart of Samhain for live music, Halloween feasts, and maybe even a ghost or two.
Located in Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place, there’ll be markets and Halloween festivities suitable for everyone from 28 until 31 October 2022. Feel free to wear your favourite costume and get into the spirit of Halloween!
Address: Guildhall Square, Derry City, BT48 7BB
Address: Waterloo Place, Derry City
3. Forest of Shadows ‒ test your nerve along this spooky trail
For those of you interested in a more eerie Halloween experience, make sure to take a stroll through St Columb’s Park.
Witches and demons have been known to lurk these paths on the eve of Samhain. Test your nerve with this 2 km (1.24) nighttime walk through St Columb’s Park.
Along the way, you’ll witness shadow dancing and fire-breathing performances from creatures of the underworld.
Address: 4 Limavady Rd, Waterside, Derry BT47 6JY
2. Halloween Carnival Parade ‒ one of the best ways to celebrate Halloween in Derry
Halloween in Derry attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. One of the main highlights for these visitors is undoubtedly the Carnival Parade. It might just be the single biggest event Derry will have during any given year.
Back for the first time since 2019, the Halloween Carnival Parade features hundreds of talented street performers. With dance troupes and street performances to entertain you, it will be a night to remember for years to come.
The parade will start at 7 pm on 31 October 2022. Be sure to arrive early and get a good spot for watching. People will line the streets along the River Foyle near the Peace Bridge.
Address: Peace Bridge, Derry BT48 7NN
1. Fireworks Display ‒ a memorable way to end your Halloween night
There’s no better way to finish the chaos of Halloween than with a mesmerising display of fireworks.
Shortly after the parade has finished, the Halloween festivities will come to an end with a spooktacular bang. If you found a good spot along the River Foyle to watch the parade, you can stay where you are and enjoy the fireworks display.
Make sure you have a nice warm coat with you! The fireworks finale will start at 8.15 pm and will last for approximately 15 minutes.
Address: Peace Bridge, Derry, BT48 7NN
Samhain Workshop: If you would like to learn more about the origins of Samhain and how modern-day traditions came to be, check out the Samhain workshop. This is a free event, and attendees will have the chance to make turnip lanterns. In case you’re wondering, turnip lanterns are the original Jack O’Lanterns!
Address: Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, 37 Great James St, Derry BT48 7DF
Time and date: 7 pm, Thursday, 27 October 2022
The Guildhall Taphouse: For after-dark activities, Guildhall Taphouse will have lots of beer and free live music. Fancy dress is optional.
Address: Guildhall Taphouse, 4 Custom House Street, Derry BT48 6AA
When is it: 7 pm, Friday 28 October to Monday 31 October 2022
Halloween spooktacular at the City Hotel Derry: For families with younger children, City Hotel Derry is hosting an evening of Halloween fun. There’ll be entertainment for kids, face painting, and a trick-or-treat sweetie’s corner. A ticket to this event will include a hot buffet and a front-row seat to the Halloween Carnival Parade.
Address: City Hotel Derry, Queens Quay, Derry, BT48 7AS
When: 5 pm to 9 pm, Monday 31 October 2022
Cost: Adults £26, Kids £12.95
Awakenining the Walled City: Awakening the Walled City is one of the most famous celebrations during Derry Halloween. Ancient spirits come to life around the famous 17th-century city walls, making for a fearsome display of magic.
Address: Various locations
When: 28 to 30 October 2022
FAQs about Halloween in Derry
When do the festivities begin?
There will be Halloween activities running from Thursday, 27 to Monday, 31 October 2022. The activities will begin around 12 noon and run until 10 pm each day.
Should I dress up?
Yes, absolutely! Many people do, and it makes the occasion much more enjoyable for everyone. There is never a better time to dress up as your favourite character.
Are the activities suitable for children and families?
Absolutely. All of the events are put together to make sure everyone can enjoy them.