14/10/2019

How Best To Spend Your Halloween

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With a definite chill in the air and a layer of crunchy leaves lining the streets, the signs of Autumn couldn't be clearer. The new season can only mean one thing though, and Halloween is definitely upon us. Soon our windows will be filled with pumpkins, skies decorated with fireworks and the more daring among us may even switch our coffee order to a pumpkin spice latte.
For many, the season change brings a buzz of excitement with its subtle hints of winter, office-chat of Christmas party plans and of course an excellent excuse to purchase yet another winter coat, but Halloween can also bring boredom and a lack of inspiration on how best to enjoy the festivities and entertain children on their half-term week off school.
With that in mind, we've taken the leg-work out of the spooky holiday for you and compiled a list of local events and attractions that are not to be missed. With both families and thrill-seekers in mind, a range of child-friendly, community and all-out scary options are included.

Little Spooks, Armagh
The ideal Halloween activity for children who aren't afraid of some spooky stories and surprises, Little Spooks involves interactive performances, storytelling and themed crafts aimed at those aged between four and nine.
A real immersive treat, kids are tasked with escaping from the witch's trap and helping the ghost hunter save the day.
As the witch invites you into her lair, beware or you may forever stay there! Be alert, be on guard, be someone who can escape the clutches of the witch's power. Complete the tasks, complete the riddle, otherwise you'll be stuck in the middle … of the witch's trap!
Around the corner awaits yet more peril. Mischievous ghosts are on the prowl, making our Ghost Hunter scowl! Keep your eyes open wide, watch where the ghosts hide! Only the brave will help make them behave!

While this activity is recommended for ages four to nine, parents can use their discretion and bring children aged three under along for free if they wish.
Opening times:
• Sat 26-Sun 27 October: 13:30, 15:00 & 16:30.
• Wed 30 October: 15:00 & 16:30.
• Thurs 31st October & Fri 1st November: 12:00, 13:30, 15:00 & 16:30.
Admission is priced at £7.50.

Belfast Monster Mash
Belfast's spooktacular Monster Mash returns to the Titanic Slipways on Sunday 27 October, offering frighteningly good fun for all the family to enjoy.
Themed on the Mexican Day of the Dead festival and Diwali Festival of Lights, the event is free to attend with a fantastic evening of Halloween entertainment planned from 4pm to 7pm, ahead of the city's biggest fireworks display.
Put this date in your diary and look forward to a Halloween extravaganza, including:
• monster fairground with rides for all ages
• Day of the Dead folk dances
• slime and lantern making workshops
• choreographed routines from local Irish Dance group Celtic Fusion
• live music from Green Means Go
Is traffic your worst nightmare? Take the ghostly Glider from Belfast City Centre or hop on a train from the Titanic stop nearby.
For those braving the roads, car parking is available at the Belfast Met, Titanic Belfast or Odyssey Car Park. There is also the option of the new NCP multi-storey carpark in Corporation Street, a short walk to the main site over the Queen's Bridge and along the river. Parking is not permitted on Queens Road due to the fireworks display.

Space Age Halloween Fireworks, Enniskillen
Launching a fireworks display into the skies over Enniskillen this year, the T-Minus countdown will celebrate 50 years since man first set foot on the Moon.
Participants are encouraged to head to Broadmeadow in their best space age costume for a fancy dress party and games. A mysterious DJ will entertain the family as they dodge the creepy spaced out characters wandering the grounds, while a range of hot food, drinks and amusements will be in the Lakeland forum car park.
The main event will get underway at 8pm sharp, lighting up the skies with the biggest firework display yet.
Members of the public can also view the fireworks from the historic castle grounds in the Cosmic Castle look-out, with limited free tickets available through the October Space Programme.
The T-MINUS celebration on Thursday 31 October is free of charge and runs from 6pm-9pm at the Broadmeadow.

Crumlin Road Gaol's Haunting Halloween Experience
A popular activity with thrill-seekers and one of Belfast's most haunted buildings, Crumlin Road Gaol is opening it's cells for three weeks of spine chilling, nail biting events that are guaranteed to make even the bravest of visitors jump.
The five star visitor attraction will be pulling out all the stops for its eagerly anticipated Halloween programme, featuring the 'Jail of Horror', 'Halloween Ghost Trail' and a '2hr Paranormal Investigation'.
The perfect annual fix of all things spooky and paranormal, the events are running from Friday 11 October until Halloween night.
Jail of Horror
Visitors, if they dare, will enter the off-limits dungeon of D Wing and face all their fears on an intense scare after scare journey which only has one way out!! The one-of-a-kind Jail of Horror experience through Belfast's oldest prison will offer a 30 minute terrifying unparalleled experience where no one will hear your screams!
Duration: 30mins approx
Age Rating: No minimum age
Online Cost: £12.50 (Save £2.50)
Halloween Ghost Trail
As participants make their way around the haunted building they will be treated to disturbing ghost stories that have troubled the building during its 150 years of operation as a prison. The site which housed some of Northern Ireland's most notorious prisoners and witnessed 17 executions might also have some unnerving surprises for those of you who are feeling courageous!
Duration: 1 hour approx
Age Rating: No minimum age
Online Cost: £15.00 (Save £2.50)
Two-Hour Paranormal Investigation
Sightings, noises and unexplained happenings… Are you brave enough to go ghost hunting? The chilling expert led two hour Paranormal Investigation gives visitors the opportunity to interact with the spirits as they get hands on with authentic experiments using paranormal investigating equipment. The serious paranormal investigation will visit various hotspots of the jail where paranormal activity has been reported and sighted.
Duration: 2 hours approx
Age Rating: 15 Years +
Online Cost: £35.00 (Save £2.50)
All events are carried out in low light conditions and flat, suitable footwear must be worn. The events are not suitable for those with heart conditions, epilepsy or pregnant women and if you are scared easily, it may not be for you either!
Booking is essential, click here to secure your spot.

Derry Halloween
Now there's festive fun to be had wherever you are, but no city does Halloween quite like L'Derry. Culminating in a city centre parade, this year's programme is centred on a theme of 'The Other World Awakens', dimming the lines between this world and the next.
With a dynamic programme packing a wide range of activities into Halloween week, setting aside a day to explore Northern Ireland's second city will be well worth your while.
For the foodies out there, the LegenDerry Hallowe'en Food Trail will give you a taste of the best cuisine the city has to offer, or you could treat yourself to a halloween feast by Michel-star trained Chris McGowan at the Trick or Tr-Eat event at the Craft Village.
A series of intimate gigs are planned, as well as a gothic organ performance, Zombie Run, Banshee Bash, Kids' Halloween movie screenings and many more activities.
Not forgetting the main event of course, the carnival parade will depart from Queen's Quay at 7.15pm on Thursday 31 October. The Samhain Parade is conjured by carnival artists, dancers and circus performers from communities across the north west and beyond.
A decades old tradition in the city, the festivities will be drawn to a close in a blaze of breathtaking fireworks- an iconic part of the annual celebration. Make your way to the banks of the River Foyle as the display gets off with a bang at 8.15pm on Halloween night.
The week of Halloween treats, many of which are free of charge, always promises to bring an electric atmosphere with the array of spooky events and activities on offer. Check out the full programme here.

(JG)

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