Halloween 2013 - What To Do

We choose this year's highlights, from events in the UK City of Culture to the Monster Mash at Titanic Slipways

Whether you prefer the warmth of the indoors, or fancy getting out and about this Halloween, there are a number of events taking place across Northern Ireland that should keep you and the kids entertained until the witching hour and beyond.

With the ghosts and ghouls of the underworld made flesh for the night, it's bound to be a serious party in the capital, with the annual Hallowe’en Metro Monster Mash taking place on Sunday, October 27 at Titanic Slipways.

Events kick off from 2.30pm, with all sorts of creepy goings-on guaranteed to chill the sturdiest of souls in the afternoon. Citybeat will be hosting a special roadshow with Breakfast presenters Stephen Clements and Sara Neill, and there will be street theatre, wacky workshops, face-painting and breath-taking fire shows.

Prizes are also up for grabs for the most ghoulish of costumes in Citybeat’s best dressed competition, while Conor Scott – who appeared in BBC One’s The Voice – will perform live with support from local band Freefall. The skies will also be lit up later in the evening with a spooktacular fireworks display, one of the biggest in Northern Ireland.

Translink Metro is providing a complimentary free shuttlebus service every 15 minutes from 2.15pm to 5.45pm from Belfast City Centre to the Titanic Quarter. The pick-up point is near SS Moore’s on Chichester Street, and the drop off point will be on the Queen’s Road, the same side as Titanic Belfast. Returning services will operate until 7pm approximately.

Elsewhere in Belfast, for those intrepid travellers, the Belfast Ghost Bus Tours start on Friday, October 18, leaving from Donegall Place (Burger King), and last approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. There is limited availability per night, and children must be accompanied by an adult, but for those with a penchant for horrible stories, mystery stops and local history, this is a must.

Known throughout Europe for its annual Halloween fireworks display by the Foyle River, spooky gothic architecture and medieval walls, Derry~Londonderry is a city that truly embraces Halloween. (Watch highlights from last year's events in the video below.) This year, with the UK City of Culture celebrations in full swing, there is a full week of fun and frights to look forward to.

The Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival runs from October 26 to November 2, and features a packed programme of events, including the Shapeshifters Catwalk show in the Craft Village, the Ghostly Galleons Tall Ship at Foyle Marina, a Halloween Horror Week series of film screenings in the Nerve Centre and the Killer Books Festival at the Verbal Arts Centre.

The carnival itself takes place on Thursday, October 31, departing at 7pm from Derry City Council Offices and making its way up Strand Road towards Queen’s Quay. Before that there will be music from X Factor contestant Jordan O’Keffe at the Carnival in the City event in Waterloo Place, and at Carnival's end the Fireworks Spooktacular will light up the night sky.

And that's not all – for the three days prior to Halloween, the celebrated landscape theatre company LUXe invite a family audience to take a walk through Inferno, an especially-created theatrical otherworld of light, fire, sculpture and circus, above, around and beneath the Ebrington walls. Tickets are available from the Millennium Forum website.

There will, of course, be a wealth of events taking place in towns and cities across the country, from the Halloween Fest and Craft Fair in Florence Court, Enniskillen on Sunday, October 27, to the Halloween Fun Day at Groomsport, Bangor on the same day.

Particular highlights, however, include The Enchanted Trail in Tollymore Forest Park on Saturday, October 26 during the Hallowtides Festival in the shadow of the imposing Mountains of Mourne. The trail is suitable for all ages, and costs £7 for adults, £5 for children. The trail is wheelchair and pram friendly, and there is a free shuttle bus service from Newcastle.

Elsewhere, the Braid Film Theatre will be screening Mel Brookes' hilarious 1974 spoof feature film Young Frankenstein in the Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena on Wednesday, October 30, and a Ghost Tour of Carrickfergus Castle will be followed by a screening of the 1958 classic Dracula in Carrickfergus on Saturday, November 2.

Armagh's Market Place Square will play host to X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan on October 29 for the Halloween in the Square Concert (followed by the requisite fireworks display), and Strabane will get freaky with the Halloween Festival of Fun from October 25 to November 2.

Check out our What's On event listings for more information.