Remember, this is a carnival. And what do we do at carnivals? We get dressed up. From the classics (witch, vampire, etc) to the more nuanced (Mona Lisa including frame or Edward Scissorhands) if you’re not dressed up, you’ll be the only one.
To keep your sartorial choices open, the city’s shops and festival-only pop-ups will be packed with dress-up options from affordable to extravagant, so you can dress to impress.
FACT: the city is a gem and the locals are friendly to a fault BUT, the scares at DerryHalloween are intense.
Get ready for a full-on fear factor with haunted houses, haunted walks and costumes so good, they’re scary.
Did you know? Halloween is an ancient Irish festival. Originally celebrated as ‘Samhain’ (meaning ‘end of summer’), our pagan ancestors considered 31 October to be the final day of the year, the night on which the dead would mingle with the living and return to their old homes.
Turn the chill up to 11 with a haunted historic tours and trails in the city, or walk Derry~Londonderry’s looming 400-year-old walls with the Awakening The Walls performances and installations for creepy company.
You may have the stuffing scared out of you at DerryHalloween, but you definitely won’t go hungry. Sea Bream with New Potatoes and Black Pudding at The Sooty Olive, and some of the best curries on the island at Saffron are two tasty foodie haunts. For a spot of comfort food, head for The Exchange and Battered Fresh Haddock with Tartar Sauce.
Over at the Browns in Town restaurant, the Smoked Chicken and Sweetcorn Risotto is so good it’s scary, while special mention goes to the Chargrilled Steak with Onion Marmalade at the Walled City Brewery. Which, conveniently, brings us to point 5…
It’s no surprise that the biggest event in the city’s calendar brings with it an electric atmosphere. Sample the best of it at the likes of Granny Annie’s (for live music), Sandinos (for dancing and a funky interior) and the aforementioned Walled City Brewery (try their own-brews Boom, Kicks or Stitch).
If it’s a traditional pub you’re after, make for Peadar O’Donnell’s, home to three different bars (including the Gweedore Bar and Gweedore upstairs). The home of trad music in the city, O’Donnell’s boasts an epic whiskey collection and the interiors hit the vintage mark beautifully.
Pre or post carnival, you’ve chosen a stunning location to visit. To Derry~Londonderry’s west is the Inishowen Peninsula, a collection of coastal cliffs, beaches and stunning seafood and the start of the Wild Atlantic Way.
To the east is the Causeway Coastal Route, a resplendent slow-drive journey taking in a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Giant’s Causeway), the oldest distillery on the island (Bushmills) and a remarkable Victorian cliff walk (The Gobbins).
Push a little further west, via Belfast and its Titanic experience, and you’re in Game of Thrones Territory, with the Kingsroad, Winterfell, the Iron Islands and more on the touring menu.