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Halloween Event Guide: 13 spooky shindigs happening this long weekend


By Sarah Gill
26th Oct 2023

Macnas

Halloween Event Guide: 13 spooky shindigs happening this long weekend

From club nights and costume parties to dedicated festivals, scream parks and parades, these events are bound to get you into the spirit of Halloween.

Here in Ireland, Halloween holds a very important weight in our yearly event calendar. According to Irish folklore, Halloween draws its roots from the Celtic tradition of Samhain, which marks the end of the harvest season and the start of the New Year.

A time of year when the veil between the realms of the living and the dead is thought to be at its thinnest, October 31 brings with it a whole host of activities for us to mark the occasion with. We’ve already provided a rundown of the very best family-friendly events on the horizon, and the top pumpkin picking location, but here are some for the grown ups…

Derry Halloween

Saturday 28 — Tuesday 31 October

A great Samhain gathering that sees the Walled City come alive with ancient spirits just in time for the Awakening, Derry Halloween is Europe’s largest Halloween festival. For four nights, the worlds of past and present collide to bring you a dazzling street celebration of all things spooky in the official home of Halloween. Celebrating all things folklore, feasting, and festivity, Derry reopens the pathways of the Halloween travellers of the past through illumination, aerial performance, pyrotechnics and music, as the spirits cross over to join the festivities, bringing magic and mischief to the streets. Check out the full schedule here.

Retro Drive-In Halloween Screenings

Thursday 27 — Monday 30 October

If you want to take movie night out of the front room and into the driver’s seat, Retro Drive-In is back for spooky season with some true cult classics. From The Poltergeist and Scream 2 to Hocus Pocus, Insidious, and The Omen, you can fill up the car with goodies and leave Leopardstown Racecourse feeling suitably unsettled. If you’re foregoing horrors this year, they’re also randomly showing The Snapper on Monday, so there’s that!

Farmophobia

Until Thursday 2 November

Said to be the biggest and most terrifying Halloween event in Ireland, the tormented and twisted minds of Farmaphobia return this year with five incredibly creepy haunts spread across over 100 acres of fear in Fordstown, county Meath. The attractions include a Cult land where you can prepare to be sacrificed by the Children of the Forest, a town full of clowns, a Peril Penitentiary , and a Zombie Morgue.

The Nightmare Realm

Until Friday 3 November

Since their inception back in 2009 in the town of Tralee, The Nightmare Realm have been terrorising the people of Ireland with their truly terrifying haunts and attractions. Ireland’s largest indoor scream park, an evening at the ‘No.1 Haunt in the World’ is sure to be quite the horrifying experience. From Sundown Manor to Death Row, you’ll encounter swamp witches, killer clowns, and science experiments gone wrong. Godspeed.

Púca Festival

Friday 27 — Tuesday 31 October

This year’s Púca programme brings some of the most amazing talent in music, comedy and performance to the festivals hubs of Trim and Athboy, featuring The Waterboys & Damien Dempsey, Macy Gray, comedic genius such as Jason Byrne, Reginald D Hunter and Emma Doran, as well as fascinating tour, talks and workshops. Check out the full programme here.

Bram Stoker Festival

Friday 27 October — Monday 30 October

Bram Stoker Festival celebrates the legacy of one of Ireland’s most beloved and iconic writers. Now entering its tenth year, the festival draws inspiration from Stoker, his life, his work, the Dublin of his time and celebrates the Gothic, the supernatural, the after-dark and the Victorian. Expect deliciously dark treats on the streets and in venues across Dublin, including a parade, a water installation, theatrical terrors, literary workshops, and much more.

Macnas Halloween Parade

Sunday 29 October

Reclaiming the streets of Galway with their first electrifying bone-chilling street parade in four years, the world renowned masters of storytelling and pioneers of imagination that are Macnas bring a brand new, spectacular and spine-tingling parade of unearthly magic to their native Galway on Sunday 29 October. The parade is inspired by the legend of La Loba, a wild Wolf-Woman who collects and preserves the bones of animals, humans and gods that are in danger of being lost to the world and sings them back to life by moonlight.

HONEYPOT 009: Call Your Ghoulfriend

Friday 27 October

It’s witching hour, so the folks at the Haus of HONEYPOT are throwing a seriously spooky Halloween party at Dublin’s Wigwam, where Wrangler and Rhyzine will be spinning hauntingly good tunes upstairs all night long. In the basement, there’ll be sets from ÓIR and Rosita. A club night dedicated to providing a safe space for queer women and the wider LGBTQ+ community, a portion of ticket sales will go towards supporting Oxfam’s humanitarian aid in Gaza.

Mother Presents: Disco Bloodbath

Sunday 28 October

Deep in an 18th century crypt in the city centre, Mother is waking the dead for an All Hallow’s disco bloodbath. Cleared of corpses and converted, the crypt at the Church on Wolfe Tone Square will be playing host to a very special Mother bank holiday Sunday spectacular. Expect a plague of undead drag queens, re-activated actors, Ghostboy on the decks and an underground hallowicked experience designed to get you dancing with the undead.

Jail of Horror and Crumlin Road Gaol

Until Tuesday 31 October

The Jail of Horror — described as one of Belfast’s most fearsome scare attractions — is returning for Halloween 2023. Visitors, if they dare, will enter the Victorian Jail, and face all their fears on an intense scare after scare journey which only has one way out. The visit will include the famous basement of D-Wing. The one-of-a-kind ‘Jail of Horror’ tour through Belfast’s oldest prison will offer a terrifying unparalleled experience.

Dragon of Shandon Parade

Tuesday 31 October

Every year, after darkness descends, hundreds of spooky giant skeletons, merry monsters, and creepy characters gather in Cork city for the Dragon of Shandon Parade. The 36ft monster made entirely of tape and controlled by 12 puppeteers, will begin its journey at 7pm and make its way through the town throughout the evening, finishing with a series of performances on the Coal Quay.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Halloween Extravaganza

Saturday 28 October

Promising one of the wildest, craziest and most outrageous Halloween festivities in living history, The Sugar Club’s annual Halloween Extravaganza is back with guest performances, prizes for best dressed, complimentary goodies and audience participation. Hold onto your fishnets and behold as Richard O Brien’s 1975 cult classic comes alive on The Sugar Club stage just for you.

Featured image via Macnas