Ghostly quiet for unofficial ‘capital of Halloween’

Halloween has been the biggest night on the calendar in Londonderry for more than 30 years, but this year it has to take its celebrations off the streets.

With no major events and no big gatherings, even outdoors, Derry is doing its part to try to limit the spread of coronavirus – making for a ghostly quiet Halloween.

The city’s celebrations usually last a full week and the local tourism industry has grown to depend on the boost, so scaling back is a major blow.

Aeidin McCarter, from Derry City and Strabane District Council, said: “In the last few years, we’ve grown this to an event that sees over 140,000 people normally on the streets of this city.

“We’ve had to move largely online this year – we’re doing our best to really keep the spirit of Halloween alive.”

Halloween in Derry is usually a sight to behold. Credit: UTV

Odhran Dunne, from Visit Derry, outlined how the usual Halloween festivities give the city an advantage when it comes to bringing in tourists from far and wide.

“Economically, it generates over £3m,” he added.

But this year, things have to be different and, across Northern Ireland, families are being encouraged to stay safe and celebrate Halloween at home - without breaching social distancing regulations.

Covid-19 has put the frighteners on Halloween festivities. Credit: Pacemaker