Take note of all the ghoulish fun and spooky scarefests for kids and adults alike this Halloween
September went by in a blink and now it’s already time for the mid-term break, with kids set to enjoy all the fun and scares that Halloween brings. Here, we’ve handpicked some of the coolest days out for families as well as a few creepy spectacles for older kids-at-heart.
More than 50 events will take place across Limerick city and county for Halloween. Limerick’s Halloween Festival, Samhain, takes inspiration from local folklore and Halloween traditions. Kids can enjoy spooky storytelling, lantern making and all the family will enjoy cheering on the brave swimmers tackling the Samhain swim in the River Shannon. Samhain is presented by Lumen Street Theatre, and will culminate in a twilight lantern parade, as families gather to watch the Bishop Lady rise to haunt the streets of Limerick. Samhain runs from 24-26 October in the Medieval Quarter in Limerick City. Little kids will also love exploring D&M’s pumpkin trail and the Curraghchase Pumpkin Patch. For a real fright not for the faint-hearted, visit The Scare Factory in the chilling surroundings of Cleeve’s factory, from 18 October to 3 November.
Monsters, Misfits and Mayhem is the theme at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park’s one day spectacular on Monday, 28 October. Creepy creatures and monsters will invade the castle grounds from 12pm, and visitors can experience face-painting, bouncy castles, juggling displays, balloon animals and more. Amazing street performer Monsieur Gusto will ensure there are lots of laughs, and kids can also have a close encounter with creepy snakes, lizards and tarantulas too. Hop aboard the Halloween Spooktacular train ride and keep a look out for ghosts, grim reapers and zombies. In the castle basement, you might bump into Dracula in his coffin in a crypt, Frankenstein and a screaming banshee. Bunrattycastle.ie/halloween
The Bram Stoker Festival describes itself as four days of deadly adventures, running from 25-28 October. With fascinating events exploring the work of the author, and plenty of spine-tingling events and experiences to delve into. Stokerland is a pop-up Victorian fun park for families in St Patrick’s Park, with lots of olde-worlde games for kids to enjoy as well as a performance tent. https://bramstokerfestival.com/
Moving beyond Dracula to a different kind of horror, those who have been brave enough to sit through The Exorcist on screen will enjoy the haunting stage version, coming to The Gaiety from Tuesday, 29 October to 2 November. 45 years since the Oscar-winning film’s UK release, this stage version of The Exorcist will feature the voice of Ian McKellan as the demon possessing the little girl.
Elsewhere, board the brand new Dublin City Ghostbus kids tour, which is suitable for children aged 7-14. Learn the horrible histories and gruesome gory secrets of the streets of Dublin, as you are whisked back in time to the creepy chronicles of Dracula, hear the magical myths of Yeats and Wilde and experience the devil’s presence at the Pepper Canister Church. The Ghostbus’s resident dismembered torso, Teddy, will be used to demonstrate how cadavers were carved up by the fearsome Dr.Clossy, an anatomist with a dark history who worked in Dublin’s famous College of Surgeons. Guests will also be treated to a torture demonstration with blood-curdling effects.
The Macnas Halloween Parade in Galway is the largest free Halloween event in the country. This epic storytelling event will unleash curiosity, fear, grief, love, laughter and a sense of fun on the streets of Galway, with this year’s theme of ‘Danse Macabre’. Macnas will take audiences on a journey with a boy called Conor and Macnas, the ultimate guardians of the unpredictable, will conjure a magical-realist world brimming with fizzing light, infusing the streets with spices and aromas, to conjure the magical. It promises to be strange, unpredictable and utterly mesmerising. Always a gigantic undertaking, this year’s parade will feature the signature Macnas giant creations and sculptural images, pyrotechnics, bespoke costumes and epic performances to live and original music. www.macnas.ie
MEATH and LOUTH
Fáilte Ireland is celebrating Ireland as the homeplace of Halloween with a new three-day festival called Púca. Taking place in Trim, Athboy and Drogheda from 31 October – 2 November, this festival sheds light on Ireland’s mystical past with jaw-dropping theatrical and artistic displays. The original spirits of Halloween will lead the way through a line-up of spectacular processions, light installations and historic storytelling. Musical performances not to be missed include Kormac and the Irish Chamber Orchestra performing an incredible multimedia piece, the haunting vocals of Lisa O’Neill and much more. pucafestival.com