Halloween festivities return to Carrick’s streets with safety measures in place

Halloween celebrations are making a welcome return to the streets this year with a host of ghoulish goings on in and around Carrickfergus.

With the pandemic having moved many seasonal festivities online during the past 18 months, a relaxing of restrictions means everyone’s favourite spooky holiday will be a step closer to normality, albeit with safety measures in place.

Among the activities taking place locally is the Whitehead steam train, which will be back on the main line as it operates the Wizard’s Express from Belfast Lanyon Place.

The train, which is open to the public, will complete a series of round trips from Belfast to Whitehead on October 30 and 31, with passengers invited to get in costume for the occasion.

Carrickfergus Castle will act as a projection screen for a Centenary Lumiere. Photo credit: Stephen Henderson (Twitter @social_stephen)

Lisa Adair, the RPSI general manager, said: “This return to the tracks of Northern Ireland Railways is a huge moment for the society and its volunteers. We are very grateful to NIR for all their help.

“We’ve really missed being out on the main line and we are delighted to see some sort of normality returning although we will still be keeping everyone as safe as possible.”

On display at Lanyon Place will be the famous Platform 9¾ trolley from Harry Potter films, while at Whitehead Railway Museum a ‘wicked witch’ will be on hand to welcome passengers.

Children dressed in their favourite Halloween outfit will be in the running for a competition, for which the prize is first class tickets for the Santa train in December.

Meanwhile, a programme of Halloween family fun events will be running at the Mid and East Antrim Pop-up shop on 33-35 High Street, Carrickfergus.

The programme is set to include Autumn Tales on Wednesday, October 27 from 11am - 12noon; a town centre treasure hunt, with circus characters and balloon modellers on Thursday, October 28 (1-3pm), and craft/cookie decorating on Friday, October 29 (1-3pm). A one-out, one-in system will be in operation and no booking is required.

In the midst of the seasonal celebrations, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is continuing its programme of events to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland with the ‘Lumiere’ display at Carrickfergus Castle. Click here

The medieval landmark will act as a projection screen for a trio of short films on rotation, including Waking the Dragon, 100 years in Mid and East Antrim, and Music through the Decades.

The films will be displayed on the walls of the castle using a technique known as projection mapping, with three co-ordinated projections producing 90ft tall images.

Running from 6-pm on Saturday, October 30, admission is free and no tickets are required.

The council has recommended testing for Covid-19 at least 24hours before the event and on days two and eight after the event.

The local authority is also urging visitors to use the hand sanitisers on site and keep social distancing. Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms is urged not to attend.

Carrickfergus Castle will also be the venue for a series of Halloween Spooky Tours this week.

Children’s tours (age 5-11) will be running from Thursday to Sunday, with adult tours (age 12+) on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. For more information, contact the castle on 028 9335 1273.

Meanwhile, neighbourhood policing teams in the area will be conducting patrols over Halloween in an effort to combat anti-social behaviour.”

Officers will be conducting patrols to ensure everyone is enjoying their Halloween safely,” a PSNI spokesperson said. “If you have any concerns about anti-social behaviour happening in your community, you can contact us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. “

Earlier this week, police in Mid and East Antrim issued a warning for local people to stay out of derelict buildings following reports that such properties were being visited during the dark evenings.


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