Festival of ghouls delivers for Derry

Business taps into increased numbers at 31st annual Halloween Festival

Council chiefs are hoping ghouls, witches and an awful lot of superheroes will help deliver a £1 million boost for the Derry economy as the city's four day Halloween festival ends with a flourish on Tuesday night

The Halloween festival, which has been running for 31 years, is estimated to draw around 75,000 people to the northwest but this year Derry City and Strabane District Council say it has attracted increasing numbers from the south and outside the island.

“Early indicators through ticket sales and events as well as hotel occupancy suggests that we are going to have another hugely successful event as room sales over the weekend right up to Tuesday are really strong.

“Our social media activity also shows an increasing growth in awareness with over 320,000 people engaging with us with their views and stories about Halloween in the city,” a council spokesperson said.


The festival, which has now extended to Strabane, attracts the support of businesses and retailers across the district council area who offer special Halloween discounts and it also inspires countless themed pop ups.

But for one local start-up, this year’s festival is also a major opportunity to promote what it is doing at Derry Chamber of Commerce’s Innovation Hub based in Bishop Street.

Five university graduates, all under the age of 24, set up Scattr just six months ago. They have developed an app which helps businesses target new and potential customers through a “virtual pass the parcel” which they claim enables mobile users to pass on details of their favourite products and experiences to their friends and potentially win a prize in the process.

More than 50 local firms are using the app but the Scattr team are hoping that this year’s Halloween festival in Derry could prove to be the trick for boosting their profile as businesses use it to promote their Halloween treats on offer.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business