Halloween in Ireland: county-by-county guide to the best family events

Here’s a list of free seasonally themed things to do for families during the midterm break, right across the country

Finding spooky-themed things to do as a family during the Halloween holidays can be scary enough, especially when you have a tight budget to stick to. Luckily for you, we have compiled a list of free things for families to do during the midterm break in each county.


Hallowena will take place between 6pm and 8.30pm in the People’s Park in Ballymena on Friday, October 27th, with a packed programme of spooktacular activities for all children to enjoy, including a kiddies funfair, fancy dress competition, live music and a fireworks finale at 8.15pm.

On Monday, October 30th, in Larne Town Park between 6-8.30pm, there will be a Halloween Hooley finishing with fireworks after a juggling show, live music and a UV disco. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council events guide


Crossmaglen Community Association will host their Halloween Festival with Evan’s Funfair, starting on Sunday, October 29th, and running until Tuesday, October 31st.


On October 26th, the Halloween Carnival Parade from Rushfear Shopping Centre returns at 7pm, crossing the bridge to South Lake Leisure Centre for a fireworks display at 7.30pm. The event gives creative kids, mums and dads an opportunity to dress up with a sparkler of a costume. See Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon councils’ Halloween guide


As part of their Samhain Festival at VISUAL Carlow, on Sunday, October 29th, a free family fun day will take place from 2pm. The day will include scavenger hunt, games on the lawn, drop in art workshops, a Halloween disco and storytelling, among other events. Costumes are essential as there will be a prize for the best one.

Some events taking place during the day require booking at a cost, but the majority are free. See Samhain Festival 2023 - VISUAL (visualcarlow.ie)


Erica’s Fairy Forest is located in Fairgreen, on the Old Bridge Road, Co Cavan, right by the border to Co Monaghan. It is dedicated to fairy-loving Erica Ní Draighneain, who died of cancer aged five years old in 2016. Classic fairy stories are built around the forest, but for Halloween it has been decorated suitably with spooky décor galore.


On Monday, October 30th, the Peadar Clancy Festival in Cranny are hosting a free children’s fancy dress party in the Hilltop bar from 5-7pm, with goody bags, games and surprises, and prizes for the best costume.

Alternatively, you can go to the Clare County Museum in Ennis where local storyteller Ruth Marshall will hold free workshops with storytelling, songs, poems and games. The museum also has interactive experiences, audiovisuals, discoveries from archaeological sites and artefacts, and a small gallery displaying local artists.


The Dragon of Shandon parade is returning to Cork for Halloween 2023, a parade featuring a 36-foot-long dragon, escorted by her legion of loyal ghouls, beasts, misfits and demons to celebrate the ancient tradition of Samhain. The parade is hosted by Cork Community Art Link and will feature a variety of performances. It will take place on Halloween night, Tuesday, October 31st, at 7pm, and will start on on Church Street and travel down the length of Shandon Street, North Main Street, Castle Street, Cornmarket Street and finish with a series of performances on the Coal Quay.


From October 28th to 31st, Derry Halloween will run. A variety of free events will be available for all ages, including a carnival parade on Halloween night at 7pm, before a spectacular drone show takes place – subject to weather conditions, of course – at 8.15pm, and the night finishes off with a fireworks display over the river Foyle at 8.30pm.


Fright of the Earls will take place in Donegal Castle on the October 30th and 31st, in Donegal Town, with a creature craft and colouring table from 11am, and a fancy dress competition with a theme of “homemade from scratch”. The costume catwalk takes place from 3-4pm. Guides will also host a series of ghost stories from Co Donegal from 7.30-8pm, with free admission; however, booking is required. See Fright of the Earls


There are a variety of events taking place in Co Down over the Halloween period. Hallowscream 2023 is an event in Newcastle on October 29th, with a seaside fireworks display along the Newcastle beach front, a zombie apocalypse community parade down the main street and a food and crafts market at Newcastle centre. For more information see Hallowscream Newcastle 2023


The National Print Museum is hosting free Halloween craft activities from October 31st to November 3rd, allowing families to make Halloween-themed crafts during their opening hours.

Dublin City Council has more than 60 events taking place in collaboration with community groups across the city for spooky season, including The Samhain Stage in Inchicore Community Sports Hall on Halloween night from 4.30pm. The concert includes a diverse exhibition of music, dancing, performance and fire.

In Finglas Civic Centre, Mellowes Road, on Halloween night, Finglas Fright Night Halloween Festival takes place from 6.30-9pm, and features an array of carnival rides, games, music, magic and dance.

In Dublin’s north east inner city, the Big Scream Festival will take place, culminating with a Halloween carnival on Seán McDermott Street, where local families can enjoy free rides and entertainment. There will also be a sensory hour for children with additional needs.

The Bram Stoker Festival takes place from Friday, October 27th, until Monday, October 30th, and features a spectacular Macnas Parade through the city centre on Monday at 6.30pm.


A family fun day takes place in Enniskillen town centre on October 31st, from 4-7pm, with thrilling activities and entertainment for all ages. The event will begin with a parade featuring a ghost train and a samba band, and attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy free face painting, popcorn and candy floss, and see a Thriller flash dance performance.


The Macnas Halloween parade takes place in Galway City on October 29th at 5.30pm, going from the Cathedral via Shop Street to Fr Griffin Park. The parade is set to be an electrifying, bone-chilling parade like never before.

The Aboo Halloween Festival kicks off on Friday, October 27th, with many fun and free events planned for the weekend for all ages.


Kenmare Halloween Howl gets under way on October 27th, running until November 4th, with a free community parade and street disco on Halloween night, meeting at 6.15pm in the creamery car park.


Athy hosts a fancy dress Halloween parade on Halloween night starting on Woodstock Street at 6.30pm, with an evening full of activity promised, including a “spooktacular laser drumming show” and prizes for the best carved pumpkin and best fancy dress.


In Kilkenny Castle, children are invited to take part in free child-friendly tours on October 22nd, 29th and November 4th. There is a maximum of two adults per booking. Free sensory-friendly tours will also be taking place in the castle on October 30th and November 5th, allowing people with sensory needs and their families to explore the castle’s many Victorian rooms in a quiet environment.

Parts of the castle may not be suitable for people with limited mobility, but ground floor rooms are fully accessible. Booking is required as places are limited. Contact kilkennycastleinfo@opw.ie to reserve your place.


Laois Pumpkin Patch is at Clonad GAA Grounds on October 29th (10am-3pm) and October 30th (10am-1pm), with a family fun day promising something for people of all ages. Organisers are offering a haunted maze, fun and games, pumpkin carving, local musicians, cute photo opportunities and fancy dress prizes.


Parke’s Castle in Leitrim is hosting an afternoon of ghost stories, art, face painting and family fun on October 30th at 1pm. The event is free but places must be booked by emailing parkescastle@opw.ie.


Limerick’s Samhain Festival, from October 26th to October 28th, will be celebrating, reimagining and retelling local Halloween stories through history, folklore and traditions. The Samhain parade will take place at about 7pm on Saturday, October 28th, with a focal point being a procession of lanterns made by local communities.


The Dead of Night Festival begins in Longford on Friday, October 27th, and concludes with a fire and shadow procession and spectacular finale in Connolly Barracks on Halloween night, Tuesday, October 31st. While some events are paid, many are free, but require booking. See Dead of Night - LongfordCoCo for more information.


Lú Festival of Light takes place from October 27th to 31st and from November 2nd to 4th in Drogheda. The display of urban animation is free to attend over both weekends, with four shows taking place per hour at various locations in the town. See lufestivaloflight.com


Free Halloween mask-making workshops will run in the museum of Country Life in Castlebar, Co Mayo on Saturday, October 28th, every 45 minutes, from 11.30am until 3.45pm. Children will have the opportunity to make their own Halloween masks inspired by images of traditional Halloween masks from the Irish folklife collection. Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis.

Mayo Dark Sky Festival takes place from November 3rd to 5th between Newport, Mulranny and Ballycroy, with a number of free events such as Planetarium shows, a puppet show and guided walks at Wild Nephin National Park as part of the agenda. See mayodarkskyfestival.ie


Púca Festival takes place in Trim and Athboy, Co Meath from Friday, October 27th to Tuesday 31st. Although some events require tickets, the grand closing of the festival, at 5.15pm on October 31st at the Fair Green in Athboy, is free. The event will consist of a procession led by a master of flames igniting fire sculptures and sharing stores of different landscapes. See pucafestival.com


St Peter’s Tin Church, in Laragh, hosts Haunting Halloween Tales, an evening of spooky storytelling, on Thursday, October 26th, at 8pm. Admission is free, but space is limited and so booking is essential. Contact bordertalkproject@gmail.com


Tullamore library will host a Halloween Craft & Storytime on October 31st at noon for kids aged 3-7, and a Dream Catcher Craft event on November 3rd at 3.30pm for kids aged 7-12. Booking is required, contact TullamoreLibrary@offalycoco.ie / 057 9346832.


Lough Key Forest and Adventure Park are hosting their Lough SpooKey event from Sunday, October 29th until Friday, November 3rd. Some activities require payment however many, such as their balloon modelling and kids games with Rachel from Fierce Fun Faces, their Halloween movie time, and their Halloween costume party, are free. See loughkey.ie


The Easkey Scarecrow Festival, in west Sligo, runs until November 4th. Each year at Halloween, locals come together to create scarecrows, bringing excitement to the village. People are invited to create their own or just come along and see the creations.

Sligo Live festival is taking place from October 27th until November 5th and there are several free family-friendly events, such as Ceol na nÓg orchestra at Calry Church, the Mall, on Sunday, October 29th at 4pm. See sligolive.ie


Spleodar Halloween Arts Festival kicks off in Nenagh on October 27th, running until Halloween night, with a variety of free events taking place. On Saturday and Sunday, Halloween Soundscape: Phantom Groovebox, takes place all day, while also on Sunday, a free treasure hunt takes place at 1pm, and on Tuesday, a fancy dress Halloween parade and fireworks close off the festival.


In Market Square, Dungannon will host a Halloween fun day and firework display in market Square on October 27th (from 6-7.45pm), with Halloween walkabout characters, music, a fire juggler performance and a fireworks display at 7.45pm.


Samhain in Waterford takes place from October 27th until October 31st, and is a mystical and spirited four-day festival, featuring a spectral Scáthanna Spraoi procession along the ancient routes of the old city centre, with floats, fire, performance, light, sound and special effects at 7.30pm on the 27th. A number of other family-friendly, free events will also take place as part of the festival. See waterfordarts.com/samhain.


Athlone Town Centre will host free mask-making and arts and crafts for children on Tuesday, October 31st, from 1pm to 4pm on the mall.


The FDYS Coolcatts Halloween Fest 2023 will take place in Londis carpark, Ferndale, on October 31st (6-7.30pm), with young talented individuals from FDYS Coolcotts participating in a drumming performance alongside the Extreme Rhythm on the night, with music, magic, opera, extreme rhythm and fireworks promised.

Gorey Shopping centre is also hosting a Halloween family fun day with a walkabout witch, glitter tattoos and face painting (from noon to 3pm) on October 28th.


Libraries across Wicklow are hosting a number of free events for children.

Arklow Library will be hosting a Halloween party with traditional Halloween games on October 31st (from noon-1pm). All ages welcome, no booking needed. Children are invited to make their own Halloween treats on November 2nd (from 11am-noon), with a sensory-friendly session from 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Booking essential via email at arklowlibrary@wicklowcoco.ie

Blessington Library is hosting a Halloween Storytime with storyteller Seosamh Ó Maolalaí for kids on Tuesday, October 31st, at 11am; book in advance at blessingtonlib@wicklowcoco.ie.

Tinahely Library are hosting spooky arts and crafts at 1pm for ages up to 4, and from 3pm for ages five and over on October 31st; booking required by emailing tinahelylib@wicklowcoco.ie or phone 040-238080.