The countdown is on for what’s set to be the biggest Halloween yet, as Derry Halloween was officially launched with a spellbinding party in The Guildhall, Derry.

The historic city, named as the world’s best Halloween destination, plays host to the largest celebration of the festival in Ireland and Britain, with over 120,000 people attending last year and nearly 200,000 people making multiple visits.

Derry Halloween 2019 will run from 26 October to 01 November, with a theme of ‘The Other World Awakens’ to reflect the festival’s roots in the ancient Celtic tradition of Samhain.

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This year’s action-packed schedule includes the first-ever LegenDerry Halloween Food Village, in recognition of the city’s flourishing food and drink scene.

The only complete walled city in Ireland, and one of the finest in Europe, the Derry walls celebrate their 400th anniversary this year. Awakening the Walls, an animated and illuminated trail along with the historic monument, is another exciting festival highlight.

There will also be a Little Horrors Family program, Tours and Trails, Samhain Sessions with music acts including Hudson Taylor, stunning street animation and a Carnival Parade and Fireworks.

Last year’s Derry Halloween was named ‘Best International Experience’ at the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards, and the festival has previously been named ‘Best Halloween Destination in the World’ by USA Today.

A Tourism NI survey found that 27% of those attending 2018’s celebrations were from other parts of Northern Ireland, while 23% were from outside Northern Ireland.

Visitors to the city are excellently catered for, with accommodation ranging from luxury hotels (such as the boutique Bishop’s Gate Hotel, recently voted Northern Ireland’s Best Hotel Stay), to homely guesthouses and quality hostels.

Read more: Ireland’s newest festival celebrates where Halloween’s story begins

For more information on what’s on, where to stay and how to get there, visit derryhalloween.com or follow @DerryHalloween on social media #DerryHalloween

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Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Michaela Boyle and Martin Graham, Tourism NI officially launch Derry Halloween 2019 with the help of Winifred the Witch and The Mad HatterDerry City and Strabane District Council