Dead of Night returns for its ninth year

Mick, Cian, Katie and Patricia O'Byrne enjoying last year's Dead of Night Festival. Photo: Shelley Corcoran
The dark streets of Longford will come alive this Halloween as the ninth annual ‘Dead of Night’ festival swings into action.

The dark streets of Longford will come alive this Halloween as the ninth annual ‘Dead of Night’ festival swings into action.

Starting from 6pm, a mardi gras-style parade, featuring a procession of dazzling lanterns made by pupils from six local national schools, will make its way from St Mel’s College to the Market Square.

From then on, the Market Square will act as the focal point for the night’s activities, where participants can look forward to a fantastic selection of super-sized inflatables (including the highest slide in Ireland), carnival tents and shows, great music, carnival booths and plenty more!

The annual festival is the culmination of a partnership between the HSE Health Promotion & Improvement Service, Longford County Council, An Garda Síochána, and The Attic Youth Café in conjunction with other voluntary stakeholders.

At a time when emergency services can be particularly stretched, the popular ‘Dead of Night’ festival creates a safe, supportive and community-oriented environment at Halloween.

The sharing of resources and skills by the partner organisations together with the support of the wider community and voluntary organisations has, over the past eight years, had a positive impact in relation to incidents and injuries commonly associated with this time of year, including burns-related A&E admissions, anti-social behaviour, injuries to emergency personnel and damage to property or appliances.

Indeed, the ‘Dead of Night’ festival goes even further towards decreasing such incidents at Halloween by carrying out workshops and competitions in the lead up to the holiday.

In the past few weeks, a number of projects have been running throughout the county, aimed at increasing young peoples’ awareness and understanding of Halloween-related issues.

As part of this, Halloween safety workshops were delivered to 1,500 young people throughout the county, both inside and outside of school. The workshops catered to primary and secondary school students. The annual Halloween safety art competition was also introduced again this year, with entries coming in from Longford’s primary schools. Furthermore, the creative lanterns that will be in full view in the town on Halloween night were created by approximately 200 local youths during lantern-making workshops.