The evenings are drawing in, the weather is getting colder and the preparations are in full swing for Hallowe’en!
In Longford town, the annual Dead of Night Festival will get underway on Monday evening from 6pm, with a parade, which will travel up New Street before circling the Market Square.
Originally organised to decrease the level of anti-social behaviour which is associated with Hallowe’en, the festival has gone from strength to strength, and attendees can look forward to a frightfully fun night.
Preparations for the festival have been taking place in schools throughout the county over the past month or so, with safety talks by the Local Authority, An Garda Síochána and County Longford Youth Services. Handmade lanterns, created by pupils from local schools, will also form a crucial part of the petrifying parade.
Bystanders can join in the fun of the parade as it makes its way up to the Market Square, where fun, games, inflatable slides and live music will keep everyone entertained until 9pm.
Over in Ardagh, the Creative Ardagh Fright Fest will get Hallowe’en off to a spooky start a little earlier, beginning with Ardagh School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from Saturday, October 29 - Monday, October 31. Learn about potions, dark arts, the forbidden forest and more in this magical offering. All ages are welcome, but booking is essential.
On Tuesday, November 1, Celtic New Year Celebrations will be held, with a lantern making workshop, ghost stories and face painting from 4pm, before a lantern-lit Samhain Walk through the woods and the village at 6pm.
The fun doesn’t stop there, however!
On Wednesday, November 2 at 7pm, ‘A Gothic Evening’ for those aged 14+ will see readings and discussions take place, based on classic gothic literature, including Frankenstein and Dracula.
On Thursday, November 3, Spooky Art Camp runs from 12pm - 5pm, inspired by ‘The Nightmare Club’ books by Annie Graves. This is suitable for children aged 4+ and must be booked in advance.
At 7pm, local author Lorne Patterson will read from his latest book, ‘Hour of the Witch’.
Friday, November 4 will serve up a literary feast, with Ruth Frances Long and Joe Murphy offering writing tips and tricks.
On Saturday, November 5, Ruth Frances Long, Joe Murphy and Lorne Patterson will return again for an author panel at 11am, before the winners of the teen and adult Flash Fiction competition read their work at 1pm.
At 2pm, storyteller Maggi McKenna will enchant the audience with tales from Annie Graves’ ‘The Nightmare Club’, and at 4pm, the winners of the children’s Flash Fiction competition will receive their prizes.
A photography exhibition will be open to all throughout the week’s events, and the awesome affair will be rounded up with the Hungry Ghost Banquet at 8pm with Cook n Dine Longford Chef, Martin O'Connor.
For more information on the Ardagh events, and to book your place, visit http://ardaghfrightfest.blogspot.ie