Thursday, May 30, 2024


DIG out the fake fangs and polish off the broomstick as Newcastle prepares for a cracking line-up of events this Halloween.

Proudly brought to you by the volunteers who run Newcastle Community Cinema (NCC), the varied line-up of events, running over five days, will cater for all tastes and ages. From a whole host of movies, entertainment, fancy dress and live theatre, to workshops and parties, there’s something to suit all – with a colourful street party and fireworks display taking place on Sunday 30 October.

Newcastle’s Halloween programme will kick off at 3pm next Thursday (27 October) with Splat Messy Play at the NCC premises along Main Street. This hour-long class encourages babies and toddlers to explore a wide range of new textures and manipulate different materials; enhancing their cognitive development and learning, while improving their physical development. The following morning, a Halloween-themed baby sensory class will take place, when the young participants, aged from birth up to 13 months, will get to celebrate the autumn harvest as well as experience a wonderful pumpkin patch. That evening, from 6pm, NCC and Autism Support Kilkeel (ASK) will present a ‘relaxed screening’ of ‘Hotel Transylvania’ for people with neuro-diverse conditions and their families. This wacky re-telling of Dracula will be relaxed and welcoming with dimmed lights, no trailers and freedom to wander or sing along.

ASK is generously supporting this event to keep the ticket price low at £1.50 per seat. As it’s Halloween it will be time to dress up – and there will be a prize for the best costume! On Sunday (30 October) events will kick off at 1pm with an afternoon of pumpkin carving. Children will get to choose their very own pumpkin, scoop out the goo and draw a scary face. Then, from 2.30pm, ‘Hocus Pocus’ – the classic Halloween movie starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy – will be screened.

The highlight for many will be the return, after three long years, of the Halloween fireworks. But, before the colourful display lights up the night sky, the lead-up to it runs along the promenade from 2pm, with a whole host of live performances, with street theatre, music, spooky poetry readings, dance performances and walk about characters. Take a walk along South Promenade to catch Ursula the Witch and her magic harp, head to NCC’s Deckchair Cinema with spooky kids short films or try and spot the interactive Halloween cos-players or fire-breathers and jugglers on the beach, with facepainters, carnival rides and a host of delicious food providers. Don’t forget to catch local musicians Discobeard and The Anchor Uke as well as performances from Newcastle Comhaltas, plus spooky poetry from the Mourne Stars Drama group on the promenade stage before the fireworks at 8pm.

The following morning, starting at 10.30am, specialist in pumpkin decoration, Jo Donnelly, will lead a workshop for primary school-aged children to create Halloween globes of wonder to take home. ‘Goosebumps’, billed as a spooky yet wholesome adventure fantasy, will be shown at 11.45am. Also taking place that day will be the Mourne Stars Halloween Drama Workshops. Suitable for those aged between five and 10, hour-long sessions will run between 1pm and 4pm. Participants will be able to celebrate Halloween in style with a fancy dress themed drama workshop featuring games, activities and spooky poetry. 2022 brings the centenary of the most influential horror film of all time, ‘Nosferatu’, with the first (unofficial) representation of the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker. This German silent production of Dracula highlights what cinema is all about and will bring Newcastle’s Halloween programme to a conclusion.

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