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Mayor's video message encourages public to celebrate Halloween 2020 at home

30 October 2020
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney, has recorded a video message urging the public to enjoy this weekend's Halloween celebrations within the current restrictions in place for the Council area.
Cases of Covid 19 in Derry and Strabane have dropped by around 50% this week, almost four weeks after a number of localised restrictions were introduced to reduce the spread of the virus, including the closing of hospitality venues.
Mayor Tierney, who is isolating at home after being identified as a close contact of a family member who tested positive for the virus, has asked the public to celebrate Halloween from home through Council's online programme.
"Over recent weeks I have made a number of appeals to the public to do all they can to reduce the spread of Covid 19," he said.
"I want to make a special appeal this weekend as we enter the Halloween celebrations.
"Derry is the home of Halloween and it's a huge time for celebration across our City and District but it's important that we do that in a way that keeps our community safe during this uncertain time.
"I'm appealing to the public to celebrate at home with your family, stay safe and do all you can to protect each other.
"Council are hosting an exciting Halloween programme online including a number of interactive activities that families can get involved in.
"If we can keep social interactions to a minimum in the coming weeks I believe that it will allow us to enjoy a better Christmas that we can spend with our closest family and friends."
Council's virtual programme for Halloween includes crowd favourites such as Awakening of the Walls, Storytelling and Arts and Crafts Workshops.
Festival and Events Manager at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Jacqueline Whoriskey, explained the thinking behind the programme.
"We wanted to recreate as much of the unique Derry Halloween spirit, creativity and passion as possible by continuing with many of the family friendly activities and events that have had the crowds flocking back to our City and District year on year," she said.
"Although families are being asked to celebrate from home this year there is still a huge appetite to celebrate and for Derry Halloween themed entertainment.
"With our community partners we have developed an exciting virtual programme of entertainment and workshops that can be enjoyed not just by locals from Derry and Strabane but by the many international visitors who would normally be joining us at this time of year."
 One of the highlights will be The Awakening performance where five of the city's most ghostly characters will join us from the other world to reveal the true meaning of Samhain – Derry style.
In a series of videos shot in iconic locations, you'll meet Irish witch the Cailleach, the shapeshifting goddess Morrigan, the fearsome Red Branch Knight, an enchanting, dancing Banshee, and the Derry Coat of Arms' very own Walter the Skeleton.
With a little help from In Your Space Circus, these mythical creatures will awake from slumber to share stories, merge old and new traditions, and get us ready for the most magical night of the year.
Other highlights include Little Horrors story-telling sessions, aimed at Kids ( 2 - 5yrs and  6- 11yrs - Horrible Histories style), which will include myths and legends of Ireland - Cuchulain, Derry Vampire, Werewolves of Ireland.
Online tutorials in make-up, costume making, and pumpkin carving, fireworks displays and a series of community led interactive projects are now live on the website and are ideal entertainment for children currently on an extended half term break.
The Wicked Words programme encourages children to get creative by writing their own Halloween Haiku, ghost story or Two Minute Terror video and The Gathering.
You can share your own Halloween creations from home using the #derryhalloween hashtag on social media and upload your own archive images from previous years on derryhalloween.com/memories.
The full virtual programme for Derry Halloween can be accessed at derryhalloween.com/highlights.