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The ultimate last-minute guide to Halloween

Still don't know how you're going to spend fright night? Tanya Sweeney rounds up the best of what's on around the country - and there's something for everyone

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Spook-tacular: Dracula (actor David Herlihy) and Makayla Sweetman launch North Dublin’s Big Scream Halloween Festival. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins

Spook-tacular: Dracula (actor David Herlihy) and Makayla Sweetman launch North Dublin’s Big Scream Halloween Festival. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins

Spook-tacular: Dracula (actor David Herlihy) and Makayla Sweetman launch North Dublin’s Big Scream Halloween Festival. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins

Admit it, between sourcing bits for your Fleabag/Boris/Joker costume and stocking up on enough sweets to sate the neighbourhood, you've completely forgotten to make an actual plan for Halloween night. Well, we've got you covered, even if that skimpy nurse outfit doesn't. Whether you want a hair-raising night out with friends, family-friendly fun, or a local hooley that celebrates the more spiritual side of Samhain, there's a local event that's sure to put the frighteners on you (in a good way).

The Big Scream, Dublin (bigscream.ie)

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Beth Phelan, Dylan Goldbach and Rose Phelan at Tipperary Museum of Hidden History. Photo: Patrick Browne

Beth Phelan, Dylan Goldbach and Rose Phelan at Tipperary Museum of Hidden History. Photo: Patrick Browne

If you go down to Dublin's North East Inner City, you're sure to find all sorts of ghoulish goings on. A celebration of Bram Stoker, who lived on Buckingham Street, The Big Scream will hold a Sheriff Street parade in which little ones take to the streets in their Halloween costumes, accompanied by a samba band. Get down to Rainbow Park and Sean McDermott Street, where the free events take place from 5pm onwards. Expect inflatables, games, candyfloss and a haunted house.

Púca, Drogheda, Athboy and Trim (pucafestival.com)

A collaboration between Fáilte Ireland, events wizards Curated Place and Meath/Louth County Councils, Púca takes over the Ancient East to reclaim Halloween's Celtic roots and give them a 21st century spin. The Samhain Procession takes place at Athboy's Fair Green at 5pm (free, but ticketed), while in Drogheda, de:Lux is a wondrous spectacle happening all across the town from 6pm (free, but ticketed) while Trim Castle is the backdrop for several free musical performances.

Tipperary Museum of Hidden History, Tipperary (hiddenhistory.ie)

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Púca party: Bláithnaid Ní Chofaigh celebrates the Púca festival

Púca party: Bláithnaid Ní Chofaigh celebrates the Púca festival

Andres Poveda

Just in time for Halloween, the Museum has opened to fanfare, and they're going all out for this time of year. Hear stories of murderers, innocent men being hanged, and gentlemen who defended their honour with pistols and swords. You can also lie down in a creepy coffin.

Family Memory Makers, CHQ, Dublin (eventbrite.ie)

The CHQ building in Dublin City is the ideal spot for kids to get messy and make, mix and mould some Halloween decorations that will make the house extra spooky. It's also a great opportunity to explore ancestry with some eerie pop-up family trees. Tickets are €10 and the event starts at 11am.

Pálás Cinema, Galway (palas.ie)

If a good old-fashioned fright in the dark is more your speed, the City of the Tribes is a good place to start. Galway's greatest indie cinema is laying on a smorgasbord of spooky classics, including The Mummy, Hocus Pocus, American Psycho, Doctor Sleep and Scream.

Spirits Of Meath Festival, Boyne Valley (spiritsofmeath.ie)

Deep in the Boyne Valley, the Spirits of Meath festival offers family fun by day for kids, and frights at night for those with a sterner constitution. The Hinterland Samhain festival, in conjunction with Boyne Valley tours, promises a weekend of food and merriment across Kells. Prices to events vary, though many are free.

Derry Halloween (derryhalloween.com)

For over 30 years, thousands of visitors invade Derry for a jam-packed programme of arts, cultural, family-friendly and paranormal specials all over the city. The carnival parade departs Queen's Quay on Thursday while a fireworks finale will light up the River Foyle in what's become a central part of this free event.

Wicked Adventures at Tayto Park, Meath (taytopark.ie)

If you're aged between 3 and 12, be sure to dress up in full Halloween costume if you want to get into Ireland's much-loved theme park for free. On arrival, visitors can transform into their favourite Halloween character at the Tayto Park Face Painting Hut, before stepping inside the Wicked Witches' Lair where a whole new adventure trail begins.

Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park, Kildare (lullymoreheritagepark.com)

Lovely Lullymore in Rathangan have put on a stellar week of Halloween happenings. Spine-tingling thrills are promised on the Terror Train Trip around the site, while the park itself will be transformed into a ghastly wonderland. Enjoy the fancy dress competition, treasure hunts and all sorts of eerie fun. Normal admissions apply (€32 for a family of 2 adults and 2 children), although the Terror Train Trip advises parental discretion for smallies.

The Nightmare Realm, Dublin (thenightmarerealm.ie)

The RDS in Dublin invites revellers to become the star of their own horror film in what has been awarded the World's Best Halloween Event by Unilad Adventures. Expect a haunted house with a difference, where your comfort zone will basically be nowhere in sight. The event starts at 6pm; tickets are €20-30.

Fota Arboretum and the Victorian Wicked Garden, Cork (fotaisland.ie)

The 19th century stately home is hosting a Creepy Crawl in the grounds, inviting visitors to trek around its newly-named Victorian Wicked Garden. Treats await those who get the better of the spooky garden, while at the Bakestone caravan, a hot chocolate should stave off the chills. Children's tickets cost €5 and adults are free, and dressing up is of course encouraged.

Irish Independent