Derry: Thousands take part in Europe's biggest Halloween party

Tens of thousands of people have taken part in Londonderry's annual Halloween festival which drew to a close on Tuesday night.

The four-day event culminated in the annual parade and fireworks finale.

Organisers say the festival is the largest Halloween event in Europe.

Derry's mayor Patricia Logue said the city had showcased its "wonderful community spirit and unrivalled creativity" over the festival's run.

"The fun didn't stop all weekend, and I was so impressed to see how many children, big and small, got into the spirit and turned out in their costumes each night.

"You just wouldn't get that anywhere else, and it's what makes Derry the true home of Halloween".

Aeidin McCarter, from Derry City and Strabane District Council, said the festival's popularity spreads across the world.

"Derry Halloween once again dazzled over the weekend," she said.

"Its value to the local economy is unquestionable, the footfall through the city over the weekend was amazing, and our hotels were struggling to cope with demand".

The closing parade involved hundreds of local schoolchildren and members of community groups from across the region.

It was followed by a drone display that saw one hundred drones take to the sky above the River Foyle.

ghost image from derry dorne display
One hundred drones took to the skies following the carnival parade.

A variety of spooky Halloween themed images took shape including a witch, a ghost and a raven.

One of the drone pilots, Nigel Lelew, told BBC News NI the show was a first in Derry.

"We know there's a high bar when it comes to celebrating Halloween in Derry so we hope people love it," said Mr Lelew.

Mandalorians at derry halloween
Few people come to Derry for Halloween without dressing accordingly

The festivities in Derry have grown to global renown since the first official Halloween celebrations in 1986 and it is now regarded as among the world's premier destinations for Halloween.

It is the biggest night of the year in the city and brings in thousands of people - the vast majority of both young and old are in costume and fancy dress.

The council is anticipating that over the four days of the event, more than 130,000 people will have come to the city.

batman fancy dress at derry halloween
The Dark Knight has also made his way to the north west

Ms McCarter said the £450,000 it cost to put on was money well spent.

"We know from previous events it brings around £3.5m into the local economy and untold non-monetary benefits right across Northern Ireland," she said.

Dance troupe City Dance entertained the crowds throughout the festival. They are aged between 11 and 17.

"There's 20 in our troupe and they are just super and they have been rocking it this week," City Dance's Irena Noonan said.

Londonderry Chamber of Commerce president Selina Horshi said the festival had been brilliant for business.

"For a small region, we have proven time and again that we punch above our weight on the world stage and our Halloween festivities are another example of this," she said.

"The footfall seen in the city not just today, but over the entire weekend has been brilliant and is as always, a welcome boost to businesses in the city".

Tens of thousands have attended a plethora of Halloween events during the festival run including Awakening the Walls - capturing the myth and magic of the Halloween story through music, pyrotechnics and illumination on the city walls - and Rise - Ring of Fire at Ebrington Square.

Both the parade and fireworks display were streamed live by BBC News NI.