Halloween is becoming more and more popular in Ireland with family fun and Halloween Events. Its not unusual to see houses bedecked with Halloween decorations from the start of October, which years ago would have been unheard of. Halloween events are also becoming more popular. Derry is known internationally for its festival and now Failte Ireland have kicked off ‘Puca’ a new Halloween festival based around the origins of ‘Samhain’ the Celtic Pagan festival. Samhain celebrated the time of year when the worlds of life and death were once again connected and a gathering of souls, Féile na Marbh (the Feast of the Dead). It also represented leaving the light of Summer and entering the darkness of Winter. Coming during the harvest it was also a time of feasting and celebration. Hard to believe that the origins of Halloween were sewn locally in Athboy and other historical sites on Ireland’s Ancient East.
Many Halloween events are just actors in costumes shouting and scaring people. We wanted to add a bit of adventure to the typical event, whilst still keeping the craic and adrenaline elements! We also wanted to utilise the amazing natural elements that we are blessed with in Carlingford. Therefore we decided that the perfect location for a Halloween event was our forest on the slopes of Slieve Foye. We are lucky enough to have our own area of forest, including a quarry as out playground. Within this forest we run some of our activities – Ziptopia, laser combat, rock climbing and axe throwing so our big idea was to integrate some of these activities into the Halloween experience. So participants get the fear and fun of an ordinary Halloween event walking through our ‘Forest of Fear’, but also get to try some cool adventure activities. Nowhere else will you get to do a night zipline 30mtrs high over a quarry, shoot laser at zombies, try axe throwing and toast smores over a campfire! We also wanted to open the event up to as many people as possible, so we have a family event at 6pm, a scary event at 7pm and dead scary events at 9pm and 10pm. The event runs from Friday 25th to Thursday 31st October.
So the event runs as thus. You need to book in advance as we are keeping group sizes small (max 16 people) to maximise the event experience for everyone. You arrive in Carlingford Adventure Centre on the main street of Carlingford 15minutes before your start time, this allows plenty of time for registration and getting yourself psyched for the big event! Groups will be transported to our forest as it is a very steep and rough surface. Dont attempt to drive there yourself! Then the event is slightly different depending on your hour slot:
6pm – fun family event for 6 years and older. This will entail a fun forest walk, shooting laser guns at the monsters, axe throwing and a bonfire with smores. 1.5hrs of fun for just €10 per person and any under 16’s require adult supervision.
7pm – scary event for 12 years and older. This entails a frightening forest walk, laser guns, axe throwing, night zipline across the quarry and bonfire with smores. Again under 16s require adult supervision and the cost is just €20 per person for 2hrs of adventure.
8pm & 9pm – dead scary event for 16 years and older. This involves a very frightening forest walk, laser guns, axe throwing and night zipline across the quarry and bonfire with smores and the cost is just €20 per person for 2hrs of frightening adventure.
For us Halloween isn’t just about dressing up as clowns and scaring the life out of people. Its about linking with our pagan past and remembering those that have left us but in a fun way. We like the ethos of the Puca Festival but we have tried to invigorate it in a more adventurous way as we are an adventure centre afterall! Our Forest of Fear event celebrates our natural surroundings and offers adrenaline experiences for a variety of ages and scare levels. The event also offers some experiences that money can’t buy – we never normally offer ziplining at night, or laser combat or axe throwing for that matter! Nice too that after the scares and adrenaline activities you get to relax with a toasted smore, but don’t relax too much as you never know what’s around the next corner… There are lots of other Halloween events out there – including Tayto Park, Bellurgan Park, Fitzpatricks Restuarant, Causey Farm, but we feel that ours really stands out, with something for everyone, a mixture of scares and adventure amidst amazing surroundings overlooking Carlingford Lough. Historically Samhain was a time of nature, fire, feasting and mischief. You will find them all this year at Forest of Fear!!