December 10 2013 Latest news:
Friday, November 1, 2013
An estimated 3,000 people took part in Norwich’s first Halloween parade, which proved that the annual celebration of all things scary has become a fixture on the city’s calendar.
Halloween in the UK seems to get bigger every year, with a new generation of adults and children totally engrossed in the celebration.
Back in my day, Guy Fawkes’ Night was the big event around this time of year, but Halloween seems to have stolen a march on its rival.
The Halloween parade was advertised as a walk from the castle mound to the Forum, starting at 7pm.
But hundreds of people had started gathering well before then. And when it eventually came for the parade to make its way down from the castle, the procession must have been a mile-long.
Hundreds of people were still making their way along Gentleman’s Walk to the Forum more than half an hour later.
And it seemed as if a good proportion of the population of Norwich had turned out, even though it was a bit chilly.
Parents were dressed up as witches and spooky monsters, and the children were covered in face paint and dressed up to the nines.
The event also seemed to bring communities together with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for everyone.
Norwich Lord Mayor Keith Driver, who was at the front of the parade, said: “We expected about 150 people, but there must have been about 3,000 people turned up.”
The parade was the culmination of a week of half-term Halloween fun as part of Norwich’s first ever Spooky City event.
A host of spooky goings have been taking place across the city since Monday, including the professional carving of two giant pumpkins, a fancy dress competition, a pumpkin carving competition, ghostly arts and crafts workshops and story telling.
And for the big event last night everyone was invited to dress up in their best Halloween outfit and join the parade as it snaked its way through the city.
As the procession made its way downhill from the castle strange happenings were taking place under bridges, on street corners, and in trees along the route.
And young and old alike were frightened and delighted in equal measure by the host of creepy creatures, ghosts, tall witches, fire breathers, bats, creepy music, howls and screams on the way.
A cackling witch greeted the parade at the Forum and awarded a prize to the scariest fancy dress costume.
The giant pumpkins, weighing a whopping 600kg each, had been professionally carved at the Forum earlier in the week.
Contestants, young and old, also brought their own carved pumpkins to the castle to enter Norwich’s first pumpkin carving competition.
Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council and cabinet member for culture and sport, said: “This is an amazing new event for the whole city to enjoy and one that adds even more to the ever-growing rich culture of Norwich.”
The event was run in partnership between Norwich City Council, the Forum and Norwich Castle, with the help of grant funding made available by The Geoffrey Watling Charity, and Almary Green’s sponsorship of the giant pumpkins.