Renfrewshire Council

Paisley hosts 'spooktacular' Halloween Festival

Witches - Halloween Festival

'Totally wicked' - that is the verdict from eight-year old Lily Blake on Paisley's forthcoming Halloween Festival and annual celebration of the spooky and macabre.

Lily is one of over 700 children and young people who are transforming the streets of Paisley into a spectacular illuminated ghoulish wonderland with flying witches, giant pumpkins, breath-taking aerial displays and mardi gras-style parade on Saturday October 27.

Halloween 2018 preview

Having listed as a top UK festival in 2016 and 2017, Paisley's Halloween is back with 'Something Wicked this Way Comes' and is set to thrill and chill visitors from all over Scotland. The hugely popular event will be set against a backdrop of the town's historic steeples and spires and rooted in the town's history of 17th century witch trials.

The festival, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland's Events Directorate, has been significantly enhanced for the themed year with a full town centre takeover.

Young people are at the heart of the Festival's development and a 20-strong Youth Panel has been working alongside Renfrewshire Council's Events Team to design and deliver the festival programme. In addition, 180 young people will take part in a new creative learning programme with the opportunity to participate in all aspects of festival delivery from performance to live event management and technical production.

Halloween 2018 preview - trapeze

Kate McBurnie, 15, Youth Panel spokesperson, said: "It has been a great experience to be part of the festival and there are so many creative ways to get involved. I really love music and wanted to work on the soundscapes element of the lighting installations. The Parade has thrown up a lot of opportunities and we have been totally hands-on when the creative companies have asked for ideas. We are getting involved in everything from the technical side and working with aerial artists to creating large props and helping with special effects. I am really looking forward to seeing how everything will work together".

The parade will set off from Paisley's Art Centre at 6pm, featuring 500 young people and performers in costume, and will make its way through the town passing lighting installations and haunting soundscapes along the way. Spectacular aerial performances will take place throughout the evening with a cast of witches suspended from Paisley Town Hall.

Noel Bridgeman of Bridgeman Arts has designed and constructed four enormous floats with Renfrewshire's young people - a giant animatronic 'Witch and Cauldron', a 'Day of the Dead' funeral scene, an illuminated 'Witch and Mushroom Patch' and interactive 'Pumpkin Patch Man' which will all be revealed in The Parade, the centre piece of the festival programme.

He said: "It is fantastic that this year's Halloween Festival is being designed and delivered with so much creative input from local young people. Their talents and skills will shine through, making this the best Halloween event to date. It's brilliant."

Halloween 2018 - acrobats

Scotland's leading aerial dance theatre company, All or Nothing, has choreographed a piece involving 50 young people for a Flying Witches performance around Paisley Town Hall and Abbey. 

The centre of Paisley will be transformed using creative lighting, sound and flame effects.

Other weekend highlights include top-class performers Spark LED drummers, Beltane Fire Society and Mr Wilson's Second Liners on the live stage. As well as big screens around the town centre, a main stage showcasing amazing acts, funfair, and cinema screening of horror films will add to the packed programme. Workshops, pumpkin carving, family-friendly activities and costume balls for all ages complete the line-up.

For more information on the festival, please go to


Article published October 2018