Renfrewshire Council

Paisley Halloween promo image 2022

Paisley Halloween Festival back as spectacular programme revealed

Paisley's much-loved Halloween Festival will return this October with a spectacular programme, including the return of live performances for the first time in three years.

Tens of thousands are expected to attend the free-to-attend event, which will bring Paisley town centre alive with three evenings of spooky installations and spellbinding street performers, against the spectacular backdrop of the town's Abbey and town hall. 

This year's event is themed 'heroes, myths and legends' and is being delivered by Renfrewshire Council in partnership with internationally-recognised circus performance specialists Cirque Bijou, as part of Scotland's Year of Stories 2022, and supported by EventScotland's National Events Programme. 

The festival is recognised as one of the biggest and best of its kind in the UK, and is the highlight of the successful year-round major events programme which brings huge numbers of visitors to Renfrewshire each year. 

It will be on Thursday 27 to Saturday 29 October between 6 and 9pm each night around Abbey Close, Bridge Street, Gauze Street and Paisley Cross.

What's happening at the event

Attendees can look forward to: 

  • unique and specially-created attractions including a giant dramatic interactive walk-through fire garden, a fire-breathing dragon, and eerie illuminated digital face puppets wandering the streets; 
  • a spectacular superhero rooftop battle and gravity-defying performance from Scotland's leading aerial dance company All or Nothing, and mobile dance performance with a troupe of local dancers led by award-winning visual theatre-makers Megahertz; 
  • live performances from festival favourites including the illuminated Spark! LED drummers and the spectacular flame-throwing PyroCeltica; 
  • a spooky sprawling spider's lair featuring giant Arachnobot spider, inspired by the legendary story of 'try, try again' and Robert the Bruce, whose grandson - King Robert II of Scotland - was born in Paisley Abbey; 
  • a large-scale installation created by local young people to celebrate their everyday heroes; 
  • spoken-word pieces created by local young people, working with Renfrewshire's Tannahill Makar Shaun Moore and poet Imogen Stirling, and projected on to a giant video wall; 

It will also include food and drink stalls, performances from Renfrewshire's RockUs choir, and superhero meet-and-greet and children's art workshops in the Art Department on Causeyside Street. More info can be found at www.paisley.is 

This year's event reintroduces live performance for the first time since 2019, with last year's event having been based around a series of installations. 

The event is supported by Future Paisley - the ambitious council-led programme which is using the town's unique cultural and heritage story to transform its future. 

Local groups who will be involved include: ArtBoss, Kibble, 33rd Gleniffer Scouts, Disability Resource Centre, Spinners Gate, Create Paisley, PACE, Right2Dance, Jen Scott Dance, Starlight Music and Theatre and Community Circus Paisley, as well as several local primary and secondary schools from throughout Renfrewshire. 

What's been said about it?

Louisa Mahon, Renfrewshire Council's head of marketing, communications and events said: "We are thrilled to today announce the programme for the Paisley Halloween Festival, which has become a frequent feature on Scottish and UK lists of must-see Halloween events. 

"It's free to attend and offers something for all the family - so we look forward to welcoming tens of thousands of visitors over the three evenings, which will boost local traders, who we will be working with to help promote everything the town has to offer. 

"The programme includes fresh takes on the unique large-scale installations which were so popular last year, but - for the first time since before the pandemic - reintroduces the live performance element for which the festival had become known in previous years. 

"A really important part of the festival is in providing a stage to showcase the considerable talents of our local creative community - who will spend the next two months working with and being inspired by some of the best artists and performers in Scotland. 

"That supports the wider work we are doing through Future Paisley to help embed the benefits of being involved in culture and the arts across everything we do." 

Julian Bracey, artistic director of Cirque Bijou said: "We are delighted to once again be working on Paisley Halloween Festival, which is a unique and exciting event regarded as one of the best of its kind in the UK. 

"Paisley town centre's historic architecture is a fantastic canvas on which we've been able to create a dramatic visual spectacle, which will be brought to life by some hugely-talented performers. This is an event not to be missed and we can't wait for people to see it." 

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: "EventScotland is delighted to be supporting the Paisley Halloween Festival through our National Events Programme in celebration of Year of Stories 2022. 

"This free event will bring economic and social benefits to the local community, as well as provide a platform for community groups, local and international artists to exhibit unique performances and installations. Events such as the Paisley Halloween Festival reaffirm Scotland's position as the perfect stage for events." 

Article added: Wednesday 24 August 2022