Liverpool is renowned for its world class public events – from the recent Giant Spectacular to the Matthew Street Festival that occurs once a year. Not only are these events brilliant to see or be a part of, but they are also free.
One event that I haven’t witnessed before in Liverpool is the Lantern Parade that goes around Sefton Park every Halloween. This amazing parade comes with troupes of volunteers and their hand crafted lanterns in the forms of scary creatures, skulls and ghostly theming.
There was a palpable sense of community spirit to the parade, with its carnival atmosphere and driving percussion. There were floating, glowing creatures gliding through the park, projecting a sense of wonder among the spectators. The many types of lanterns in the patade were constructed by community members at workshops in places like The Black-E.
The theming seemed to follow on from the Giant Spectacular that wowed the city in April earlier this year. The little girl and her dog left an impression again after being paraded past the great, glowing monoliths to the giant stage overlooking the fire-lit lake.
I was amazed by how well the theming was produced and the great atmosphere on the night. The entire lake was ablaze with floating fires with fish-headed boatmen spinning sparklers out over the water. Performing on the old band stand next to the lake were The Baghdaddies. Their music was an eclectic mix of Mexican-sounding carnival tunes with plenty of trumpet and rhythm. Oh and they were dressed as luminescent, furry fish monsters from what I could tell!
The parade seemed to crescendo towards the giant canvas stage atop the hill overlooking the lake. The organisers had carefully laid out paths over the soggy grass leading towards the front. It’s safe to say that my boots are in a state of disrepair after getting past the main throng of people by cutting over the grass but it was worth it. The stage had beautiful projections of wonderful, coloured creatures that gyrated to the music. It seemed to be a live video feed of someone moving the figures over one of those old OHP’s I remember from school. The result was a brilliant spectacle of gangly, cartoony monsters dancing to the music. Something different for sure.
Afterward a precession of monsters and lanterns made their way from the stage down around the lake. My favourite had to be the skeleton couple adorned with sun hats that danced their way along at the back.
Adjacent to the main area were also some beautiful installations depicting dreamscapes awash with coloured light. Several of which had big iron beds and ‘windows’ that covered the scene in magnificent dreamy aura. The Dream Doctor was a benevolent looking scientist bloke that involved members of the crowd in the strange pop up play they were performing. Our good friend Jodie from Metal Gallery played the lady in red with the skeleton fingers. So well in fact that I didn’t recognise her at all!
The Lantern Parade was definitely an event I would recommend to anyone looking to enjoy their Halloween with family or friends. It was a blissful escape from the generic, commercialised sense of All Hallows Eve that Britain seems to have become accustomed to over the past decade. It offered a sense of community, spirit and well being to the spectators. I can’t speak for anyone else but I know I had goosebumps the whole night and felt alive with excitement. Events like The Lantern Parade are what make the city of Liverpool feel so special and unique amongst its peer group of world cities. It certainly felt world class and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to be thinking ‘How amazing is Liverpool?!’
The Lantern Company put on a spectacular parade that felt fun, safe and definitely memorable. It wouldn’t of been the same without all of the home made lanterns from the people of Liverpool either. Take a look on their website for more information, how to get involved and also how to donate.