Fright Night: 40,000 expected in Sheffield for Europe’s biggest Halloween festival

Night-mare: The fire-breathing Pakas Horse coming to Sheffield's Fright Night.

Night-mare: The fire-breathing Pakas Horse coming to Sheffield's Fright Night.

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HERE come the ghosts and ghouls! Sheffield is gearing up for the massive annual Fright Night festival on Sunday, with up to 40,000 people expected to flock to the city centre to enjoy the country’s biggest Halloween carnival.

Organisers have promised the free event, now in its 11th year, will be the best ever, and a packed programme of spooky events is planned across the city.

A fearsome robotic horse is set to be one of the top attractions, amazing visitors by breathing fire while being steered by its zombie rider.

The creature, built from old machine parts and scrap metal, is 17 hands high and modelled on a full-size horse. It is set to take up residence in Tudor Square throughout the evening.

Always staged on the Sunday before Halloween, Fright Night is taking place from 3.30pm to 8.30pm, and roads will be closed around the city centre while revellers in fancy dress enjoy the scary extravaganza.

Funfair rides and stalls will be lining the route, while Tudor Square is also playing host to a spectacular performance organised by Sheffield University’s Professor Vanessa Toulmin and the Hype Dance academy.

The youngsters are performing a special ‘dance of death’, which will run alongside music from the Sheffield Youth Orchestra and a zombie exhibition curated by Prof Toulmin.

Audiences will also be entertained by a samba band, a Tardis and Dalek from Dr Who, a giant cycling hippo and a dancing robot called Titan. Younger children can join in the fun with the Fright Night’s Little Brother event, happening from midday until 3pm on The Moor.

Travel South Yorkshire is encouraging people to leave their cars at home and get to the event by bus, tram and train. Bus company First is also offering a special discounted ticket on the night.

Scott Barton, from Yellow Bus Events which organises Fright Night with Sheffield Council, said support from the public ‘grows year on year’.

“It does such a great job in providing a well-managed way for children and young people to celebrate Halloween,” he added.

* See Thursday’s Star for a full round-up of Fright Night activities.