01 September 2021


TEN DAYS of inflatable creatures, larger-than-life monsters, spooky stories and a petrifying parade are being lined up, as Sunderland’s Light Out Festival returns for the third time.

The event, which celebrates the scariest time of year, will be back with a vengeance this time round, running from 22 to 31 October.

While last year’s festival was pared down because of the restrictions caused by Covid 19, organiser Sunderland BID has promised it will be bigger and better this autumn – culminating in the Halloween Community Parade.

Six of the popular inflatable Mackem Monsters will be installed on buildings around the city centre, while the BID’s Sunderland Experience app will allow intrepid hunters to find augmented reality creatures at various sites.

And, as a reward, those who use the app will get access to a range of discounts and offers for businesses across the city.

Lights Out will culminate in a spectacular Halloween parade, created by carnival experts, Creative Seed, along with Sunderland College, the University of Sunderland and community groups.

The parade will take place on 29 October and travel through the city, ending at The Point.

Youngsters are also being encouraged to show off their creative skills by entering the Spooky Stories competition, where they have to tell a tale of terror in no more than 500 words.

There are three categories – five to nine year-olds, 10-13 and 14-18 with the closing date October 1.

Entry details and rules are available at

Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID, said the programme should offer something for everyone.

“Halloween is now one of the most popular times of year so we are delighted to have been able to bring Lights Out back for the third time and also to include the parade again,” she said.

“It was a fantastic event when we first held it and we can now organise it again, so we hope lots of community groups and organisations will get behind it and make it a really memorable event.”