Mackem monsters return to Sunderland: Giant inflatable monsters to take over city buildings for huge Halloween celebration

The giant inflatable monsters who’ve spooked visitors to the city centre in previous years are returning for a big Halloween celebration.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 2:01 pm
One of last year's monsters on the New Look building

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 October 22 to 31.

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

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Halloween inflatables at The Bridges, Sunderland City Centre.

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.

Halloween inflatables at St Marys, Sunderland City Centre.

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.”

Anyone wanting to find out more on how to get involved should visit

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