SOUTHEND will host its first ever Halloween parade next weekend The event will feature street theatre drummers, dancing, a lights display, giant puppets and a procession on the seafront.

The evening will be brought to an end with a spectacular fireworks display organised by Southend BID.

Businesses and community groups will be taking part in the procession, which will feature a mix of vehicle floats and pedestrians.

The parade has replaced this year’s August Carnival Procession which had to be cancelled for a second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Southend Council’s culture and tourism boss Carole Mulroney said: “We are expecting the Southend Halloween Parade to be a huge boost to Southend and our local economy which has really suffered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are aiming to attract visitors from far and wide to jump on the train and arrive early to enjoy everything Southend has to offer before experiencing an amazing Halloween Parade in the evening culminating with a spectacular firework display.

“Being the first event of its kind in Southend, we expect it to be an amazing and colourful spectacle for all the family and will firmly put Southend on the map as a top destination.”

The parade will set up and leave at 5pm on Saturdayy from the Gas Works Car Park on Eastern Esplanade and head along Marine Parade, Western Esplanade before dispersing between Shorefield Road and Grosvenor Road.

The parade will see several roads closed prior to the processions including: • Southchurch Ave (south of Woodgrange Drive) from 4pm • Eastern Esplanade (from Gasworks to Kursaal) from 4pm • Marine Parade from 4pm • Western Esplanade (from pier to Shorefield Rd) from 4pm Southend Tourism Partnership and Southend Community Events are also helping to organise the event.

Jacqui Dallimore, chair of the tourism partnership, add: “We are delighted to be supporting the Halloween Parade which will be a fabulous event for residents and visitors.

“The parade will help boost the town’s economy after what has been a difficult 18 months due to the pandemic and we hope it will become a recurring annual event to help extend the tourism season.”