SOUTHEND’s Halloween Parade is set to be ‘massive economic boost’ and will go a long way to replacing the cancelled August Carnival, a prominent business women has said.

On Saturday the seafront will play host to Southend’s first ever Halloween Parade and one trader who helped organise the event hopes it will boost the economy and become a permanent fixture in the town’s calendar.

The parade, which is set to feature more than 700 participants, is organised by Southend Community Events in collaboration with Southend Council and Southend Tourism Partnership.

Jacqui Dallimore, managing director of Roslin Beach Hotel and chair of Southend Tourism Partnership, says she expects people from across the county to flock to the seafront for the event this weekend.

“This will be as big a hit for traders as the cancelled August Carnival Procession,” she said.

“The parade is going to be absolutely massive. I hope, and I do believe, we will see people flock to Southend in their hundreds and thousands, both locals and people from around Essex because it is the only Halloween parade that is taking place.

“It 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.”

Southend’s August Carnival procession was cancelled for the second year running due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown earlier this year had suggested large events would be possible from June, but carnival organisers backed out amid uncertainty it could go ahead.

“A yearly event will help us, all the seafront traders, prolong the season and boost the local economy,” Jacqui continued.

“I would hope to think that people will come down early, have something to eat, either before or in-between the parade and the fireworks.

“In what has been a fairly miserable October due to the bad weather, it will be a massive boost. Hopefully it stays dry on Saturday and everyone has a good time.”

Ashley Oglina-Beecham, Southend BID Manager, is also expecting the parade to provide a boost to the local econmy.

She said: "This time of year is always filled with festivities, making it a particularly busy period throughout the town. With lots of Halloween and Christmas celebrations drawing visitors to Southend, higher footfall will benefit the entire community.

"We can’t wait to see residents and visitors alike enjoy all that’s on offer this season; there are events for the entire family being held until the end of the year so we’re confident Southend will become an unmissable autumn and winter destination."