FAMILIES flocked to the first weekend of Clacton Pier’s popular Halloween Festival which got off to a truly scary start.

The spooktacular event runs for nine days and includes a host of fun and activities for all ages to enjoy.

The forecourt of the pier is alive with Misery Mansion haunted house walk-through attraction, a large pumpkin patch, and regular performances by the freaky Stiles family.

Ghoulish food is on offer from a swing grill and marshmallows roasted over fire pits.

Gellyball Blast, a totally new attraction for those aged nine and above, takes place in a specially-created arena in the Jolly Roger Theatre.

A cross between laser tag and paintball, all the action is in a huge inflatable battle ground arena with special effects lighting.

Players are kitted out with guns firing gel balls, helmets and chest pads with an electronic scoreboard announcing the winning team.

Pier director Billy Ball said he is expecting a busy festival.

“The weather was good on Sunday and families flocked down to enjoy the Halloween celebrations,” he added. “Unfortunately, it rained most of Saturday but we are now able to counter that with the vast array of inside attractions we offer.

“We are confident of pulling in the crowds over this half term.”

There is a special fang-tastic all-in deal of £27.99 or £13.99 for annual rides pass holders.

To book go to clactonpier.co.uk/book-online.

The pier operates all year round with The Lanes tenpin bowling, a family arcade, and its new £4 million development.

The project has made the pier a 52-week a year attraction to rival any in East Anglia and it was named Pier of the Year in 2020.

Three new rides, including a big wheel and Looping Star roller coaster, were added in 2021 to celebrate the pier’s 150th birthday.

This year, the pier created Jurassic Pier, a dino safari attraction with 4D cinema.