A bunch of specially created virtual reality monsters will take Halloween in Sunderland to a whole new dimension.
The creations will come to life when visitors scan a QR code on buildings around the city centre, in a similar way to the Pokemon GO sensation of a few years ago.
But now the race is on to find the final piece of funding to ensure that the augmented reality Monster Trail becomes a scary success.
The experience – which will run from 23 October to 1 November – is the brainwave by Sunderland BID and supported by Sunderland City Council, which is helping to fund the giant inflatables which will also form part of the trail.
The BID has appointed AR experts, Skipton-based Peel Interactive, to produce the virtual aspects of the trail, which have previously worked on highly successful projects for a diverse range of clients including Alnwick Gardens, The Parliamentary Education Centre and Fred Olsen Cruises.
The monster trail can be downloaded via a bespoke app on to any smartphone, which will they guide people to the various locations where they can see the inflatables or see the virtual animated monsters.
The BID recently launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise money for the AR part of the trail – which will mean anyone who scans and finds the virtual monsters will be able to use their phone technology to see them in the own homes.
In the 10 days since the appeal was launched 69 per cent of the total has been raised, but the hope is that the remaining few thousand can be donated so that every aspect of the experience can be funded.
Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID said that people could donate as little as £2 and help to make a real difference.
“We have had some large donations which we’re very grateful for but if people gave us what amounts to the price of a cup of coffee, we can really produce something spectacular,” she said.
“This year’s Halloween experience was always going to be different because of coronavirus but we have come up with something that will still be really spectacular and can be enjoyed in a socially distanced way.
“The combination of the AR monsters and the giant inflatables which were such a hit last year will make Halloween really special.
“We hope people will spare a few pounds and help us bring something unique to the city.”
Further information on how to donate is available at www.spacehive.com/monster-trail
Jess Wright of Peel Interactive said the team was “absolutely thrilled to be working with Sunderland BID.”
The project is really exciting, and our creative team can’t wait to produce the digital/virtual monsters which form part of the city-wide trail,” she said.
“The app will enable visitors to Sunderland city centre to pose and dance with our virtual monsters and share their experiences on social media.”
The app will be available to download from 23 October.