A Halloween tradition resumes
A year after Superstorm Sandy, parade returns to Newark
Published: Monday, October 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 28, 2013 22:10
Marching bands, floats, antique automobiles and costumed characters trumpeted down Main Street this Sunday at Newark’s annual Halloween Parade, directly followed by Trick-or-Treat Main Street.
Judy Garfield, a Newark resident, says her children were jumping around the house all day waiting for the event. This would be the first year since moving to Delaware they had attended the parade, she says.
“They loved the idea of dressing up and going out to see all the costumes,” Garfield says. “They were especially excited about being able to trick-or-treat twice this year, once today and then again on Thursday.”
The event was canceled last year due to Hurricane Sandy preparations and evacuations. This year’s Halloween Parade and Trick-Or-Treat Main Street is the 66th annual event, according to the city of Newark’s website.
Floats were judged on their Halloween theme, and monetary prizes were awarded to first, second and third place floats. Large and small family marching groups also received prizes based on their costume theme. After the parade ended, businesses re-opened their doors and offered candy and other goodies for children to trick-or-treat, according to downtown Newark’s website.
Many parade-goers came in costume, and princesses, superheroes, skeletons, sports players, animals and clowns lined the parade route.
Garfield says her daughter picked out her Cinderella costume and her son chose his ninja costume weeks ago.
“Because they dress up, I have to too,” she says.
Marching band students from local high schools, such as Newark High School, wore matching Halloween costumes and performed songs such as “Thriller” and “Moves Like Jagger.” One band, the Mass Deconstruction Marching Unit, performed a hip-hop dance number to the sound of the instruments.
Costumed members of dance academies, scouting troops and baseball teams walked Main Street with their banners. Dance numbers were performed in unison and candy was given to children at the curb as their marches progressed.
Individuals running for political office in Newark rode in or walked alongside decorated cars. Miss Wilmington 2013 and Miss Newark 2013 rode atop the back of convertibles, and WDEL’s Traffic Watch hybrid truck drove in the procession.
Floats, such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Cinema 3 in Newark and Bobbie Ann’s Dance Academy, were also included in the parade.
Young children in candy costumes waved to the audience from the dance academy’s float.
Dan Bystricky, a Newark police officer, says he’s worked the event in previous years. This year, Bystricky says at least a couple thousand people showed up. Bystricky says what he likes most about the parade is that it brings parents and children together.
“Families are coming out and having a good time in a fun and safe environment,” Bystricky says. “It’s really everyone from toddlers to teens spending time together.”
When the parade ended, tailed by the university’s marching band, the Trick-or-Treat Main Street event began. Employees and owners from Grassroots, National 5 & 10, Starbucks, Melt Down, Bloom, Cheeburger Cheeburger, Walgreens and several other businesses stood outside their doors offering candy to children. Lines of children and parents formed and crowded the sidewalks. Caffé Gelato gave away samples of their homemade gelato, attracting a large crowd.
Craig Richards, a Wilmington resident, says he and his wife Mary have been going to the parade with their grandchildren for the past five years.
“It’s an event for all ages, because what’s especially fun is looking at all the costumes,” Richards says. “It’s amazing what people come up with every year.”
Mary Richards says another part of the event she looks forward to each year is watching the marching bands perform for the whole community.
“I agree,” Craig Richards says. “That’s what this whole event is about—the community.”