Ghosts, pirates swarm Main Street
Published: Monday, October 31, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 04:11
Ghosts, pirates and princesses flooded Main Street on Sunday afternoon during the 64th annual Halloween Parade.
Sporting a Batman costume, 6-year-old Alex Andross excitedly waited for the parade alongside his aunt, Nikoletta Klezaras.
"This is my first year here and it's great for the kids to have fun with," Klezaras said. "The kids dress up. I just walked by a little girl as Princess Leia, and it was such a cute costume idea."
Joe Spadafino, assistant parks and recreation director for the city, said the parade is a Newark tradition and a valuable chance for the community to come together as a whole.
"Every year we have over a hundred groups signed up for the parade. Different groups have different costumes and ideas," Spadafino said. "The high school bands also play different songs every year and the floats change from year to year so you always get something new."
A parks and recreation representative estimated that 10,000 people watched this year's parade and 1,500 participated in it.
Newark resident Carol Shreiber, 57, a parade regular, watched from the front of the new university bookstore. Shreiber has attended the parade for the past 30 years, with her mother while she was growing up in Newark and now with her children and grandchildren.
"It's a great family tradition and is fun to watch," Shreiber said.
Dressed as characters from Shrek, Newark residents James, Tracy and P.J. Holden posed for pictures with children in front of Newark Deli and Bagel. James, 47, dressed as Shrek, while his wife Tracy, 47, posed as Fiona. Dressed as the character Puss in Boots, six-year-old P.J. anxiously ran circles around her parents to coax them into taking her trick-or-treating.
"It's our second year participating in the parade. We come for the community. We moved to Newark last year and were surprised at how engaged it is," Tracy said. "We'll attend the parade next year as well."
James explained that the inspiration for their costumes stemmed from the couple's wedding.
"When we got married, my ring size was 14 and Tracy said, ‘Oh my god I'm marrying Shrek'," he said. "We kind of just built it from there."
City councilmen Doug Tuttle, Stu Markham and Mark Morehead attended the parade as judges for the floats' creativity and attendees' costumes.
"It's a fun event to go to every year. It's family-oriented and it's a great event for people to just let loose. All the kids get to be their favorite characters with their costumes," Markham said. "The groups have different themes which is neat and a lot of fun to watch."
Other attendees included Mayor Vance A. Funk III dressed as a colonel and Delaware Sen. Tom Carper was clad in an Abraham Lincoln costume.
"A lot of work goes into preparation. There's the handling, the regulations and organizing the police department and public works for road closures and security throughout the parade," Spadafino said. "We want this to be a fun and safe event for everyone."
After the parade, children lined up outside different Main Street shops to trick or treat. Brian Handloff, manager of the National 5 and 10, participated in the trick or treating event, which has been held annually for more than two decades.
Along with coworkers, Handloff handed out crayons and candy to the children as they walked by the store.
"It's nice seeing all the kids excited about the parade and trick or treating," Handloff said. "It's a tradition that I hope continues from year to year."
Sophomore Kristen Bennett stopped by the parade after leaving IHOP Sunday afternoon. This was her first year attending the event after only catching glimpses of it last year.
"My favorite part about the parade is definitely the little kids," Bennett said. "We saw a little girl waddling in a duck costume and it was the cutest thing."