On Saturday we decided to head to downtown Anoka to view the nation's second largest Halloween parade. We've been to the Anoka Halloween Parade in the past and knew the kids would have a great time listening to the marching bands, collecting candy, seeing the crazy costumes, and watching elaborate themed floats pass by.
Since the parade is quite popular, Ben went to reserve a spot for us along the parade route with lawn chairs early in the morning. The parade doesn't start until 1:00 pm, but prime viewing spots are always taken by 9am. It's kind of crazy!
After a quick lunch at McD's, we still arrived to our spots pretty early. So, after a quick snack of mini donuts, we decided to head up the street and check out the local kids' Halloween carnival before the parade officially began. All three kids had fun playing a few carnival games (complete with cheesy prizes) and making a craft. They were also thrilled to receive a free Mickey Mouse Halloween Trick-or-Treat bag...which also came in handy to collect all the candy thrown at them during the parade.
Finally, we headed back to our seats and settled in to wait for the parade to begin.
I remembered the parade lasting a long time, but I think this is the first year we actually stayed for the entire TWO HOUR duration. It began with runners finishing a 5k along the parade route, many dressed in costumes, and ended with what seemed like the entire Anoka County Fire department blaring their fire truck sirens.
I was really happy to discover that this year there weren't many gory-themed floats at all. Most were incredibly family-friendly and non-scary. Yay! I didn't really get any pictures of the actual parade...mostly because we were trying to encourage the kids to dive for the candy (they were a little hesitant at first to run out into the street to get the candy!). I did, however, manage to snag these pictures of the real Ghostbusters' transportation:
We all had a great time even though it did get a little chilly toward the end (I think the high on Saturday was 40-42 degrees). Next year, we'll definitely bring more blankets and maybe even some foot warmers!