Catch candy at a Metro East parade (Oct. 31)

October 28, 2008

I love the idea of parades on Halloween night — it gets back a little to the old origins of the holiday, when farming communities would light bonfires and noisily try to scare away crop-destroying spirits, and later Christian Day of the Dead celebrations, which likewise involved bonfires, but also costumes of angels, saints and devils. If you’re determined not to stay home this Halloween, check out one of the Metro East parades: Friday night (Oct. 31) at 7:30 p.m. in Alton, one of American’s most haunted cities, or at 6:30 p.m. in Edwardsville.

The 92nd annual Alton parade involves more than 80 floats, bands and entrants along a route that goes from Washington Avenue at East Broadway, west along Market, ending between Sixth and Ninth streets. If you want to take part in the costume contest, be at the starting point by 6 p.m. For details, call 618.462.7527. I’m hoping for a good turnout for Alton’s sake — what with the floods and the many community events that have had to be canceled this year, the town could use a big, happy crowd to drive away evil spirits.

The Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce sponsors a parade with the theme “It’s a Small World” from Lincoln Middle School to West, to Vandalia and finally to Main Street, ending at the police station. Organizers expect more than 130 floats and a crowd of some 20,000 spectators at the parade, which, like Alton’s, is around 90 years old. For details, call 618.656.7600.


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