Edit ModuleShow Tags

Anoka Earns Title as 'Halloween Capital of the World'


Published:

I don’t know that most people are aware of the fact that one of our little cities in the northern ‘burbs is kind of a big deal when it comes to Halloween. I’m talking about Anoka and their claim to fame as “The Halloween Capital of the World.”

Yes, Anoka, and yes, Halloween Capital of the WORLD.

I wondered if this was a marketing ploy, but after doing a little research (the first parade was organized back in 1920 as a way to “divert its youngsters from Halloween pranks”) and attending the annual Grand Day Parade last year, I can vouch that the parade alone is worthy of the title. It became pretty apparent pretty quickly that this town really knows how to celebrate Halloween.  

It was cold last year—like winter jackets, hats, and gloves kind of cold—and yet thousands of spectators lined the streets and festive parade participants walked, ran, and rolled down the 1.5-mile route. I think the parade lasted more than two hours. (Seriously!) Whereas some parades seem downright pathetic in their parade-ness (blink and you miss it), this one has to actually turn parade applicants away. More than 200 floats, bands, and dignitaries participate.

Every year there’s a theme (it’s pumpkins this year), and no gore, blood, or violence is allowed, playing into their mission to be “kid-friendly.” (For what it's worth, no political campaigning is allowed, either, unlike many popular parades.) If you want to participate, you actually have to put some effort into your parade entry—you can’t just drive a plain ol’ car or truck down the street in the hopes of generating some advertising. The more creative and Halloween-ish the entries are, the better. (Just, you know, not scary Halloween-ish.)

My family had so much fun last year, we're going this year, too.

• The Grand Day Parade begins at 1 p.m. this Saturday, October 25. The entire parade route can be found here.

• Parking is a bit of a nightmare (pun intended!), so arrive early or prepare to walk many blocks. Parade organizers estimate 40,000 people turn out every year. (Fun fact: That’s more than double the population of Anoka!)

• In addition to the Grand Day Parade, there’s a whole slew of events planned in Anoka throughout the month of October. The more popular ones include the Light Up the Night Parade (complete with a bonfire) that was held October 18 this year, the Big Parade for Little People—with more than 3,000 costumed Anoka schoolkids marching down Main Street, scheduled to begin at 1:15 on Friday, October 24, and the Gray Ghost 5K Run prior to the start of the parade October 25. Serum’s in downtown Anoka will host a block party on both October 24 and 25 with live music and a costume contest, and then the Anoka American Legion will join in the fun on Halloween with a “Monster Mash” from 8 p.m. to midnight, complete with a DJ and hors d’oeuvres, dancing, and a costume contest.

• Being the “Halloween Capital of the World” is such a big deal, Anoka has their very own dedicated website (not just some little tab on another website). For more information, visit anokahalloween.com and get into the spirit of this fun holiday!

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Memorial Day Activities in the Twin Cities

From historical reenactments to a hip-hop music festival, there's something for everyone this Memorial Day weekend in the Twin Cities.

A Day Trip to Red Wing

Located right on the Mississippi River, Red Wing offers a historic downtown district and spectacular views

It's Farmers Market Season

No matter where you live in Minnesota, fresh produce, flowers and homemade goodies await

Origami in the Garden

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's latest exhibit puts the art of folding paper on full display with a garden and metal twist

New Ways to Explore 3 Classic MN Destinations

From Fort Snelling to the North Shore, check out this summer's technological updates to historic and wild Minnesota places

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: May

This month, Sue Z. recommends supporting local student chefs with a dinner at Saint Dinette

What to Wear + Where to Go: Music Festivals

Your style guide for Minnesota music festivals

Mesabi Trail Offers New Views in Northern Minnesota

The Mesabi Trail, a 120-mile paved cycling and hiking trail that spans the Mesabi Iron Range, recently opened a new connection in Virginia, MN that crosses the state's tallest bridge and offers amazing views of former minelands.

Glensheen Mansion Bonfire Nights

Enjoy this summer tradition from one of the most iconic estates in the state

Twin Cities Festival Spring Babies

If April showers bring May flowers, spring babies bring fun for the whole family

Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

Catch the Lyrids Meteor Shower

The meteor shower peaks April 21 and 22, just in time for Earth Day

A Day Trip to Excelsior

Just 20 miles west of the Twin Cities, this waterfront town is complete with charming shops and lakeside dining

Night Art Gallery Is Your Sober Night Out

The Lindstrom art gallery entertains with hors d'oeuvres, tons of art available for purchase, and non-alcholic drinks
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags