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A Halloween Parade Queen resides over her court during a parade in the 1940s.
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Alton officials serve as the “cleanup” crew behind the Clydesdales during the 75th annual Alton Halloween Parade in 1991. (From left) Don Miller, Mike Salas and Don Huber.
ALTON — What’s Halloween without a few surprises?
That’s the thinking of Alton Halloween Parade Committee member Sue McCoy. The East End Improvement Association is again sponsoring this year’s parade, and for its 100th year, the association has big plans, McCoy said.
Some of the changes are even being kept secret until the Oct. 31 event.
“This year is going to be the best,” she said. “The response that we have had from past participants has been outstanding. We have so many new bands and floats this year from participants that have never participated, which is so exciting. The East End foundation that puts this parade on every year is even building a float to have all the past parade marshals honored.”
The parade will consist of more than 80 units, including approximately 30 floats, 20 emergency vehicles, 7-10 marching bands, including the Alton High Marching 100, Middle School Band and the John Ford Highlander Bagpipe Band; two jazz bands on trucks; marchers in costume; dignitaries and other attractions.
New this year is a Most Creative award to encourage businesses along the route to decorate for the parade. Business owners are encouraged to decorate the outside of their building or choose a window to decorate to get into the spooky spirit.
Alton High School graphic communications teacher Lexa Browning’s commercial art class designed posters promoting the parade. Posters from past years will be displayed at the Old Bakery Beer Company in the weeks leading up to the parade as well.
The East End Improvement Association initiated the Alton Halloween Parade in 1916 in conjunction with the annual Halloween Ball at Turner Hall on Ridge Street. The parade, which McCoy said is one of Alton’s “proudest and longest-standing traditions,” annually draws thousands of spectators.
The parade assembles on East Broadway between Washington Avenue and Main Street and travels west to Piasa. The parade turns north on Piasa and travels to Ninth, where the procession disbands.
For more information or to sign up to participate, contact McCoy, Mary Bohart or Don Huber at the Alton Township Supervisor’s Office at (618) 462-7527.