The Anaheim Halloween Parade: A Grand Community Tradition

Posted

October 26, 2017

The very first Anaheim Halloween Parade (and festival), created by the Chamber of Commerce, took place on October 31, 1924 with baseball legends Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson leading the way, promoting a game they would be playing later that day for charity, in nearby Brea.  

Begun as a device for discouraging Anaheim youngsters from mischievous Halloween pranks, the Festival and Parade were instantly successful and continued to grow in size and scope with each passing year. In the mid-1950s, the Los Angeles Times heralded it as the “biggest Halloween party in the nation,” with nearly 150,000 spectators lining the parade route during the height of its popularity. By the late 1960s, the parade was being televised live each year throughout Los Angeles and Orange County on KTLA. It kept growing in to the 1970s but over time, as the area underwent major urban transformation, interest in the parade started to wane.

Finally, in 2012, the Anaheim Halloween Parade was brought back to life in part due to the passion of former Disney art directors, Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily. Kidney and Daily's credits include Disney's "Fantasmic" and many of the attractions and parades that have taken place over the last 30 years, so they knew what they were doing. Coordinating with local businesses, community members, and Disney, the Anaheim Halloween parade, when re-launched in 2012, was welcomed by tens of thousands of people. 

Keeping true to the integrity and history of the parade, Kidney and Daily have already reproduced floats from decades past such as the 1953 "Flying Sasser" and the 1951 "Rocket Witch."  Their attention to detail coupled with their technical expertise has allowed the duo to reimagine the parade in the most magical way and this year promises to be no different.

The Anaheim Halloween Parade in the 21st century is designed to do what it has always done: blend old-fashioned charm and small-town magic. The accompanying Anaheim Fall Festival focuses on Halloween celebrations by including pumpkin patches and Mariachis, costume contests for kids and pet promenades, old-time carnival games and delicious snack food, live music, storytelling and local artisans. It’s a FREE, family friendly celebration and admission and after the festival closes for the day, the annual Halloween parade will commence.