Havre de Grace, Maryland, is a small town with a big history. Famous visitors to this town, located between Baltimore and Philadelphia, include Captain John Smith, George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette, who is credited with giving the town its name. Now home to more than 12,000 residents, one of Havre de Grace's most anticipated traditions is the annual outdoor Halloween parade through the center of town.
The outdoor parade has been taking place since 1985 on October 30. Prior to that, it was held indoors at the Havre de Grace high school auditorium and was held on Halloween. Realizing that many people didn't want to leave their homes unattended on Halloween, and that people wanted to see adult costumes as well as children's, the parade was moved to October 30 and was moved to the streets.
Every year, hundreds of people participate in the parade, dressed in costume. Additionally, more than 500 people come each year to line the streets and cheer for their favorite costume among the revelers. Usually, there are three times as many children as adults in the parade.
Anyone can participate in the parade, either as a spectator or a participant. If you want to go to Havre de Grace and enter, spectate or dance in the street, the town will welcome you. Registration for the parade begins at 6 p.m. at the corner of Washington Street and Congress Avenue, with the parade of costumes beginning promptly at 6:30. Those interested can call 410-939-6724 for more information.
The parade is a friendly competition, with 14 prizes handed out, as well as one grand prize. Every child in a costume receives a prize, mostly candy or gift certificates from local merchants. Some of the most memorable costumes are the generational entries with all members of a family coming as a themed unit, including grandparents.
The Halloween parade's tone is set by the DJ, who provides popular music for all age groups. There are no floats or marching bands -- just people in costume showing off their creativity. There is a live musical performance while the judges deliberate, and the DJ plays songs that people can line dance to. Judges typically are local people who enjoy participating in this much-anticipated event, which is hosted by the Havre de Grace Recreation Committee.
- Havre de Grace Tourism: Calendar
- Havre de Grace: The Meeting Place: A Brief History of Havre de Grace
- Hartford County Maryland: Parks & Rec Programs: Halloween
- Brigette Peters, Office of Marketing & Tourism, City of Havre de Grace
- Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images