According to Country Living Magazine, Anoka is the 2nd Spookiest Town in America
Known as the “Halloween capital of the world,” this lively community has made it it mission to provide everyone in town with fun ways to celebrate the holiday since the 1920s. Special events were originally planned to prevent teens from stirring up trouble in the neighborhood, but nowadays, troves of volunteers organize scarecrow contests, balls and parties, scavenger hunts, runs, bonfires, and parades galore.
Who Tops Anoka for the #1 Spookiest Town in America?
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The spookiest town in America has the most INSANE Halloween celebration. 😱👻 http://ctrylv.co/VnI9HD8
Posted by Country Living Magazine on Saturday, September 16, 2017
Anoka has done a lot to earn the title of 2nd Spookiest Town in America
As found on the website of Anoka Halloween, a local non-profit organization:
ANOKA HALLOWEEN HISTORY
Anoka, Minnesota is believed to be the first city in the United States to put on a Halloween celebration to divert its youngsters from Halloween pranks. When Anokans awoke to find their cows roaming Main Street, their windows soaped and their outhouses tipped over, they decided something had to be done.
In 1920, George Green and other Anoka civic leaders suggested the idea of a giant celebration. The idea was adopted by the Anoka Commercial Club and the Anoka Kiwanis Club; both giving their full support. In September of that year, a Halloween committee was organized.
Working hand in hand were businessmen, teachers from the Anoka public and parochial schools, parents, and students..For weeks before the big event, more than a thousand Anoka school children made plans and costumes for the big event.
TAKING IT DOWN MAIN STREET
A parade was scheduled for the evening. Participants included local and neighboring bands, drum corps, the Anoka police and fire departments, the Kiwanis club, the Commercial Club, and the Anoka National Guard; all working together to make the evening a success. Afterward, hundreds of bags of popcorn, candy, peanuts and other treats were given away to the children who marched in the parade. And, everyone was invited to a large bonfire that was staged at Bridge Square. Celebrations have been held every year since 1920 with the exception of 1942 and 1943 when the festivities were cancelled because of World War II.
TAKING IT TO THE CAPITAL
By the 1930s, the festivities had expanded as had the attendance at the parades. There were over 2,000 costumed children marching down Main Street. It was estimated that 20,000 spectators lined the streets to watch this night-time spectacle. In 1937, 12-year-old, Harold Blair, donning a sweater embellished with a Halloween Capital insignia, carried with him to Washington, D.C. a proclamation naming Anoka the Halloween Capital of the World.
Anoka has always worked to keep a family spirit alive in its Halloween festivities. Activities have included pillow fights, a kangaroo court, fireworks displays, royalty coronations, concerts, dances, window painting contests, house decorating contests, celebrity appearances, costume contests, style shows, story-telling, races and, in the 1960s, a snake dance that took long lines of participants in and out of area businesses and homes.
THE TRADITION LIVES ON
Anoka’s Halloween celebration continues to be world class. Participation in the night parade and Grand Day parade has grown to include units from all over the midwest. The original concept of having costumed students parade down Main Street continues on as well on the Friday preceding the Grand Day parade. Anoka residents can watch their grandchildren or great grandchildren continue the tradition they started so many years ago.
Do you have more reasons why Anoka is the 2nd Spookiest Town in America? Do you know more about Anoka’s history? We’d love it if you share with us and we’ll get the information to the right sources. Please CONTACT the ANOKA DIRECTORY with your info.