MINOOKA — The ghosts and goblins, princesses and fairies came in droves to watch the fourth annual Halloween parade through downtown Minooka on Saturday afternoon.
Parents set up folding chairs and kids stood in groups along Wabena Avenue, from the grade school on Cody Drive all the way to the high school and village hall at McEvilly Road. They were not only waiting to see the costumed parade participants, but get their first fill of Halloween candy.
The parade kicked off with Minooka police cars and fire engines in the lead. Sirens blared and lights flashed. Costumed children craned their necks to get a glimpse of the start of the parade, while music from The Munsters’ TV show played on the loudspeaker.
“This is a big parade,” exclaimed young Justin Phillips, as he stood waiting to collect his treats.
As the first float carrying Minooka Village President Pat Brennan and Trustee Barry Thompson passed by, Laurie Musclow, Parks and Recreation, announced the participants.
“Don’t be afraid to ask them where their candy is,” she encouraged the kids.
The parade had 24 different entries with 350 plus people, Musclow said.
Civic organizations, like the Boy Scouts and Lions Club, marched. Local businesses, like Feehan’s Automotive, which pulled a kid-size pink Barbie jeep swinging from a hoist, and Mrs. MariEllen’s Preschool with 80 adults and children all dressed for a luau, participated.
The Marine Corps’ Echo Company, 4th Reconnaissance, from Joliet drove in an armored tank, and even the Minooka Community High School Marching Indians and color guard were able to march and play this year.
And then there were Minooka's neighbors, marching in their costumes and having a great time.
“The streets are loaded with people,” Musclow said. “It’s so much fun for the kids and that’s what it’s all about.”
As the floats passed, the participants tossed candy into the crowd.
Justin’s parents, Lisa and Josh Phillips, live just a few doors down along the parade route, and they come every year, they said. Along with their son, they brought along his buddy, Jack Krall.
Each boy had a bucket full of candy, although Jack claimed to have gotten the best haul of the day.
“Mine is full, I got tons of lollipops,” Jack said.
The annual parade is like trick-or-treating coming right to the kids, Lisa Phillips said.
“This is better than trick-or-treating,” she said. “Plus it’s fun.”
Once the parade reached the high school, the crowds began to disburse. Children munched on their treats as they walked to their cars
It was a good haul for a Saturday afternoon and Halloween hadn’t even arrived.