Kids and parade-goers with a sweet tooth will be happy to hear Anoka Halloween has reversed its recent decision to ban candy from the Grand Day Parade.
Citing safety concerns for spectators, organizers announced last month that candy could not be thrown into the crowds along the route.
According to parade chairperson Liz McFarland, the Grand Day Parade has grown in size where it has become difficult to police the sidelines for safety, with kids scrambling for candy in danger of being hit by a vehicle or float.
Tens of thousands of people from across the region attend the Grand Day Parade, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 28 this year.
The candy ban received statewide, and national, attention.
But at home, the Anoka City Council called on Anoka Halloween to bring candy back to the Grand Day Parade, saying it was an important part of the community’s 97-year tradition.
While the city doesn’t run the Halloween festival, it does commit significant public safety and public works resources throughout the nine-day span of events.
At a recent city council meeting, Mayor Phil Rice called Anoka Halloween’s decision a “wake-up call” to the organization’s need for more help.
McFarland said Anoka Halloween is working with police and city staff to create new candy and crowd enforcement plans.
She said they are, “trying to be creative with crowd control as we do not have a lot of volunteers that have signed up to help so far.”
Anoka Halloween is looking for adults who can walk the 1.5 mile parade route at a brisk pace, are OK with inclement weather and crowds and are willing to donate five hours of their time.
Spectators can also assist.
“Anoka Halloween will do our best to keep the parade safe but we need strong community support to stay off of the street and keep children away from floats,” McFarland said.
Candy is not handed out at the Light up the Night Parade, or the Big Parade of Little People.
For more information about volunteering, email [email protected].