Weekend fun: Anoka’s Halloween parade

Anoka’s Light Up the Night Parade

Halloween capital of the world
You can go throughout the Twin Cities and beyond to find plenty of good scares this month (Duluth’s Ship of Ghouls, anyone?). But for a light-hearted look at Halloween and the creativity it inspires, head straight to Anoka, the so-called Halloween Capital of the World for more than half a century.

At 7 p.m. this Saturday you can enjoy what’s pretty much a classic summer parade (minus marching bands), but lit up and with a ghoulish twist. You know how we’ve all seen the royalty floats from neighboring towns with their prom dresses, crowns and elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist waves? This Light Up the Night Parade has those princesses morphed into zombies, dancers from “Thriller” or something tamer, like “The Wizard of Oz.”

The vibe is fun and perfect for kids since it doesn’t last more than an hour.

Halloween costume ideas on parade
If you want to see the big event, you have to return on Saturday the 30th for the 1 p.m. Grand Day Parade. That’s almost worth it just for the hilarious costumes worn by the 5K Gray Ghost Run participants who lead the parade down Main Street. Isn’t it taxing enough to do a run without wearing, say, a giant sneaker, full body stocking or a torso-riding fish? I bow to these folks: they’re fit and can cook up awesome costumes.

Anoka has nailed the infectious, playful spirit that pervades the best Halloween events and makes it easy to understand why the town has wholeheartedly embraced this favorite fall holiday.

Best costume: Pinata man
How can you not love a guy who dresses like a pinata and lets a girl beat on him for 5 kilometers? Here’s hoping they snagged a prize last year.