It came in on the leading edge of the Baby Boom wave, way back in 1948 — and when the Red Bank Halloween Parade presents its 69th annual edition this Sunday, October 23, it will represent that rare local custom that’s claimed anew by each succeeding generation of miniature monster, licensed pop-culture character, or float-riding reveler.
A presentation of the borough’s Department of Parks and Recreation, this most enduring (and endearingly nutty) of civic events offers a much-needed fixed point of reference to regular readers of redbankgreen‘s “Retail Churn” and other chroniclers of our ever-evolving town. Together with additional long-running attractions like the warm-weather Riverfest and holiday-season Town Lighting, it’s an all-ages, real-world chance to connect with the community — with an option to dress up, decorate the kiddie stroller (or pet carrier), or simply trick-or-treat yourself to a chance to cheer on the people in your neighborhood.
The colorful seasonal celebration gets underway once again at 1 p.m., with parade lineup and costume judging at the intersection of East Bergen Place and South Street. Then at 2 p.m. the costumed marchers, fire trucks, Middle School band members and crowd-greeting local officials will trace their joyously noisy route through the downtown business district; traveling north on Broad, turning west onto White Street, and arriving at the municipal parking lot.
It’s there that a post-parade party follows, featuring kids’ activities, live magic, face painting, bounce house, and free goody bags for the first 500 children. Prizes, donated by local sponsor businesses, will be awarded by Mayor Pat Menna and members of the Borough Council for the Best Costume in several age categories, as well as for Best Small Group and Best Pet Costume (while pets are invited to attend and participate, owners are asked to not use retractable leashes for the occasion).
There’s an announced rain date of October 30, though the weather.gov forecast of “mostly sunny, high near 59” indicates that the monsters should march as planned. For more info, or to register a float, call the Parks and Rec office at (732)530-2782.