TOMS RIVER – Bring out your dead, put your fangs in, and get ready to howl at the moon – the Halloween Parade is back on the calendar.
Throughout 2020, a lot of our iconic gatherings suffered – the fireworks on the Toms River, the Ocean County Fair, concerts held by towns, and the Halloween Parade. All of them were cancelled because of the coronavirus, hurting morale when people needed it the most.
This year, several of them have made a comeback, often with some changes due to the pandemic.
The parade is annually run by Toms River Fire Co. No. 1. Lt. Carl Weingroff told JerseyShoreOnline that plans are being made for the big return.
The parade will be held on Saturday, October 30. The schedule follows the tradition that if Halloween falls on a Sunday, like it does this year, the parade will be on Saturday, with a rain date on Monday.
Registration will be on the day of the parade, he said. Participants will be following guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The theme of the parade will be the celebration of Fire Company No. 1’s 125th anniversary. The company was officially incorporated in 1896, although they had been operating for a few years prior to that. They’ve been working out of the firehouse on Robbins Street since 1913.
Earlier this year, there was another parade marking the 125th. This one was a smaller event which ended in a street festival with live music.
The Halloween parade is billed as the second largest in the world, and can have upwards of 6,000 viewers. The Downtown area is shut down and people compete for seats.
COVID-19 caused the fire company to cancel last year’s parade. They put out notice at around this time in 2020. With that many people swarming downtown, social distancing would have been impossible. This year, thanks to people getting vaccinated, more events like this one are being held.
There have only been three times in the history of the fire department that the parade had been cancelled. The first time was in the 1920s during the Great Depression. The second time was due to Superstorm Sandy. The third was for the coronavirus.