You’re invited to the party of the century! 2023 marks a major milestone for the Anaheim community as it celebrates the 100th anniversary of its cherished Fall Festival and the 99th iteration of the Halloween Parade! Set for October 28, 2023, these back-to-back events promise an exciting full day of spooktacular entertainment, local history, and a spellbinding love for the Halloween season.
Anaheim Fall Festival: A Centennial Celebration
At the inception of the Anaheim Fall Festival in 1923, Halloween was more about the tricks than treats in Southern California—in fact, it was common for kids to use the day to play pranks and commit vandalism. The community decided to create the Anaheim Fall Festival as a solution to curb Halloween mischief through a fun family event that kept the kids busy, and it became so popular, that it became a favorite annual event.
Since then, it has evolved, reflecting the community’s changing dynamics while staying true to its original purpose: providing safe, family-friendly Halloween festivities. This year, attendees can explore numerous attractions from 11 AM to 6 PM (with no admission fee required!).
The festival’s offerings cater to all ages:
- Game booths: Ready for a challenge? The festival is replete with carnival games that promise endless fun for friends and family competing.
- Live music: Dance and jive to the tunes of fantastic live bands that will keep the energy high and spirits soaring.
- Face painting: Become a canvas for Halloween art!
- Chilling Tales: Immerse in spooky tales that capture the Halloween spirit.
- Costume contests: Featuring both a contest for children 12 and under and a special contest for your furry friends!
Additionally, civic groups will also host informational booths, providing insights and activities for those curious about the local community.
The Star Attraction: Anaheim Halloween Parade
But that’s not all! Commencing at 7 PM, the streets of Anaheim will come alive with the 99th annual Halloween Parade. This event, steeped in history and community pride since 1924, lights up the streets of Anaheim after dark. Here’s what makes the parade a must-see this year:
- Historic Floats Come to Life: Witness the return of iconic floats like the “Rocket Witch” and the “Flying Saucer,” reconstructed with a nostalgic touch by dedicated community members.
- A Nod to the Classics: The parade embraces its heritage, featuring designs that reflect the mid-20th-century, classic Halloween style.
- Community-Crafted Spectacle: Each float is a testament to the community’s spirit, built and maintained by Anaheim residents devoted to keeping tradition alive.
- Celebrity Footsteps: Relive the grandeur of past parades that boasted cultural icons like Babe Ruth, emphasizing the event’s longstanding allure.
The parade route starts at City Hall, moving west on Broadway, allowing ample space for spectators to enjoy the spectacle. But beyond the spectacle, the Halloween Parade represents a heartfelt tradition made possible by tireless community efforts. The event doesn’t just run on the electric excitement of the spooky season; it thrives on the hard work and dedication of volunteers who devote their time and energy year-round.
Keeping the Tradition Alive
The Anaheim Fall Festival and Halloween Parade stand as testaments to community spirit, brought to life by generations of residents. As long-time volunteer Keith Olson put it, the parade continues and thrives “as long as people care and are willing to get involved.”
The entire spectacle is a collaborative effort, requiring not only creativity for float building but also logistical planning and fundraising. For those inspired to contribute, the event offers numerous volunteering opportunities, emphasizing that the parade is more than an annual gathering — it’s a chance to be part of a legacy. Whether through hands-on involvement in float preparation or community organizing, every effort fuels the tradition, ensuring its glow endures for future generations. If you would like to volunteer, you can inquire here.
Want to check out even more awesome Halloween events this year? Check out our list of Orange County’s Spookiest Haunts & Events for Halloween 2023.