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Tradition Tweaked: Halloween Parade Switches to Saturday Schedule This Year

Fire company celebrates 75th anniversary of annual event

The 2011 Halloween Parade (Patch File Photo)
The 2011 Halloween Parade (Patch File Photo)
By Carly Kilroy

In years to come, those unusual times when trick-or-treating was done the night before Halloween will be nothing more than an old folk tale told among the grown-ups of Toms River Township.

The hosts of the Toms River Halloween parade, Toms River Fire Company No. 1, have now decided to move the date of their world famous event indefinitely.

“We're switching it to a Saturday only event now,” said Fire company President Albert McDaniel.

Instead of holding the parade on Halloween night, as it has traditionally been done since the first parade marched down Main Street in 1919, the fire company has decided to start holding the parade on the closest Saturday before Halloween.

This year's parade will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26.

The organizers will, however, continue their long standing tradition of not hosting the parade on a Sunday, therefore the rain date will always be that following Monday.

McDaniel says from this year forward, the only reason Trick-or-Treating should be on the 30th is if Halloween itself falls on a Saturday.

Here's the catch: since there has never actually been an ordinance created by the township declaring when residents should go out trick-or-treating, all the fire company and the township can really do is suggest that parents send their children out on the 31st from now on.

“I confirmed with Toms River Township that they do not sanction any date for trick or treat," said McDaniel. "The fire company's position is that since the parade is not on the 31st this year, that date is available for the children to trick or treat as is done in surrounding towns."

McDaniel believes holding the parade on a Saturday will make it easier for future parade participants, such as members of the fire company, as well as the rest of the community to be apart of the town's traditional event.

“On a Saturday we think the town will be able to participate more,” McDaniel said.

Not only does this year mark big changes for the traditions held by the residents of Toms River, but it also marks the 75th year that the parade has been held in town.

“It's a milestone for us,” McDaniel said.

To celebrate that milestone, members of Fire Company No.1 will act as this years grand marshals in the parade.

“Typically we would have our grand martial at the beginning of the parade, but since we will all be kind of busy at that point we intend to mass up at the end and be in the very end of the parade,” McDaniel said.

Anyone is encouraged to sign up and participate in the parade, which is broken up into divisions in order for a panel of judges to evaluate participants and hand out prizes at the end of the night.

Registration starts the day of the parade at the Toms River Shopping Center which is the meeting point for both floats and parade participants.

McDaniel says registration is free, but donations are always welcome seeing as the parade is completely put together and funded with the help of volunteers and fundraisers.

One of those fundraisers that helps fund the parade every year is the fire company's annual golf tournament. This year the golf tournament will be held at the Bey Lea Municipal Golf Course on September 19th.

Anyone who is interested in participating in the golf outing can call Golf Committee Chairman, John Mount, at 732-349-0144.


Correction: An earlier version of this story said the parade would be held Sept. 28. The correct date is Oct. 26.
proud August 23, 2013 at 11:20 AM
Remove yourself from the email list or just ignore it.
bayway mike August 23, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Cant wait to see all of the 'Out-of-Towners' (we know who you are) that trick-or-treat in Toms River on the 30th show up for some goodies and get NONE!!!
dooney August 23, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Who cares. Dont waste my time with that parade anywho
Momma Mia August 23, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Figures, just one more thing that they can ruin, just like they have ruined the whole town. It's so sad! Hasn't anyone every heard the expression " if it ain't broke don't fix it"? Why so they have to screw everything up all the time?
barbara August 23, 2013 at 09:44 PM
I think it's a sensible idea to have the parade on a Saturday. The kids will be able to get a decent nights sleep and not have to get up early for school, normal weekday traffic won't be screwed up, and Halloween will be on Halloween.
Sue Whittley Basehore August 23, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Of course they forgot all the football games that night, marching bands may not be able to participate
John Delaney August 24, 2013 at 12:44 AM
If you ask me the parade is over commercialized. All you see now are a bunch of trucks and trailers that are barely decorated as floats and have nothing but adds for businesses all over them. You can't call those floats. I remember when you would actually see traditional floats created by the vocational schools and those who actually took the time to really create a float. The only thing worth seeing, which is also shrinking in popularity, is the families with the kids in the mini floats and the marching bands. I'd love to see the parade to get back to what it use to be. Cut back on the over commercialized vehicles. I understand that you want to recognize the businesses that helped you put the float in the parade. A single banner on the back of the float is plenty of advertisement. As for moving the date. I'm all for it. Trick or Treating should be on Halloween. I can see the parade being the night before. But the Saturday before is just as good. Finally I thank the TRFD for going through all the stress making the parade even possible for the past 75 years. It's a great thing to do for the kids. And that's really what the Holiday is for.
. August 24, 2013 at 07:36 AM
Finally a smart decision. I never understood why the parade was not held on a Saturday instead of during the week. Please don't forget to tell Sondra Fortunato. I would hate to "Miss Everything" cruising down main street all alone on her float on Halloween!
grace August 24, 2013 at 09:44 AM
hahahahahahahahahaha right on
Nancy Mooney Michalak August 24, 2013 at 09:48 AM
CAST A SPELL: UNIQUE WITCH CARDS & JEWELRY Nancy, began creating Scherenschnitte (paper cuts) for her elementary students. The student response was exhilarating. Nancy can still remember the students' joy and wonder when she unfolded her first creation. Now she has fashioned her unique designs into jewelry. Please visit her web site at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/NancyMichalak?ref=shop_sugg to view more paper cuts. As you can tell, Halloween is her favorite time of year.
proud August 24, 2013 at 10:15 AM
Is that $4.75 USD for a box or a singular card?
Marynary August 24, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Sondra has to be pushing 70 now. But she sure used to get the publicity. They even removed her from a Giants game once because of her attire.
John V August 24, 2013 at 04:53 PM
The parade is nothing more than a waste of your tax dollars by the greedy fire comissioners of this town. Stop wasting my money on a parade, there are better things we need out on the beach.
Hardieharr August 24, 2013 at 05:14 PM
John v just stick your head in the sand. For one your probably grew up a Benny. 2nd no one should have been allowed to live or build on the barrier islands ever. If your house was destroyed you should be paid by the ins. Co and move and never be allowed to rebuild. That goes for all. And my house Flooded and tired of the beach livers demanding things. It's called inherited risk! 3rd the parade is a good thing for any community just like Friday night Football games.
proud August 24, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Shoulda, coulda, woulda.
Christopher Hildebrandt August 24, 2013 at 11:42 PM
So many people having reading comprehension issues or just spout off complete false hoods. -The TR Fire Company No. 1 are changing it to Saturdays and not the town. -There is no township ordinance that says parades can't be held on Sunday, the hosts made a deal with the Catholic Church to never hold it on a Sunday even if Halloween fell on a Sunday. -The parade has been held the night before Halloween on several instances which were any years that Halloween feel on a Sunday. -Most football games are on Friday night and the ones on Saturday are early in the afternoon so bands would be available for the parade. -As for the person saying T-o-T should be phased out of our culture because it is too expensive here is a simple solution for you. Do not send your kids out and keep your lights off which indicates you are not home or just not giving out candy. No one is forcing you to participate. I never go to the parade and never will since I hate parades, but I think it makes sense to move the parade to Saturday. It allows more kids to participate since they do not have to get up early for school the next day, it does not clutter Main street on a work day with all the parade setup and disturb traffic flows, it allows for the cleanup after the parade to be on Sunday which is preferable to a busy weekday, trick-or-treat could be on Halloween then which does help prevent many out of towners coming on the 30th to "double dip" on trick-or treat and cause massive congestion of kids and vehicles especially in developments that make it unsafe for people just trying to drive home.
proud August 25, 2013 at 07:14 AM
The suggestion of Trick or Treating being sanctioned-- or, even a discussion of it--is ridiculous. Only in the Nanny State...
chtulu2000 August 25, 2013 at 09:41 AM
Nice...the South band is already in a competition that day/evening and North's football team and band have a game...great move TR!
Mattie August 25, 2013 at 10:20 AM
I said door to door trick or treat was too expensive AND dangerous (for the kids). That's my opinion- like it or not. I'm not against T-o-T because I'm "mean" or don't like kids, (I raised three of my own, thanks), I'm just an adult who doesn't "adore" Halloween like some sugar-crazed hyper 6 year old. I always spent upwards of $40 on candy just for trick or treaters every year. Some years it was a struggle to put out that money, but I did. For the kids. Just close my doors, turn off the lights? Really? Why, so my house can get egged, or my car soaped, or my pumpkins smashed, or to have the parents walking with their kids door to door glare and sneer in my windows and mutter under their breath what a b*tch I am for not passing out candy? Yeah... let's do that instead of encourage parents to throw SAFE, convenient, block parties or basement parties for the kids in their own neighborhoods on Halloween. OMG!! Think of the CHILDREN!! Oh please....
Mattie August 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM
Pretty soon, with the Halloween parade up to 6 days before actual Halloween, this "holiday" is going to become like Christmas! A "season long" celebration that all started because of ONE day... Also, having the parade up to 6 days in advance of Halloween is going to make (Halloween) trick or treating seem pretty anti-climatic, isn't it? Costumes already worn (and maybe ruined) in the parade, all that anticipation, the parade, and then...nothing.... for several days; then trick or treat! How ridiculous. The parade AND all trick or treating, parties, etc should be on October 31st. Period. Let people, parents and kids decide how and where they want to spend their Halloween. Make Choices, people. It's not that difficult.
Lori August 28, 2013 at 07:50 AM
Yay! Great idea!! Parades are usually held on weekends, not on the actual holiday, so it's about time we caught up with that! No more worrying about my kids going to the parade on a school night & being up too late! No more getting bombarded with kids that don't even live in my town coming to my house to get in an extra night of trick or treating! I grew up in Toms River & trick or treated the night before Halloween my whole life & I am not at all upset by this change of "tradition"!!
grace August 28, 2013 at 09:46 AM
after sandy and so many still hurting maybe putting off the parade saving some money might solve everything
proud August 28, 2013 at 09:53 AM
If the Fire Co. Wants to have a parade-- and, pay for it-- go for it. As to Trick or Treating, it is a shame that this tradition has been beaten down so badly, but I must question a parent that would allow their children to eat that junk!
barbara August 28, 2013 at 10:27 AM
Don't understand all the fuss. If you like the parade, go to it. If you're in a marching band and have a game that night, you can't go to the parade. If you don't want to give out "treats", maybe get a few bags of candy and shut your door when it runs out. It's not a huge issue. Now at least it will be one night of fun for most and if you really hate Halloween, it will be over in one night. No need for all the stress.
John V August 28, 2013 at 09:04 PM
The real fuss is our tax dollars susbsidizing this parade. Its bad enough the fire commisioners have secret saturday elections that nobody goes to, but they need to waste our money on a parade??? And I just got a fundraising letter from them to as if I don't already pay enough through my taxes, you want me to give you more money?!?! Wake up sheeple its time to end the fire commsioners reign of terror over this town.
proud August 29, 2013 at 08:53 AM
You forgot to mention your home on Pelican Island. College? Now, that's a laugher!
David Daur August 29, 2013 at 09:21 AM
Has everyone seen the Halloween candy that's been out and displayed in stores since the middle of August? Now I see Christmas gift wrap out in the Dollar General a couple of days before Labor Day weekend. That's just absurd.
grace August 29, 2013 at 09:47 AM
ok maruca and proud you two knock it off! lol
Marynary August 29, 2013 at 11:07 AM
Did a search and found Sondra's birthday on the NET. I was wrong on the 70. Date of Birth 23 October 1948, Toms River, New Jersey, USA So she will only be 65 for this years parade. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0287412/bio
proud August 30, 2013 at 07:07 PM
The guy that hates knowing "everything": [Maruca_Failed_My_Ward August 29, 2013 at 08:47 ... It is not my fault I excelled in College, Became a Civil Engineer and am compensated well for my work...I BUILT THAT and I AM PROUD of my Career and LEGACY ] Quite a LEGACY! Everybody's talking about it.


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