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October in Anoka: The Halloween Capital of the World!

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Anoka, Minnesota is believed to be the first city in the United States to put on a Halloween celebration to divert its youngsters from Halloween pranks. When Anokans awoke to find their cows roaming Main Street, windows soaped and outhouses tipped over, they decided something had to be done. But what? A costume parade and block party seemed like the perfect trick! Halloween became a wonderful distraction for the town for generations to come, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. The crisp of the season, the creativity of the shops, the schools, the costumes, the laughter, the food, the fun, and the parties! There are so many reasons to love the month of October.

Anoka Halloween Capital of the World® celebration continues to be world-class. Participation in the night parade and Grande Day parade has grown to include units from all over the Midwest. The original concept of having costumed students parade down Main Street continues on as well on Friday preceding the Grande Day parade. Anoka residents can watch their grandchildren or great-grandchildren continue the tradition they started so many years ago. 

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35th Annual Anoka Haunted House Hosted by The Anoka Knights of Columbus
October 13 – October 28, Anoka County Fairgrounds

Ready for a good scare? The Anoka Community Haunted House has been operating in Anoka, Minnesota for over 30 years. The Haunted house is operated by the local Knights of Columbus organization to benefit the local organizations. Wear your 2023 Anoka Halloween button for $2 off admission or bring in a non- perishable food item for $3 off!

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Children’s Pumpkin Carving Contest
October 21, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m., Riverfront Memorial Park 

Perfect event for children ages 3 to 12. All the Pumpkins will be displayed on a float during the Light Up the Night Parade later that day. Awards will be given out for best carved pumpkins.
(Pumpkins are gutted beforehand for your convenience)

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Light Up the Night Parade
October 21, 7 – 8 p.m., Anoka Main Street

With a full line-up of colorfully lit floats, this parade is always a crowd favorite. Join in the fun and Light Up the Night! The parade starts at 7 p.m. at the corner of 1st Ave and Main St. Spaces along Main St. can be reserved after 4 p.m.

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Medallion Hunt
October 22, George Enlo Park 

Two hunt times. Individuals and teams welcome to search for our Anoka Halloween Medallion. One cash prize award per hunt.

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Gray Ghost Run
October 28, starting at 12:45 p.m., Franklin Elementary School

The Anoka Gray Ghost Run has been an Anoka Halloween tradition since 1985. Whether you’re a serious runner or just want to have some fun in front of more than 25,000 Grand Day Parade spectators, the Gray Ghost is serious fun!

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Big Parade of Little People
October 27, 1:15 – 2:30 p.m., Anoka Main Street

Join us in celebrating Anoka elementary students and participate in Anoka Halloween’s oldest tradition as local school children march through the historic downtown area. Marching bands and costumes for all to enjoy!

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Grande Day Parade
October 28, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m., Anoka Main Street

This parade starts at 1:00 p.m. at State Street and Main Street. The route follows Main Street to 5th Avenue and finishes at South Street/Military Road. Parade length is 1.5 miles long. Spaces along Main Street and 5th Avenue can be reserved after 4 a.m. the day of the parade. Chairs/blankets set out prior to this time, will be removed.

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Anoka Halloween Ambassador Coronation
October 28, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Anoka High School

Enjoy this historic presentation and learn about the growth and development of our candidates. Say goodbye to the outgoing Ambassadors and experience the crowning of the 2023 Anoka Royal Ambassadors. Enjoy refreshments after the presentation and stay for photo opportunities.

More Fall Fun in the Twin Cities Gateway
While Anoka Halloween is certainly a highlight for fall fun in the Gateway, there’s so much more to see and do. Enjoy a hayride at Bunker Stable, explore a pumpkin patch or sample tasty craft brews at one of our local breweries. Active sorts will love the miles of paved bike trails or a fun round of golf at one of nine quality courses. When the weather takes a turn, there are plenty of indoor attractions incuding an indoor water park, trampoline park, laser tag and fun arcades.

The Gateway also features 25 comfy lodging properties including many of your favorite brands!

Twin Cities Gateway
Anoka • Arden Hills • Blaine • Coon Rapids • Fridley • Ham Lake • Lino Lakes • Mounds View • New Brighton • Shoreview

Scan to plan your next Getaway!

Written by Brady Drake

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