Halloween paradeBy Shelby R. Farrell


BELVIDERE – Some Halloween traditions might involve carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating, handing out candy, or watching scary movies, but one Belvidere family continued its tradition at the Halloween parade.

Hundreds of people gathered along State Street in Belvidere on Friday, Oct. 30 for the annual Halloween Parade, which is hosted by the I.O.U Club. About a dozen parade floats assembled in between Boone and Kishwaukee Streets and headed south along State Street ending at the Community Building Complex.halloween parade 2

Sarah Flores grew up in Belvidere, and every Halloween her parents would build her a float to be in the city’s parade. This year, she and her best friend, Brittany Macnider, designed a float, or rather a pink flamingo cage, for Flores’ dad to build and for their daughters to ride in and continue the family tradition.

“We do all handmade cHalloween parade 3ostumes, and so this year we thought the flamingo thing would be fun and like an island feel,” Flores said. “It’s fun to have the tradition. My mom handmade all of our costumes, so that’s something that’s important to me, and it’s just fun being able to do it with my parents now.”

This year’s parade wasn’t the first for the youngest in this tradition, 2-year-olds Hadley and Keegan. The girls were dressed as a leopard and a squirrel and fitted into a chicken wire log for the parade last year. They get to ride through the parade thanks to Flores’s dad, who owns a small tractor and trailer to fit the two girls in their costumes.Halloween parade 4

Although Flores is trying to keep her family’s Halloween Parade tradition alive, she has changed one aspect. While walking through the crowds of people down State Street, the pink flamingos gave out Mardi Gras beads instead of candy.

Flores said her sister lives in MissisHalloween parade 5sippi, and the bags full of the necklaces that her parents had collected on a trip spurred the idea to give those out instead of candy. The necklaces also fall in line with the nationwide Teal Pumpkin Project that became popular this year and urges people to give out non-food treats and to be aware of food allergies.

“They were a hit last year, and it’s nice to keep everyone involved,” Macnider said.

The two friends hope to continue the old and the new tradition for many years to come.

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