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Why Anoka, Minnesota, Is The World's Halloween Capital


The Minneapolis suburb of Anoka, which has a population of about 20,000 and is known for antique shopping and canoeing much of the year, pulls out all the stops in October to live up to the moniker it claims: Halloween Capital of the World, Afar magazine reports.

This month Anoka holds haunted houses, scarecrow competitions, costume parties, dances and other events. There are pet costume contests and bonfires. A blinking pumpkin of epic proportions sits on top of city hall.  

Also, one Halloween parade is not enough. The town holds three: a nighttime parade, a daytime parade for elementary-school children and the Grand Day Parade the Saturday before Halloween. 

The 30-plus events are coordinated by the all-volunteer Anoka Halloween Inc., a nonprofit organization with roots going back to 1920, when town leaders organized Halloween events to put a lid on destructive Halloween pranks.

The strategy worked, and with the exception of two years during World War II, the tradition has endured, which Anoka asserts is longer than any other town's organized Halloween festivals.