By Patricia Hall, Fairfax Family Fun
Celebrating Halloween these days goes beyond trick-or-treating or touring a haunted house. Many communities also host parties, festivals, and other events, including Halloween parades! These are fun ways to watch kids (and sometimes pets!) stroll by in their costumes and even see some neat floats. Below are some of the larger Halloween parades coming up soon in Northern Virginia. If big crowds are not your thing, check with your local library: many libraries also offer small, daytime Halloween parades for very young children.
Halloween parades in Northern Virginia
Vienna Halloween Parade – Wednesday, October 24, 2018
The Town of Vienna has put on a volunteer-run Halloween parade for more than 70 years! This big event (always on the Wednesday before Halloween) has nearly 100 entries and 35,000 participants and spectators. The parade begins at 7 pm and runs down Maple Avenue (Route 123) from Branch Road to Center Street (about a half mile). This is one of the biggest area parades and lasts one to two hours. The event also goes on rain or shine! Costumed kids who want to participate gather at 6:30 pm at Virginia Commerce Bank to lead the parade (no registration required).
Del Ray Halloween Parade – Sunday, October 28, 2018
The annual Del Ray Halloween Parade, now in its 22nd year, attracts thousands of people. Children, babies in strollers, and even pets and can march and show off their finest and scariest Halloween garb, with prizes in different categories. The parade and all activities are free; the event takes place 2-4 pm in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria.. Judging for the costume contest happens at 1:30 pm.
South Riding Spooktacular Parade – Sunday, October 28, 2018
The South Riding neighborhood in Loudoun County (just west of Fairfax County) hosts a fun afternoon parade (2-4 pm) for kids. The parade Starts at the South Riding Golf Club and ends at the Town Green. Parking is limited (and you can’t park on the golf course lot) so arrive early.
Halloween Happyfest Parade – Sunday, October 28, 2018
The Town of Warrenton hosts a parade for pets and children of all ages, with trick-or-treating at businesses in Old Town afterward. The line-up for the starts at 1:45 pm and the parade begins at 2 pm.
Great Falls Spooktacular Pet Parade – Wednesday, October 31, 2018
For more than 20 years, the town of Great Falls has hosted a fun and free Spooktacular for kids to enjoy trick-or-treating and a parade. The event, 5-7 pm, is geared to Great Falls children up to age 12 (6th grade) and their families, and includes a haunted house and a pet costume parade at 4 pm. This is a rain-or-shine event.
Leesburg Kiwanis Halloween Parade – Wednesday, October 31, 2018
For nearly 60 years, the Kiwanis club in Leesburg has sponsored a big Halloween Parade. This one has more than 200 participating groups, including police and fire and rescue units, high school marching bands, floats, horseback riders, walking units, and decorated vehicles. The parade goes along one a 1-mile route on King Street, departing from Ida Lee Park at 6 pm.
See more photos from the 2015 Vienna Halloween Parade below!
Photos by P. Hall