Cortland Halloween Parade takes over Main Street

The spirit of Halloween was alive on Main Street Thursday night during the annual Cortland Halloween Trick or Treat Parade held for kids and parents in celebration of the upcoming holiday.

This year’s theme was “Once Upon a Time.” Kris Valentine Behnke, Youth Program Manager at the Cortland Repertory Theatre, hosted the parade’s award ceremony.

“It’s really been modernized over the past couple of years,” Behnke said of the parade.

Twenty stores participated in the trick or treat portion of the parade. Kids joyously went up and down the street and collected their candy.

When it was announced that the parade would be starting soon, those planning to march and participate in the costume contest were asked to line up within their groups.

Families that were doing a costume together were first, followed by the rest. The participants were separated by grade: 0-2, 3-6, and 7-12. Last, but not least, was the group costume participants.

Participants were dressed in everything from typical costumes like vampires, witches and their favorite Disney characters, to things more creative like a claw machine.

Leading the participants was the Marathon Marching Band. The band started playing and the parade began marching. Participants marched down Main Street proudly and excitedly before turning and making their way to the Cortland Repertory Theatre, where the costume contest winners would be announced. The three judges took their time looking over all of the costumes and making their decisions.

Those participating in the costume contest were asked to hold up their paddles so the judges could write down their numbers. Winners were announced at the Cortland Repertory Theatre once the parade had ended.

The costumes were judged in 4 categories for the different grade groups: cutest, most original, best in theme, and scariest.

The annual parade, a Cortland tradition since 1933, has evolved over the years, Behnke said. She credited the Cortland Downtown Partnership’s Promotions Committee took with creating something that was both family-friendly and appropriate for all ages.

“The parade has really developed into something special,” she said.