It’s almost hard to imagine anything in Anaheim that is older than Disneyland but the Anaheim Halloween Parade is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year! At Midsummer Scream 2023, artist Kevin Kidney presented an incredible slide show looking back at the cherished annual tradition.
The Anaheim Halloween Parade has been a Halloween tradition in Anaheim since 1924 and it was amazingly originally conceived as a way to deter adolescent pranksters and hooligans from wreaking havoc on the own on Halloween.
The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, as well as merchants and store owners in the downtown area, crafted the alternative activity for kids who were more into tricks than treats and from its first year, the parade was a success. In the early days, the parade was relatively small, with just a few floats and marching bands.
By the 1950s, the parade was drawing thousands of spectators from all over Southern California and eventually drew the interest of Walt Disney who sat it it as a platform to help advertise the construction of Disneyland.
Using the talents of studio artists, Disney would create float designs for the parade inspired by Disney stories that parade participants could use as inspiration. In 1955, the year that Disneyland opened, Disney had a float in the parade that featured Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters. Although many would have expected Walt Disney to be Grand Marshall that year you could say his hands were a little full with the first of its kind happiest place on earth.
Still, over the years Disney’s involvement has been seen in noticeable ways. Clarence Nash, the voice of Donald Duck, was the grand marshal of the Anaheim Halloween Parade in 1963. Tony Anselmo, the current voice of Donald Duck, was the grand marshal in 2005 and actually graced the parade with the same Donald Duck figure that Nash had used all those years before. Jodie Foster was also grand marshal in 1976 fresh off her Disney picture FREAKY FRIDAY which would be released in January the following year.
Although not Disney-related, we also learned about the Rocket Witch — a popular symbol of the Anaheim Halloween Parade first appeared in the parade in 1951. The idea was inspired by a comic book of the same name and was such a hit it’s been a cherished tradition ever since. Actress and singer Amber Foxx has portrayed the character for several years.
In recent years, the Anaheim Halloween Parade has enjoyed a renewed fan interest thanks to the efforts of Kevin Kidney and Jodi Daly who have worked closely with the Anaheim Fall Festival, (the organization that puts on the Anaheim Halloween Parade) for over 20 years.
See it for Yourself
Anaheim Halloween Parade takes place as part of the Anaheim Fall Festival on October 28, 2023.