After losing a year to an unexpected snowstorm, Boosolini, the judges of doom, a phantom organist, pumpkin carvers and children everywhere are anxious to revel in the streets of Collinsville once again.
On Saturday Oct. 27, 2012, the 19th annual Collinsville Halloween Parade will begin at 7 p.m. with additional activities to take place earlier in the day.
“There does seem to be some added energy this year,” said John Squier, president of the Collinsville Artists Initiative, the organization that puts on the parade.
Squier, aka Jon Art, plays the part of Boosolini, Monster of Ceremonies. He's looking forward to the many aspects of the parade, which draws well more than 1,000 people each year. It involves a parade through downtown Collinsville, complete with the phantom organist, and plenty of mildly frightful live scenes along the way, such as the drummers on Voodoo Island and The Can-Dead Cantina, which will include D.A.N.C.E. by Kristin competition dancers.
Dr. Feverstein’s Candy Canon will be in operation again but due to a ‘horrible accident’ in his lab, it will spew radioactive zombie fingers, Squier said.
In addition the Judges of Doom will once again help determine the best costumes in many categories such as scariest, funniest, most original and best of show. New this year will be medallions for the winners.
Also new this year are sponsored, hand-painted tombstones with Site Wireless and Collinsville Savings Society purchasing the first two at $250 each.
The parade started in 1994 through the efforts of a group of artists that included Squier, Ken Carder and Mark Mercier.
Except for last year, it’s been held every year, technically making this the 18th time people will participate.
Squier said the group was forced to cancel when the snow became significant enough that police could not block off streets due to the need for snowplows to get through.
While most of the doom and gloom is in good fun, there is a more serious note this year with the loss of Mark Quattro, who in addition to so many other titles was treasurer for the artists initiative.
“We lost a dependable, can-do, well loved member of the community,” Squier said.
Squier and other artists who have made posters and decorated around town have found ways to pay tribute to Quattro and know he would want the tradition to continue.
In addition, many are trying to begin new traditions for the event.
One is the Collinsville Pumpkin Fest set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the day of the parade. People can bring their pumpkins and a candle to a carving station at The Green in Collinsville and take advantage of provided tools. Organizers will then set up a great pumpkin pyramid for the parade.
Steven Troop, co-organizer of the pumpkin fest with Donna Gentile, said a family tradition as well as the annual pumpkin festival in Keene, New Hampshire inspired him.
It's not the first time pumpkins will be displayed but Troop is hoping it will be a new tradition.
"I want it to build up and get bigger every year," he said.
From there the fun continues at 6:30 p.m. with a Farmington Dance performance led by Kym Nash. Kalia and the Haunted Belly Dancers will follow. The parade begins at 7 p.m.
Those who wish to support the event can also purchase T-shirts and other wear at The Village Sweet Shoppe or LaSalle Market in Collinsville.
Squier said the parade has momentum that's great for artists and provides a free community event.
"I do enjoy doing it," he said. "It's a good chance for creative people to show the community their value."