Tricks and Treats in Anoka, the Halloween Capital of the World

Anoka, Minnesota embraces its role as the Halloween Capital of the World—enjoy an all-ages celebration complete with parades, costume contests, and ghost tours.

Wondering how Anoka got its title? It’s believed that Anoka was the first city in the United States to hold a citywide Halloween celebration, intended to encourage kids to focus on festive activities instead of Halloween pranks. The first Halloween parade and a community bonfire took place in 1920, and Anoka has enthusiastically celebrated the holiday ever since.

Here’s the lineup of the 2022 Halloween events.

Ghosts of Anoka Walking Tour

Multiple dates through October 31, 2022

Held by the Anoka County HIstorical Society, this tour is described as “60 percent history, 40 percent folklore.”  A costumed guide will take you on a family-friendly walking tour of Anoka’s historic neighborhoods and regale you with stories of odd happenings and eerie encounters.  Bring a flashlight and plan to walk about one mile over the tour’s one to one-and-half hour running time.  Tickets are $14 and can be purchased in advance online, and note that tours are held rain or shine.

Children’s Costume Contest

Saturday, October 22, 2022, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Tiny ghosts and ghouls ages 0-5 can participate in a free costume contest and celebration in the basement of Anoka City Hall.  The event will include kid-friendly Halloween music, a balloon arch for photo opportunities, and a treat bag for all participants.  Register in advance online or at the door.

Children’s Pumpkin Carving Contest

Saturday, October 22, 2022, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Held at Riverfront Memorial Park, the free pumpkin carving contest is open to kids ages 3-12.

Light Up the Night Parade

Saturday, October 22, 2022, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Get in the spooky spirit with a nighttime parade down Anoka’s Main Street.  Street lights will be dimmed so that spectators can appreciate the colorful illuminated floats.

Medallion Hunt

October 23, 2022

Search George Green Park for the Halloween medallion, with a $400 cash prize for the winner.  A family and children hunt (maximum two adults per group) will be held from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., with an open hunt following from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  An Anoka Halloween button (available for purchase for $3) is required to participate.

House Decorating Contest Public Viewing

October 28-29, 2022, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Take a self-guided tour of the entries in the annual house decorating contest to see elaborate scenes that are creepy, whimsical, and everything in between.  Addresses will be available online by October 28 for you to plan your route.

Big Parade of Little People

Friday, October 28, 2022, 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

Anoka’s original Halloween tradition features local elementary students in costumes parading through downtown, accompanied by marching bands.

Gray Ghost 5K Run and One Mile Fitness Walk

Saturday, October 29, 2022, 12:50 p.m.

Kick off the Grande Day Parade with a one-mile fitness walk or chip-timed 5K run.  The one-mile walk finishes near the end of the parade route, and 5K participants will continue their race along residential streets.  All finishers receive a long sleeved technical shirt based on the Halloween button design and are invited to enjoy refreshments and a costume contest at the end of the race.  Register in advance online (pricing varies depending on registration date).

Grande Day Parade

Saturday, October 29, 2022, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Anoka’s Halloween celebration culminates with a parade that follows a 1.5-mile route starting on Main Street, featuring costumed participants and festive floats.

For additional information and to register for events, visit the official Anoka Halloween website.

Conveniently located to Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the ten communities of the Twin Cities Gateway (Anoka, Arden Hills, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Mounds View, New Brighton, and Shoreview) offer trails and parks, recreational facilities, cultural attractions, and affordable hotels with free parking.  Book your stay in the Twin Cities Gateway today!

Sports in Minnesota
Explore Minnesota Tourism
3M Open
3M Open
Translate »