By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Ghosts, ghouls and goblins are coming back to Sea Isle City.
In this case, that’s a good thing – a monstrously good thing.
Sea Isle’s popular Halloween parade is returning 7 p.m. Friday after being canceled in 2020 in response to the pandemic. The celebration will continue with a family-friendly Halloween dance party at the Excursion Park Band Shell immediately after the parade.
With its array of entertainment, the parade attracts a big turnout every year and enhances Sea Isle’s reputation for family-style fun. City spokeswoman Katherine Custer said the parade has been a local tradition for more than 30 years.
“I think it has a very charming small-town atmosphere, but it is professionally run,” she said.
Each year, hundreds, if not thousands, of spectators line the sidewalks as the colorful procession of scary creatures, costumed marchers, entertainers and floats rolls down Landis Avenue between 45th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard in the heart of downtown.
“Many families come down for the weekend,” Custer said of the visitors and owners of vacation homes who use the Halloween celebration for a fall getaway at the shore.
The parade and dance party afterward are the centerpiece of Sea Isle’s holiday celebration, but there are other Halloween events that will add to the boo-tiful atmosphere.
An online Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest allows owners to submit photos of their dogs, cats and other animals through Oct. 29. Winners will be announced Oct. 30. Pet photos may be uploaded to the Sea Isle City Recreation Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the contest, Sea Isle is asking for donations for the Cape May County Animal Shelter & Adoption Center. The wish list includes canned cat food, cat litter, Milk Bone-style dog treats and cotton towels.
Donations for the animal shelter may be dropped off through Oct. 30 at the Sea Isle City Welcome Center (at 300 JFK Boulevard) Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Then on Halloween night, Oct. 31, the ghosts, ghouls and goblins will haunt Sea Isle again for a Trunk or Treat celebration as well as the traditional door-to-door, trick-or-treating at local homes and businesses throughout town.
Trunk or Treat will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. in the municipal parking lot on 42nd Place next to the Welcome Center. Sea Isle is inviting residents, businesses and organizations to distribute candy to the children from the trunks of their vehicles or open tail gates. Details are available by calling the Sea Isle Recreation office at (609) 263-0050.
“We encourage as many people as possible to sign up to make it a fun event for children and families,” Custer said, adding that about 100 Halloweeners are expected.
From 5 to 8 p.m. on Halloween night, children and their families will go door-to-door throughout town for traditional style trick-or-treating.
Homes and businesses that want to be included on the trick-or-treat route Halloween night may call the Recreation office at (609) 263-0050. Details on how to get maps for the route are available by calling the same number.
Last year, traditional trick-or-treating was not canceled, but face coverings, social distancing and other safety protocols were in place as the children made their stops from house to house.