Despite the traditional Ragamuffin Halloween parade in Hoboken each year, the holiday isn’t just for kids anymore — as evidenced by the number of families who decorate their houses from top to bottom, dress up, and share wine and pizza with neighbors during trick-or-treating.
“I can’t wait,” said mom Marta Miller of Garden Street, who said she and her husband hand out candy and split a bottle of red wine with neighbors each year.
Her family has also erected their annual “Scary Man” decoration outside their home for 15 years. Miller said that although her children have grown up and “flown the nest,” she still sends them a picture of “Scary Man” every year.
The creature wore a Donald Trump wig last year, but – she said — it would be “too scary to do this year.”
Miller was among many people interviewed Tuesday night who were looking forward to the parade and trick-or-treating in this densely populated, mile-square town.
This year, the traditional Ragamuffin Parade takes place Oct. 31 at 3:30 p.m. starting at 12th and Washington streets. The costume contest starts at 4:30 p.m. (see sidebar for details).
A family affair
Tuesday night, 9-year-old Arza Bhalla was excited about the holiday. She had helped her family decorate their Garden Street home with spider webs, lights, and a dancing skeleton. Arza’s younger brother Shabegh, 4 ¾ years old (the three-quarters are important), was quick to point to the skeleton as a favorite.
“My walkie talkie already has batteries in it.” – Shabegh Bhalla
Shabegh said he’s dressing as a soldier this year, and “My walkie talkie already has batteries in it.” Arza was deciding between Rey and Princess Leia from Star Wars.
Two blocks away, local mom Kate DeCock was getting in her car to fetch her kids from soccer practice. She and her three kids decked out their house in lights, pumpkins, and webs.
She said her family, who live on Ninth and Bloomfield streets, would go to the parade and then trick or treat around the block.
On Garden Street, sisters Abigail, 9 ¾, and Soleil , 5, said they will be dressing up as Victorian ladies and attending the parade.
Abigail said her favorite part about Halloween was when the “sugar fairies” visit.
“You leave all your candy out and go to bed and when you wake up you get an object in exchange,” she explained.
She and her family decorated with Dia de los Muertos skulls that they painted themselves, and have more decorations to put up.
Meanwhile, Jessica Someck, who moved to Hudson Street in May, was impressed by the show of community.
“Everyone is involved,” she said.
She had yet to decorate, but had bought webs and fake blood stickers for the windows. She planned on putting skulls on the posts of her fence.
Steven Vizena, a local visual artist, used his home not only as a canvas for a Halloween decoration, but to provoke “kids to think about art.”
Vizena said his piece is a comment on shifting dimensions and the connection of mind, body, and spirit as well as people’s perceptions of reality.
The structure appears to be a spirit with outreached arms and a partially shielded face.
Marilyn Baer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ragamuffin parade will take place Monday, Oct. 31, at 3:30 p.m. Children, pets, and families can don their Halloween best and march from the intersection of 12th and Washington streets to Fifth Street and River Terrace before ending at the Little League Field for the annual costume contest at 4:30 p.m.
Geri Fallo, the city’s administrator of cultural affairs, said the parade “is always lots of unexpected fun, since we never know who will be joining in.”
Fallo said onlookers can expect to see the high school band, the Funny Factory Clown Band, Nitro Comedy Stunt Car, HoBOOken Float, radio station FRESH 102.7, Charrito’s Mexican Resteraunt Float, the Garden Street School of the Performing Arts students, “and of course 1,000 costumed children and their parents.”
Ron Albanese, AKA Polka Dot, a local children’s entertainer and former Hoboken resident, will be the emcee of the costume contest. But Fallo thought it best not to reveal the judges yet.
The judges will pick the “best creative costume” in five age categories. They categories are ages 2 and younger, ages 3 to 5, ages 6 to 8, ages 9 to 12, and a combined family and adult category.
Participants interested in the contest do not need to register. Simply show up at 4:30 p.m. in your Halloween best.