MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Halloween tradition will see some big changes in Anoka this fall and it is causing a king-sized controversy.

Anoka is known as the “Halloween Capital of the World,” in a tradition dating back to nearly 100 years ago.

A nonprofit that runs the yearly Halloween parades in Anoka has decided to ban handing out candy from the parade route. The organization in charge said on their Facebook page that they don’t have enough volunteers to monitor safety during the parade which draws large crowds.

The statement from Anoka Halloween, Inc. reads:

“We had a very difficult time coming to this decision. Due to the downturn of volunteering and large crowds- we are having a hard time monitoring safety.

Last year we had several children under tow vehicles trying to get candy in the street and 3 floats “mobbed” for more candy. This behavior has slowly increased over the past few years. As a non-profit organization, any accident would threaten our existence and crush our festival.

If you have any suggestions on how we can have the participants and volunteers keep children safe, please let us know. We have been brainstorming on different ways to have candy distributed.

We had hoped that the floats and bands were why people were coming to our parade, but we are learning that candy is very important.”

Anoka resident and author Roxy Orcutt wrote a book about the rich history of Anoka’s Halloween celebrations, called “History and Hauntings of the Halloween Capital.”

As a parent, Orcutt said she has a hard time imagining the festivities will be as enjoyable without candy for the children to enjoy.

“I think it is a little unusual,” Orcutt said. “I understand you need manpower to make those things safe for people but there is also parental responsibility.”

Orcutt said she doesn’t know if as many people will attend the parades but her 6-year-old daughter Violet said she will still enjoy the parade.

“I don’t like the idea but you still get to trick-or-treat and you get a lot of candy then from going door to door and all over.”

Anoka City Hall was getting phone calls about the candy ban and wants to remind people it is not the city’s event.

The nonprofit Anoka Halloween is welcoming feedback from people about how they can still incorporate candy into the event without fearing for children’s safety.

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