By Marielle Mohs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Saturday marks 100 years of celebrating Halloween in Anoka. The city prides itself in being the Halloween capital of the world, but COVID-19 concerns have changed the way they’re able to celebrate.

“We’re as planned as we think we are for the unknown,” Liz McFarland, Anoka’s Halloween president, said.

The Halloween parade typically draws over 60,000 people each year, packing Main Street, but this year large group gathering restrictions are preventing that from happening.

McFarland says the committee worked hard to adjust plans in midst of a pandemic by making the parade drive-by only and separated into four different areas to spread people out.

“We have organized it to be in your car. You drive by the floats and move on,” said McFarland.

With the parade being drive through only, they ask that people come prepared to for a long car line.

“People are really going to have to be patient with us,” McFarland said.

One tradition that has not been impacted by the pandemic is the house decorating contest. This year’s winner is Dan Wiswell, who has been decorating his home and participating in the contest for the last 11 years.

Wiswell says Halloween is bigger than Christmas for him and the tradition is all about family, which is why this year brought a deeper meaning for him.

“I lost my dad in June to cancer,” Wiswell said. “I initially said, when things turned in his prognosis, that I’m taking a year off, but he affirmed to me, ‘No, you need to do this.'”

Wiswell honored his father by showing his picture in the display. If you want to walk through the display, we’ll be welcoming trick-or-treaters from dusk to 10 p.m.

The drive-by parade is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. For locations on where the parade displays will be set up, click here. All the Anoka events are free and open to public. They’re just asking everyone to stay in their car to avoid foot traffic.

Marielle Mohs