The Disney Streets Halloween parade is a highly orchestrated event, the result of months of planning. The impetus behind it, however, was not nearly as thought out.
“The idea for the parade was conceived over margaritas,” says Dawn Candee, who helped launch the parade 23 years ago. “A group of us moms were lounging in the back yard talking about how we wanted to meet more neighborhood families with kids. We decided a parade would be a good way to do that, and Halloween was the next big holiday, so we just made it up as we went.”
Candee and her neighbors Lisa Watkins, Marsha McBee and Kate Anderson threw together that first parade, winging it all the way.
“We were shocked how many people turned out that first year,” says Watkins, who estimates that at least 100 neighbors turned out for that inaugural parade. Today, closer to 300 people attend.
“I think there’s a real need for this in our neighborhood,” Watkins says. “It’s a tradition that connects neighbors.”
She says the kids who have grown up attending the parade anticipate the yearly highlights; one is Paul Pfrommer, who since the very beginning has roamed the streets in a tuxedo dazzling kids with magic tricks. Or McBee, who for decades has led the parade route down Snow White Lane appropriately dressed as Snow White.
“Marcia has been Snow White every single year,” Anderson says. “So on the 20-year anniversary of the parade, about 18 of us neighborhood ladies decided we’d surprise Marcia by all dressing up as Snow White as well. We spent about two weeks going to all the party stores across Dallas buying all the Snow White costumes they had. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it when we saw the look on her face: She was shocked.”
After a short route through the Disney Streets, it’s a longstanding tradition for the parade to end in Anderson’s front yard with a big celebration. There are piñatas for all the kids, as well as free popcorn and apple cider. Only these days, you’re not likely to find Anderson actually attending the party in her front yard. That’s because she and the other parade founders have passed the baton to the next generation of neighborhood moms.
“I still let everyone use my front yard for tradition’s sake,” Anderson says. “Last year, all of us actually went on a vacation during the parade, and everyone just had a party in my front yard — it was a nice change of pace.
“But honestly, it was hard for me let go of the parade. It took me the longest out of everyone to let go, but it was time.”
Time, she says, because all of the founders’ kids are grown now.
“It’s been a fun run,” Watkins says. “But it’s time for the next generation to take over. We’re just happy it’s continuing and that we got to be a part of it. The Disney Streets Halloween parade is a special neighborhood tradition, and we hope it continues for another 23 years.”
This year’s Disney Streets Halloween parade will be Sunday, Oct. 25, at 4 p.m. The parade starts at the corner of Snow White Lane and Northaven Road, and proceeds south. Everyone is encouraged to wear a costume and bring decorated wagons, strollers, scooters and bikes. After the parade, everyone is invited to enjoy piñatas, cider and popcorn.
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