By Erica Quinones
Ghouls and ghosts of Chestertown gathered on High Street to celebrate the 154th annual Halloween parade.
On the brisk morning of Nov. 2, the bells of Stam’s Hall rang to signal the parade’s beginning at 10 a.m.
Organized by local Lion’s Club member Bob Knapp, co-sponsored by the Chestertown Lion’s Club and Washington College Student Government Association, and led by Master of Ceremonies Bill Blake — former 106.9 WCTR DJ — the parade began at the intersection of Dixon Drive and High Street, making its way to Memorial Park.
Around 100 onlookers, some dressed as their favorite monsters, gathered around the park to watch the parade participants as they reached their final destination and the judges.
The judges included members of the Chestertown community as well as Vice President of SGA senior Caitlin Creasy. They sat upon a trailer bed decorated with autumnal leaves and playing atmospheric music.
The participants followed the Chestertown Police Department car, which headed the pack.
Close behind was the Kent County Sheriff car and Town Council Member Linda Kuiper, who arrived in a truck advertising her upcoming reelection bid on Tuesday.
Kuiper joined her fellow judges on stage as the Grand Marshal of the parade.
Following Kuiper was the Chestertown Rescue Squad with trucks and two ambulances, and the Kent County High School marching band.
The group stopped before the judges to play Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj.
Behind the band was the preschool costume competitors, including twins dressed as Woodstock and Snoopy, a dragon who roared into the microphone, and a ferocious Jurassic Park dinosaur trapped in a cage.
The elementary school costumes were creative, with some kids dressed as a vending machine, Colonel Sanders, and an iPhone.
Next was the middle school division with some entries dressed like the Statue of Liberty, a gumball machine, a storm trooper, a grandmother, and a mad scientist.
Child participants were followed by the Chestertown Fire Department, who brought their command vehicle, two engines, a rescue, tower, and tanker truck, and the brush vehicle. In the bed of the brush car stood their Dalmatian mascot.
The next group of competitors were the group costumes. Some ensembles included Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Animal Care Shelter of Kent County with various costumed dogs, the Teen Titans, and caricatures of the Democratic and Republican Party mascots.
This group was followed by the Centreville Middle School band, whose members introduced the float category to the tune of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”
The Radcliffe Creek School came with their boatbuilders float, on which was a boat with a skeleton and a llama aboard.
That llama was made by the Busick family and worn by their daughter. She said her father helped build her costume from cardboard, tape, and felt.
To fend off the local Halloween ghosts, the Kent County community marching band came as the Ghostbusters. Dressed as different characters in ghouls from the movies, they did a rendition of the Ghostbusters theme by Ray Parker Jr. for the judges.
Bringing up the end were a couple horses who performed tricks for the crowd.
These horses were the favorite exhibit in the parade for one member of the Elliott family group. Consisting of three children and their chaperone, the other two kids thoroughly enjoyed the sweet treats thrown by the parade participants. Their chaperone enjoyed the music most.