Sunday is going to be a horrible day. And for hundreds of Wilmington children, that’s a good thing.
The Wilmington Recreation Department is hosting the town’s 45th annual Horribles Parade this afternoon as more than 500 children are expected to walk down Church Street decked out in their Halloween costumes.
“This is one of our favorite events of the year,” said Recreation Director Debbie Cipriani. “A lot of families come to the parade together, which is really nice. It’s become a family event where different generations can come and socialize. It’s a great community event.”
Families are encouraged to arrive at the Public Safety Building prior to 4:30 p.m. That’s when the group of costumed children will leave to walk down Church Street, led by police and fire trucks, as they march to Wilmington High School.
Upon arrival at the high school, participants will head into the cafeteria where a room full of Wilmington businesses and groups will be handing out candy and other items.
Among those groups will be Wilmington Patch, which will be handing out bubbles, candy and more.
Cipriani said the event has gotten bigger as the years have gone on. She recalled a recent Horribles Parade where it was evident midway through that there was going to be a shortage of candy.
Thanks to the Wilmington Police Department, the Recreation Director received an escort to a nearby store where she was able to stock up and keep the kids happy.
According to Cipriani, the hard work that goes into planning the event is well worth it when she sees the looks on the children’s faces during the parade.
“Seeing them coming, I get chills because they’re so excited,” said Cipriani. “Every year there is a costume that will floor you. People are so creative. It’s nice because there is always a good mix. People put costumes together, there are store bough costumes and there are some that are just extraordinary.”
In addition to the children who march in the parade, there are often a large number of families who skip the march and instead wait at the high school for just the Trick-or-Treat portion of the day in the cafeteria.
Cipriani said families are welcome either way, but those who marched in the parade will have first priority and will be let into the cafeteria first.
“It’s only fair. But there are plenty of treats for everybody,” said Cipriani, who said the popularity of the Horribles Parade is just another example of what makes Wilmington special. “When we did the 275th anniversary of the town, the motto was ‘Small town, big family.’ I think that really holds true. This is a close knit community, and events like this are always well attended. That’s why we keep offering them.”