Stars of the Lititz Halloween Parade

By on October 29, 2014
Ella Fotiou and her hot air balloon. Second place for cutest in the Children's Division.

Ella Fotiou and her hot air balloon. Second place for cutest in the Children’s Division.

Shedding some light on Halloween

Tallulah Shaub and Reese Manz say, "Welcome to the Jungle!" They won first place for "Cutest" in the Children's Division.

Tallulah Shaub and Reese Manz say, “Welcome to the Jungle!” They won first place for “Cutest” in the Children’s Division.

The Darling (and amazing) Domestic Divas, fronting by the power vocals of MaryLynn Lavender!

The Darling (and amazing) Domestic Divas, fronting by the power vocals of MaryLynn Lavender!

The Lititz Halloween Parade kicked off Saturday morning in the bright fall sunshine, a change implemented this year as the annual event moved from nighttime to morning.

The parade, sponsored by the Lititz Lions Club, changed times after Lititz Police Chief William Seace expressed earlier this year that he had safety concerns. But all of the changes, from daytime to a shorter route, helped alleviate those fears, Seace said Sunday.

The new kickoff time of 9:30 a.m. didn’t hinder many locals from rising early to save a spot along East Main Street.

Ray and Dianne Kline had missed the parade the past few years because of nighttime engagements, but they were excited to bring their daughter-in-law, Jen Kline, and three grandchildren, Nicholas, 4; Claire, 2, and Tommy, 5 months.

Ray and Nicholas took care of reserving the family’s prime viewing spot by placing a few lawn chairs on the sidewalk just before 7 a.m. Saturday.

“I’m an old timer, and I just think a Halloween parade should be in the dark,” Ray Kline said. “But I know it’s safer for the kids to do it during the day, and that’s really what matters.”

Mike and Jennifer Smith, along with their 6-year-old son, Zachary, and 3-year-old daughter, Savannah, arrived just a few minutes before the parade would start and had no problems finding a spot to place their blanket on the sidewalk.

“It was a challenge for us to get everyone up and in costume this morning,” Mike said, noting Zachary’s head-to-toe Spiderman costume and Savannah’s Hello Kitty themed attire.

Kelton Wenger and his amazing MVP trophy costume.

Kelton Wenger and his amazing MVP trophy costume.

But rising early would pay off for many princesses and superheroes as they filled buckets with candy handed out by passing Lititz Police officers, float attendants and even larger-than-life Lego figures.

The Darling Domestic Divas of Lititz donned celebrity-inspired costumes on the Bomberger’s float, shouting out to those they passed about the hardware store’s Nov. 20 Ladies Night.

Most of the divas are 60 and older and get together for various social events, including an upcoming wrapping party for Have Yourself a Merry Lititz Christmas.

“I don’t think there was a single person who didn’t know about Ladies Night by the time the parade was over,” said Kathy Blankenbiller, who helped create the float theme. “We like to have fun and be over the top. I think we were pretty successful at that.”

Similar to last year’s parade, during which the divas performed a shopping cart dance for the judges, domestic diva Mary Lynn Lavender sang an original song about Halloween.

“It was short and brief and goofy, but that’s what we aim for,” Blankenbiller said. “One of us gets an idea about something and it’s pretty easy to convince the others to follow.”

Lititz Lions Club President Steve Brandt said parade organizers really stressed early registration this year, with a deadline of Oct. 17. The mailbox was full with applications, he added.

Riding in a Ford F-150 on Saturday, Brandt noticed the first stretch of the parade was a little sparse in attendance, but it was packed from Linden Hall to the end.

“It was a lot safer, and that was our primary concern,” he said.

Seace added that there were no security or safety issues during the parade.

One of his favorite aspects of the parade is to see the joy on children’s faces as he passes by in the lead police cruiser, and there was no shortage of smiles this year, he said.

“Daylight provided excellent safety buffers for our children, adults and traveling public,” Seace said. “Like anything new, the first year is usually the hardest, but I heard more positive comments than negative.”

Planning for next year’s parade will start in November, and board members, along with borough officials and police, will review all possible time and date suggestions during that process, Brandt said.

Whatever the outcome of those meetings, the parade is about the kids, he said.

“You see it in their faces; They’re happy,” Brandt said. “Daytime or nighttime, a parade is a parade to them.”

Rebecca Hanlon is a freelance feature reporter for the Record Express. Also, check out Pat Burns’ parade video on lititzrecord.com, and Steve Seeber’s parade commentary in this week’s print edition (on newsstands now).

The Hughes family as "Rock, Paper and Scissors." They won first place for "Most Original" in the Group Division. (photos by Preston Whitcraft)

The Hughes family as “Rock, Paper and Scissors.” They won first place for “Most Original” in the Group Division. (photos by Preston Whitcraft)

The Lausch family was one of three to portray a Wizard of Oz theme. They won a second place prize in the Children's Division.

The Lausch family was one of three to portray a Wizard of Oz theme. They won a second place prize in the Children’s Division.

The WHS Unite Club wins first place for "Cutest" in the Group Division, and raises awareness for Four Diamonds.

The WHS Unite Club wins first place for “Cutest” in the Group Division, and raises awareness for Four Diamonds.

 

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