If you have always wanted to go to a real-life Halloween town, you don't have to travel far from the St. Cloud area. The Halloween Capital of the World is located just an hour drive southeast on Hwy 10 in Anoka.

How did this town of only 17,000 people end up being the Halloween capital? It was one of the first cities in the country that threw a celebration in order to detour kids from causing trouble on Halloween night according to AmericasLibrary.gov:

In 1920, a weeklong celebration was started in Anoka in an effort to take the trick out of trick-or-treat. The Grand Day Parade includes a Mass Band, made up of bands from four high schools. Another featured event is the Gray Ghost 5K Run, inspired by sightings of Bill Andberg, a marathon runner in his 70s whose gray-clad ghostly figure can often be seen running through a local cemetery.

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These days Halloween in Anoka is less about stopping trouble makers and more about providing opportunities for the community to support schools and scholarships, and offering family-friendly activities.

There are multiple events that will be happening in Anoka throughout the month of October to celebrate the upcoming holiday:

Coloring Contest: Running October 1st - 23rd. Pick up your original design coloring sheet at Rumriver Art Center, Anoka Halloween gift shop, and Anoka Chamber during business hours. Winners will receive a one-of-a-kind Anoka Halloween Ribbon and a special prize.

Pumpkin Weigh-Off, Scarecrow Contest, Adult Pumpkin Carving Contest: October 3rd. See some of the largest pumpkins grown in the state along with creative Scarecrows and carved pumpkins.

Blood Drive: October 4th. Look for the van to roll into town and scare the vampires away on this very important mission.

House Decorating Contest Public Viewing: October 29th - 30th. View from your car this year. Enjoy seeing the awesome transformation of each of the participants.

Parades: Light Up the Night Parade on October 23rd, Big Parade of Little People (elementary student costume parade) on October 29th, Grande Day Parade on Main Street October 30th.

Other events include outdoor movie nights, scavenger hunts, wine and painting nights, bonfires, and more. To see the full list of events visit AnokaHalloween.com.

Happy Halloween, how lucky are we that the perfect place to celebrate is such a short drive from our area?

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