We're getting closer to Halloween, so let's look back at a story form last year, a story that's a great example of what makes Minnesota great!

Another in a continuing series looking at Legendary Minnesotans, the people that make this state such a great place to live, work, and play in.


Anoka Minnesota, The Halloween Capitol!

So it seems like the perfect time for this week's Legendary Minnesotan, George Green who saw to it Anoka, Minnesota became the first city in the United States of America to hold a Halloween Celebration.

"Anoka, Minnesota is believed to be the first city in the United States to put on a Halloween celebration to divert its youngsters from Halloween pranks. When Anokans awoke to find their cows roaming Main Street, windows soaped and outhouses tipped over, they decided something had to be done. But what?" (Source)

It was 1920 and Mr . Green and other city leaders suggested a way to keep the kids occupied was with a Halloween parade. It became the big thing everyone in town was working on (in the 1920s, Anoka's population was about 4200 people, so it probably was everyone).

Halloween evening came and it is said more than a thousand kids who had worked hard on their costumes for weeks, marched proudly down the main street. The free popcorn for the kids, then a bonfire, and it was called a success.

But What About the Cows in Anoka, Minnesota?

GT4.6 p8
Anoka Halloween - Bonfire 1936 - Minnesota Historical Society
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Halloween was over and the number of cows let loose on Main Street numbered in the zeros.

Anoka's Halloween Celebration was such a success, it's happened every year since, with only two cancellations; 1942 and 1943 when World War II was raging. By 1937, over 2,000 kids were marching in the parade, 20,000 people came to watch, and Anoka took on the mantel, "Halloween Capitol of the World."

Over time there have been giant pillow fights, concerts, and "in the 1960s, a snake dance that took long lines of participants in and out of area businesses and homes."

That One Time A Trip To Anoka Was a Game Show Prize

I can't find any video of it (dang it YouTube, get with it!), but in the 1970s, the winners on The Dating Game won a trip to Anoka to be in the Halloween parade. How cool is that?


As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: james.rabe@townsquaremedia.com

Speaking of Anoka, here's their 1896 High School Football Team (MNHS)
Speaking of Anoka, here's their 1896 High School Football Team (MNHS)

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