You may have heard that Alton, Illinois, is considered one of the most haunted small towns in America. On Halloween night, Alton likes to celebrate its spooky reputation with a parade through the heart of downtown.
When and Where
The Alton parade is held every year on Halloween night. It typically kicks off at Broadway and Washington and continues west down Broadway to Piasa Street.
Many parade-watchers start saving their spots along the route several hours before the parade begins. If you want to have a prime location close to the front, it's best to arrive early and pick your spot.
What You'll See
There are usually about 70 different units marching in the parade. They include local high school marching bands, Halloween-themed floats, costumed characters, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. Many of the people in the parade throw candy and other treats to children lining streets, so if you're going with the kids, make sure they bring bags to collect their loot.
Real-Life Alton Haunts
While Alton's Halloween parade is a fun, family-friendly event, there is a darker side to Halloween in Alton. The small town is known for its historic haunted places and real ghost stories. The Mineral Springs Hotel, Old Alton Cemetery, and McPike Mansion are all known for their ghoulish history.
On Halloween night, you can experience the scary side of the McPike Mansion yourself. The mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's believed family members still haunt the old house. Tours of the grounds and cellar are given once a month. You even have the chance to camp out overnight if you dare. There are tours usually given on Halloween night as well. For more information on all the events at the mansion, see the McPike Mansion website.
Other Halloween Fun
The Alton parade isn't the only event in the St. Louis area on Halloween night. Edwardsville also hosts its own Halloween parade. There are also concerts, haunted houses and plenty of trick-or-treating. For more ideas, get some info on fun Halloween happenings for kids and families in the St. Louis area.
More About Alton
If you can't make it to Alton for Halloween, there are many other great times during the year to visit the Mississippi River community. In the fall, Alton and other towns along the Great River Road come alive with beautiful fall colors. In winter, there's no better place to see bald eagles than in Alton and nearby Grafton. For more information on some of the top attractions in Alton, see things to see and do in Alton, Illinois.