Minneapolis October 11, 2017
The One Small Town Near Minneapolis That Transforms Into A Terrifying Halloween Wonderland
The month of October is a special time of year — when the ghouls, vampires, goblins, and witches in all of us get to come out to play. We decorate our houses with spiders, skeletons, and carved jack o’lanterns, we eat our weight in candy, and we thrill-seek through horror movies and haunted houses. It’s a miraculous month for those who love Halloween, and we have the perfect place to celebrate! Minneapolitans are incredibly lucky to live less than a half hour away from the Halloween Capital of the World!
Welcome to Anoka, Minnesota!
This town of roughly 17,000 people lies just north of the city of Minneapolis. The town was officially founded in 1920, but settlers moved to the area along the Rum River as early as the 1840s.
How did Anoka become the Halloween Capital of the World?
Anoka's adults in the 1920s were sick of kids playing pranks on others in the town every Halloween. In order to divert the youth of the town, community members decided to throw a gigantic celebration for the spooky holiday featuring an evening parade followed by treats for children and an enormous town bonfire. The tradition carries on today, and boy is Anoka proud to be the Halloween Capital.
Residents of Anoka really get into the Halloween spirit.
It's not uncommon to see yards throughout the town decked out with gravestones, ghosts, skeletons, and pumpkins. The Halloween Capital could not keep its title without community involvement!
Local small businesses even join in on the fun!
Some displays are downright creepy, while others appeal to the goofier, more child-friendly side of Halloween.
Anoka couldn't be the Halloween Capital without some serious hauntings of its own.
Since much of Anoka is historic, many homes, apartment complexes, and business are said to have spirits haunting them. It makes it fun for Halloween, but can definitely be spooky all year round.
Even professional institutions remain haunted by ghosts.
The infamous Anoka State Hospital ran from 1900-1999, where patients were subject to lobotomies and other outdated practices. The ghosts of patients are said to haunt the former hospital's grounds. Others haunt the cemetery, where until recently, many of the deceased were buried in graves only marked by numbers.
Hauntings aside, the biggest events in Anoka every October are of course the Halloween parades.
Yes, parades as in plural. Anoka hosts a kiddie parade to entertain elementary-aged students, a parade in the evening, followed by The Grand Parade. Elaborate floats are built with varying seasonal themes. People from all over the state of Minnesota flock to Anoka for this event.
Kids love the free candy thrown at the parade!
Candy was almost banned in 2017, but sugar addicts have spoken and Halloween candy is here to stay. It's just practice for Halloween trick or treating.
To keep the Halloween festivities going, Anoka hosts pumpkin carving contests.
There are contests for kids and for adults. You wouldn't believe how talented some of these people are. Jack o' lanterns light up the entire town on Halloween night.
Wondering how to visit this Halloween wonderland from Minneapolis? It's easy!
Many Minneapolitans who use public transit to get most places will be thrilled to know that the Northstar Train that begins at Target Field will take people to Anoka in a heartbeat, so you can celebrate the holiday safely.
Halloween will be here before you know it! Anoka’s Halloween parades are celebrating their 97th anniversary. The night parade is on October 21 and starts at 7 p.m. and the Grande Day Parade is on October 28th beginning at 1 p.m. How are you going to celebrate Halloween this year? Let us know in the comments below.
If you’re interested in Anoka’s haunted past, read
This Creepy Asylum Near Minneapolis Is Still Standing… And Still Disturbing.