The annual Betsy Ross Halloween Parade was more festive than spooky, this year. There were princesses, a court jester and a clown clomping in plastic Bozo shoes. Several teachers favored the peaked-hat look, though, and the whole school was later subjected to some hocus pocus.

Principal Bill Milnamow walked down the middle of Marengo Avenue, as the colorful procession headed south for two blocks before circling back north. He acknowledged that Betsy Ross was the last Forest Park school to keep its Halloween parade alive.

“It’s great. The neighbors come out to see the kids,” Milnamow said.

After characters like the werewolf, and Mario and Luigi assembled back at the gym, Milnamow greeted the student body.

“Good morning, Mr. Milnamow,” they thundered back.

He then introduced “Magic Mike” Hall, who amazed students with his sleight of hand. Various assistants like a zombie, a witch and a ballerina volunteered to assist. Many were astounded when Magic Mike’s hand-drawn self-portrait came to life and started rapping.

The Betsy Ross PTO had booked Magic Mike. They also brought with them cupcakes and other treats that were colored in festive orange and black.

Many parents who lined the parade route also attended the assembly; and the school staff members, several in costume, were happy participants, too. Librarian Courtney McGarry not only wore a cornflower blue “Dorothy” dress, her Yorkshire terrier stood in for Toto.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.