WARRENSBURG - Neither rainy weather nor a weekend date hampered the fun Saturday at Warrensburg's annual Halloween parade.
About 300 children participated in the festivities, which included a march down Main Street and a concluding party held at Warrensburg Elementary School, complete with costume judging.
The events have been a beloved tradition in the community for at least three decades. The event is sponsored by the Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Co.
"With Halloween falling on a Saturday, we didn't think it would be very well attended," Fire Co. President Kevin Geraghty said. "But it was one of the biggest we've had."
Rain didn't dampen the spirits, either. he said.
"The weather was bad, but the kids just came down the streets in droves," he said. "We said, to heck with it, we're going to go ahead with the parade - those kids were troopers, marching through the rain like they did."
While many parades are featuring more and more store-bought getups, many local parents in the Warrensburg area work with their children to create fanciful, humorous costumes, inspiring their creativity and making memories for a lifetime, costume judge Lori Combs said.
She and Gail Olden, Patricia Ross and Maureen Sprague had the difficult task of choosing among the many dozens of homemade getups this year, she said.
"There were so many creative costumes, it's getting so hard to judge the contest," she said.
Some of the notable ones were crafted by parent Diana Kelly, who has made humorous and engaging disguises for her children for years. For this year's Halloween parade, she created a "Mount Rushmore" costume, featuring three of the four presidents' heads portrayed faithfully in paper mache and the fourth bust, of course, was the head of the marcher, one of her children.
"It was really good work," Combs said, noting that another child of Kelly's was garbed as a Quaker granola bar, and another was a Mario character.
Other creative depictions this year included "Three Men in a Tub" from storybook fame, with one child as a butcher, one a baker, and one a candlestick maker.
Not to be outdone, the Birdsall triplets of Thurman were all dressed as ducks, Combs said. Another child represented a box of popcorn, and another portrayed Little Bo Peep.
The parade through town was with children leading a fire truck, blaring "Monster Mash" and other Halloween-themed music through its public address system, while fire police and a county patrol officer held back traffic.
At the concluding party and judging event, the fire company members had inflated hundreds of Halloween-themed balloons with ribbons attached, so the children could haul them down from the school lobby's ceiling to take home. Some had dollar bills inside, Combs said.
The firefighters also gave out Halloween bracelets, coloring books and crayons. The local V.F.W. Post Ladies' Auxiliary served up doughnuts and cider.
The judges gave out 45 trophies, 15 per age group, Geraghty said, for the cleverest disguises.
"We'll be buying more trophies next year," he said. "There were so many creative costumes, and you hate to turn any one of them down."