TOMS RIVER, NJ – For over 80 years, the small downtown village of Toms River has hosted one of the biggest Halloween parties in the entire world. While local officials claim it’s the second-largest Halloween parade in the world, but the Guinness Worlds Records could not officially verify that claim.
Each year between 5,000 and 7,000 people line Main Street in Toms River and watch Halloween-themed parade floats go by, created by civic organizations from around the region.
The annual Toms River Halloween parade is hosted by Toms River Fire Company No. 1 and this month it is hosting its 83rd annual parade.
“This parade is brought to you by the hard-working and dedicated volunteer firefighters that also answer your calls 365 days and nights a year,” the Toms River Fire Co. No. 1 said about the parade. “We have a lot of great supporters and donators that allow us to make this happen. We will be positing those company’s and family’s in the future so that you can show your support to them if your life style allows.”
The parade is one of the largest off-season events held at the Jersey Shore, rivaling the Asbury Park zombie parade and the Wildwood firefighter convention. It’s something community leaders are proud of.
“We have the best Halloween parade in the state, maybe even the country, but the volunteers who put it together, including all the groups, the firefighters and bands, and community groups are the ones who do the work, and they do a great job.” Councilman Daniel Rodrick said. “It’s something my family looks forward to every year.
The parade begins at the intersection of Route 37 and Main Street and heads south on Main Street toward the downtown center.
“The Toms River Halloween Parade is a fun family tradition,” said Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill. “Fire Co. 1 does a great job every year and we look forward to seeing everyone at the 83rd parade on Monday, October 31.”
In past years, the parade had been held on October 31st and the township celebrated trick-or-treat on the 30th. That changed for a few years, but this year, the longtime Halloween tradition is returning to Toms River.
For many kids in Toms River, the October 30th trick-or-treat gives them a chance to double-dip on Halloween as surrounding towns continue to host the Halloween tradition on the 31st.
“Parade is October 31st which is a Monday and it starts at 7pm And remember, bring the change in your pocket, a dollar or whatever you can and place it in the bucket of the Toms River Volunteer Fire Co 1 members as the walk the parade route accepting donation. It helps us offset the cost of the parade that we incur during this large event,” the fire company said.
If you have any questions about the parade or how you can be a part of the greatest event in Toms River, you can contact the fire department in person or on Facebook. Registration for the parade is Monday, Oct 31st starting at 8 am at the Toms River Fire Co 1 firehouse at 26 Robbins Street in Downtown Toms River.