By Donald Wittkowski
Shortly before 7 p.m., the rain-swept streets in downtown Ocean City were ghostly quiet.
Then, about 15 minutes later, things came alive. The ghosts showed up. And the ghouls. And the goblins. And all sorts of other spooky creatures.
Some frightful weather didn’t scare away the crowds Thursday night as the 69th edition of the city’s Halloween parade made its way down Asbury Avenue to the delight of hundreds of costumed children.
Intermittent rain forced spectators to take cover under storefront awnings after the parade began at 7:15 p.m., but that didn’t stop the children from having a monstrously good time.
Jace Siniscalchi, 3, dressed up as the Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man for the parade.
“My costume is Spider-Man,” Jace announced with a smile. Then he held up his hands to show how he would spin his web.
“This is his first parade ever. It’s just magical,” said Jace’s mother, Caitlynne Siniscalchi, of Egg Harbor Township.
Charlotte Mae Bogie, another 3-year-old, had her face and hands painted green and her hair dyed orange for her wicked witch costume.
“She’s really excited for the trick-or-treating,” said Brandi Bogie, Charlotte Mae’s mother. “She likes to dress up.”
Bogie, who lives in Fort Irwin, Calif., brought Charlotte Mae to Ocean City to visit with her grandmother. The parade was expected to be a highlight of their trip.
Dating to 1947, Ocean City’s Halloween parade is one of the oldest in the tri-state area. City spokesman Doug Bergen said the parade reflects the resort town’s family-friendly reputation.
“It is certainly a family holiday, and a parade fits in with our image as America’s Greatest Family Resort,” Bergen said, referring to the city’s tourism slogan.
A procession of colorful floats, marching bands and groups of dancers followed behind an escort of police cars, fire trucks and ambulances that flashed their lights and blared their sirens. The parade crawled down Asbury Avenue between Sixth and 11th streets.
Some displays consisted of parents pulling their costumed children down the street in Halloween-themed toy wagons. One little boy dressed as Count Dracula waved to the crowds from inside a tiny coffin.
Owen Bowker, 2, played Thomas the Tank Engine, the small fictional steam locomotive from The Railway Series books. His father, Frank Bowker, of Upper Township, created a miniature Thomas the Tank Engine float that featured an Ocean City theme.
Not all of the Halloween marchers were children. About 25 women from the Colony Club of Ocean City paraded down the street in costumes donated by fellow member Mary Rogers. They dedicated their march to Rogers, who could not be with them for the parade, said club member Jane Snyder, of Ocean City.
The Colony Club is an organization that raises money for scholarships and local charities. Snyder explained that the club members have been dressing up for the Halloween parade in the last three years. Snyder was costumed Thursday night as Glinda the Good Witch, from the Wizard of Oz.
“It’s a fun thing to do,” Snyder said. “It’s good for our organization. It gets everybody together.”