Saturday October 27, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Pittsfield residents received at least one Halloween treat this year before potentially tricky weather moves into the Berkshires.

The 68th annual Pittsfield Halloween parade attracted at least 9,500 people to Tyler Street Friday night, according to Rebecca Tefft, the city's recreational activities coordinator. That made it a graveyard smash when compared to the 7,500 that showed up for a snow-covered parade last year.

"This is really about the community celebrating Halloween," Tefft said. "It's really for the kids and for them to participate in the community."

The event definitely brought out the kid in everyone. People of all ages took the opportunity to break in their costumes, be it Spider-Man, a zombie, a Pharaoh, or a dead cheerleader (a "cheerless leader").

The Berkshire Fathers of Shared Families' float was a collection of spiders, skeletons and tombstones put together by nearly 20 people, though it had no specific theme.

"It's just a scary place to be," said Berkshire Fathers of Shared Families member Jim Doran.

John Daniels, another member of the organization, said the float was done with fellow member Kara Quigley in mind. Quigley is currently in a Hartford, Conn., hospital after suffering a brain aneurysm.

Quigley will be happy to hear that the organization's float won second place for the second year in a row.

Unlike the annual Fourth of July parade, the Halloween parade recognizes individual schools and not just school districts as a whole, Tefft said. The Pittsfield, Taconic and Drury high school bands all marched toward the front of the parade.

In the back, the Pittsfield High School Spanish Club themed its float after the Span ish holiday that translates to Day of the Dead, a day in Spain that honors the dead, according to a group of excited Pittsfield High School students who took turns talking over each other.

They were awarded first-place honors at the end of the night. Mystic Lodge won third place for a float with a guillotine effect.

The parade gave those who lined the street, a chance to come together and enjoy the sights, sounds and parade-friendly weather.

"We usually come every year," said Pittsfield resident Col leen Stracuzzi, standing with her husband and a friend. Eight children, some the Stra cuzzis' and some her friend's, watched with them.

"The kids love it and always get excited," Colleen said.

To reach Adam Poulisse:
(413) 496-6214,
or apoulisse@berkshireeagle.com.
On Twitter: @BE_Poulisse