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My Hometown: Anoka, Minnesota

Alyssa and Tony Baguss get a thrill out of raising their sons Lane, 17, and Neil, 14, in a quaint town surrounded by the Mississippi and Rum rivers, where over-the-top Halloween celebrations are a major attraction.

By Caren Oppenheim

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Anoka, Minnesota
Joel Holland
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Anoka celebrates Halloween with a week of festivities, planned months in advance. The opening event—and my personal favorite—is the Light Up the Night Parade. The street lights are turned off and all of the floats are lit up. It's usually cold out, so we grab a cup of hot cocoa and bundle up under blankets. Everyone eagerly anticipates the upcoming events, including ghost tours and a pumpkin-carving contest.

This year the local elementary schools will be celebrating on the Friday before Halloween. Kids dress up for class and all the students walk in the Big Parade of Little People. Last year our family helped run a vintage horror film festival—the 1958 version of The Blob was shown—with proceeds benefiting a local homeless shelter. And as for the main event of trick-or-treating, I have one rule: I'll give candy to anyone (adults included) in a costume.

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Originally published in the October 17, 2010, issue of Family Circle magazine.

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