ALEXANDRIA, VA — Kids and pets decked out in spooky costumes won't line the streets of Mount Vernon Avenue for Del Ray's annual Halloween Parade in 2020 due to the pandemic. But organizers will host some of the parade traditions virtually.
The Del Ray Business Association canceled the in-person parade and hopes to hold one in 2021. It typically happens on the Sunday before Halloween.
"Our primary concern is always the health and safety of our community," said Del Ray Halloween Parade organizer Gayle Reuter in a statement. "While we are heartbroken that we can't bring 7,500 ghosts, goblins, superheroes, and princesses to the Avenue for a parade, we're excited about hosting some of our favorite Halloween traditions in a safe, socially-distant format."
The virtual format Halloween event will feature Contests for Best Decorated House, Best Decorated Business, Best Decorated Block, Best Group Costume and Best Pet Costume, as well as a Halloween Scavenger Hunt on the Avenue during Halloween week. The Best Decorated Block contest is new this year, inspired by the creativity of residents during socially-distant porch parties that replaced the First Thursday summer street festivals.
"During the pandemic, we have constantly been in awe of how our community has figured out new ways to connect with our neighbors, safely," said Del Ray Business Association President Sue Kovalsky. "We're excited to see the creativity of neighbors coming together in the group costume contests and block decorating contests."
Here are details on the events:
Best Group Costume Contest: The annual best group costume contests will take place online, with entries due by 12 p.m. on Nov. 1. This replaces the stroller decoration contest. While stoller "floats" are encouraged, one is not required to enter. Enter the contest here.
Best Pet Costume Contest: The annual best pet costume contest will happen virtually with entries due by Oct. 28. Voting will take place Oct. 29 and 30, with winners announced on Oct. 31. Click here to enter.
Best Decorated House Contest: Nominate your house or a neighbor's house for Best Decorated House by Sunday, Oct. 25 at 12 p.m. The Del Ray Business Association will release a map of the top ten nominees by Wednesday, October 28.
Costumes for Children In Need: Traditionally, the Del Ray Business Association collects gently used Halloween costumes and hosts a free costume shop for children. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, DRBA will partner directly with organizations serving Alexandria children in need, giving community members the opportunity to purchase a costume for a specific child. More details will be announced.
Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Walk the Avenue and find Halloween-themed items in Del Ray's murals and decorated businesses. The hunt launches on Friday, October 23. More details will be announced.
Future updates will be provided at www.visitdelray.com/halloween.