The Rosewood Halloween Parade will return for a third year on Sunday, Oct. 30. (Photo provided by Christopher Reid)

A neighborhood children’s parade sounded like a good idea to celebrate Halloween during the pandemic, but Rosewood parents will keep it going this year.

The 3rd Annual Rosewood Halloween Parade will take place Sunday, Oct. 30, the day before Halloween this year. Rosewood moms Amy Johnson and Katie Reid started the parade in October 2020. While many events in Columbia saw their demise at the start of the pandemic, Johnson and Reid saw it as a COVID-era opportunity to bring their community together.

Johnson said the parade offered a socially distanced activity for anyone, regardless of their “risk tolerance.”

“People were weary about approaching a front door,” Johnson said. “Stale air even underneath a porch was scary to some people. This was essentially risk free.”

Families line the neighborhood streets with candy and noisemakers. Kids don their costumes and walk the perimeter of Rosewood Park. Parents and grandparents set up chairs along the path and bring candy to distribute. 

“The kids’ perspective is awesome. It’s bonus candy — not even on Halloween,” said Christopher Reid, Katie’s husband.

Reid said his job is to bring a speaker and play a “spooky Halloween mix” for a dance party at the end of the parade.

Johnson said the parade offered a chance for some Rosewood neighbors to meet for the very first time.

“My kid had a classmate who lived right around the corner, and we didn’t even know this until the Rosewood Parade,” Johnson said. “She can bike to her house now.”

Planned Halloween participation in the U.S. fell from 70 to 58% in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic being a likely reason, according to data by Statista. The Rosewood Halloween Parade represents a contradiction to that trend. For Johnson, the parade speaks to her community’s love for gathering.

“I think these little events create opportunities for serendipitous interactions with people,” Johnson said. “Kids have safer childhoods and neighborhoods are more social when people have an excuse to get together.”