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Halloween block party grows into parade, concerning police

Roundtree neighborhood celebration began 15 years ago with a handful of families

October 31, 2012|by Mike Landis, KY3 News | mlandis@ky3.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Creatures of the night, superheroes, and all kinds of critters invaded the Roundtree neighborhood on Wednesday night.

"It started out about 15 years ago just as a couple of families that were trick-or-treating together," said resident Chris Burns.

But since then, the annual Halloween parade has grown into a monster.

"We usually have a thousand trick or treaters that come through here. It is crazy," Burns said.

The city decided the event is no longer just a block party, but a parade.  The Springfield Police Department told organizers, if the procession were to continue, the neighborhood would have to take out a permit, insurance, and pay for police protection where the route crosses busy Grand Street.

City spokeswoman Cora Scott says the issue is about safety, and the risk of having such a large amount of people crossing a busy street.  Scott said the crowd could have used a nearby crosswalk with a stoplight to get across, but the organizers expressed reservations about breaking up the procession in such a manner.

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"The police felt that we were really taking our chances with a  very excited child letting go of their parents hand at the wrong time and dodging [into traffic]," Burns said.

But this wasn’t going to be the ‘death’ of this hallowed event.   With such short notice, organizers simply moved the parade route so it didn’t cross busy streets.  That exempted them from the permit and insurance.

Most residents say they get the point, and are just glad the parade was able to march on for another Happy Halloween.

Chris Burns said the neighborhood association may collect money in the coming months to pay for the permitting and police protections requirements.  That would allow the parade to return to its original routing across Grand next year.

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