Dressed in their Halloween best as they await the parade are, from left: Roger Kriegl, 7; John Yirrell, 7; Cyran Willis, 7; and Camron Genoter, 7, all of Pelham, VALLEY DISPATCH/BENJAMIN J. MCELROY

BY JENNIFER AMY MYERS, Valley Dispatch Staff

PELHAM — The unaware may have thought the entire town was burning to the ground at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 22, as the townwide fire alarm wailed from the center of town and four Fire Department vehicles screeched down Marsh Road, honking their horns and blaring their sirens.

The fire engines were closely followed by 300 residents, including Darth Vader, Piglet, Spiderman, and a plethora of pretty princesses. The only smoke was from spooky dry ice and there was no fire. It was the seventh annual Horribles Parade, sponsored by the Pelham Fire Department.

The parade marched from the fire station to the Pelham Memorial School, and the spirit of the happy Halloweeners weren’t hampered as a light drizzle fell over the Horribles parade, which was anything but horrible.

“On Halloween there isn’t a lot of time to observe and really check out everyone’s costumes,” said Elena Resendes, who walked the parade route with her daughter Amanda, 11. “The kids really look forward to this.”

Amanda, clad is psychedelic flower-covered bell bottoms, a funky patchwork coat, and round red sunglasses, all accented by a peace sign tattoo on her forehead, said she could not believe people actually wore those things in the 1960s and 1970, calling them “just too weird.”

Elena quickly defended the hippies of yore, declaring that Amanda’s day-to- day clothes are equally as strange.

“Her regular clothes could have passed for this,” she laughed. “She has naturally odd taste.”

The parade was started seven years ago by Pelham firefighter Richard Hanegan, who was the president of the firefighters union at the time.

“We were looking for something that we could do for the community throughout the year,” he said. “We already had our Christmas Yuletide thing, and the people really seem to love it and come back every year.”

Cinderella (aka Ashlee Locke, 5) found no difficulty in trotting up Marsh Road in plastic high-heeled shoes and a blue ballgown with matching opera-length gloves, her hair in a sophisticated up-do, held in place by a shimmering, bejeweled blue tiara. She was a princess on a mission — get to the M&Ms.

After getting all hopped up on sugar, the kids were loaded onto hay rides, one a gentle and fun ride for the younger kids and the other a scary trip through the woods for those with a more adventurous spirit.

“On the scary ride we have people chasing the hay ride with chainsaws, dead people hanging in trees, stuff like that,” Hanegan said. “It’s pretty wild and a lot of fun.”

Have a story idea? E-mail Jennifer Amy Myers at jmyers@thevalleydispatch.com.