Toms River holds its 84th annual Halloween parade, second largest in the country

Toms River hosted its 84th annual Halloween parade Tuesday night.
The parade is steeped in Toms River history and has been organized by the fire company since 1919. The only time the parade was canceled was in the 1930s and 1950s. Recent years also saw cancelations because of Superstorm Sandy and COVID-19.
This is the country’s second-largest Halloween parade, second only to New York City’s Halloween parade in Greenwich Village.
Capt. Carl Weingroff is one of the parade organizers.
“Guinness Book of World Records actually came down several years ago and they counted the paraded route and the year that we made Guinness Book we had over 100,000 people here in Downtown Toms River,” Weingroff says.
A big part of putting on a parade of this size is security. The fire company collaborates with Toms River police, taking every possible measure to ensure the safety of the many people who look forward to attending and participating in the parade.
"We have undercover guys, we have uniform guys, we have horses out there, we have cameras in the sky everywhere, we have drones. Even though it’s a great event to get everyone out there our number one concern Is safety,” Weingroff says.
Preparation for the parade starts well in advance. Some paradegoers even stake out prime viewing spots the night before.
Vicki Ippolito owns and operates Mathis House on Main Street. She says guests book their rooms for Halloween night a year out and they start prepping overnight.
“For this town, it’s a big deal. We actually started setting up yesterday,” she says.
Parad goers along the route say this is an event they look forward to every year.