December 2, 2021

‘Scaring up’ a good time

Hundreds turn out for annual Halloween parade in Cortland

Jacob DeRochie/contributing photographer

Participants in the annual Halloween parade line up in front of the Cortland Fire Department for the costume contest Thursday night.

Bill and Ted of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” led the way, but the Titanic and a time travel machine from Dr. Who weren’t far behind.

Flashback of box office hits from years gone by? Sort of. It was the Halloween parade Thursday down Main Street Cortland, which drew about 300 people for the parade and to trick-or-treat at downtown businesses. The theme, if you haven’t guessed, was time travel.

And some took it very seriously. Like the House family of Virgil.

Chandler House, 5 was dressed as the captain of the Titanic, his poster-board boat surrounding him, complete with Lego figurines adorning the doomed ship and a speaker booming out the Celine Dion soundtrack.

His grandmother, Peggy House, made the ship, adding all the details: an anchor, chain, flags and propellers.

The whole get-up, which won him a prize for best in theme, cost about $25, she estimated, though it was more involved than the Thomas the Train outfit he wore last year.

“It took me a while to think about how to do it,” Peggy House said.

It was the family’s first time attending the Main Street festivities, said Jessica House, Chandler’s mother, though the family regularly attends the Virgil Youth Commission costume contest.

“Since July, he’s wanted to be the Titanic,” Jessica House said, adding her son has seen the movie several times.

It was by chance that Chandler’s outfit fit the theme, but others planned their outfits around it, like 5-year-old Caroline Chapman and her mother Lauren Chapman.

Caroline Chapman, decked in blue, wearing a police public call box sign, was Tardis from “Dr. Who” — a time machine featured in the British TV show.

Lauren Chapman said her daughter just loves “Dr. Who,” so the parade let her indulge in her interest in a creative way. Blue light-up shoes, a blue hat covering blue hair, blue face paint and a blue tutu got the point across.

Parents had fun, too.

Like Raina Barber, dressed as Ted from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” with her daughter Peyton, 9, as Bill, and youngest daughter Siena, 2 1/2, as the time-traveling phone booth.

Their outfits were also handmade, with pipe cleaners sprouting out of the cardboard phone booth, replicating the bolts of electricity the machine zapped out during the travels.

Jane Witty, of the Cortland Downtown Partnership, organized the parade and said that every year is a different theme so kids can use their imagination.

Time travel fit naturally with the area’s recent celebration of some significant anniversaries, like SUNY Cortland celebrating 150 years this year.

“It’s broad enough so you can have multiple interpretations,” Witty said. “It’s not like Star Wars where everyone dresses the same.”