Celebrating Halloween is a big deal for Frank Layden Elementary School students. It’s a pretty big deal for Frontenac residents, too.

Celebrating Halloween is a big deal for Frank Layden Elementary School students. It’s a pretty big deal for Frontenac residents, too.

Each year kindergarten through 5th-graders dress up in class and parade down McKay Street though downtown Frontenac. And what seems like the entire town turns out to cheer them on.

“It’s a fun event, and the kids really like it,” said Frontenac Police Chief Carl Flora, who led the parade in his patrol car.

And by the looks on the kids’ faces, Flora is correct. There were skunks, Darth Vader, Iron Man, a slew of rabbits, pirates, witches and playing cards, all with broad grins plastered across their faces as they waved to the crowd.

“It’s a big deal,” Superintendent Dale Slagle said, looking on from the sidelines.

The parents get into the show as well, said counselor Sally Neville.

“There are classroom parties, and the parents organize games,” she said.

The event also is a town bonding experience.

“It’s a great way to connect with our community,” Neville continued. “They love to see the kids out and dressed up.”

No one seems to know just how long the Halloween parade has been going on. But most residents agree it’s been a tradition for a long, long time.

“I’ve been doing this for at least 27 years,” Flora said. “And they’ve been doing it a lot longer than that.”

Carol Williamson is a lifetime resident of Frontenac. The event has been going on for as long as she can remember.

“We won’t say how long ago that was,” she laughed.

Williamson said that what really matters is that it continues to thrive.

“It goes from the parents to the great-grandmothers,” she said. “All the way to the aunts and uncles. It’s great, because everybody watches the kids and they’re very careful about them.”

Her husband, John, moved to Frontenac from Florida years ago. He said he’s impressed by closeness the town exudes.

“I’ve never seen a small community that supports the schools like this one,” he said.