After 3-year hiatus, Northfield’s Rag Shag Parade returns this Halloween

  • Main Street in Northfield. This year’s Halloween Rag Shag Parade will assemble at 5:30 p.m. outside Town Hall, and will step off at 6 p.m. to travel to Northfield Elementary School. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 10/24/2021 4:01:23 PM

NORTHFIELD — After a three-year hiatus, the decades-old Halloween parade, commonly referred to as the Rag Shag Parade, sponsored by the Northfield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9874 will return to celebrate the holiday.

The traditionally annual event was rained out in 2019 and canceled in 2020 due to public health safety concerns related to the lasting COVID-19 pandemic. Bob Henry, a VFW Post 9874 member, said he and his fellow members are excited for the parade to return on Sunday, Oct. 31.

The parade will assemble at 5:30 p.m. outside Town Hall, and will step off at 6 p.m. to travel to Northfield Elementary School.

The Rag Shag Parade dates back decades. According to longtime VFW member Ed Doolittle, the parade was first held the year the Northfield VFW Post 9874 was formed in 1948. Henry, who has been involved with the local post since 2016 and who was post commander until 2019, said members look forward to continuing this tradition for decades more.

Police officers and firefighters participate as escorts, and VFW members wear their post jackets while also escorting the parade to the school, where members distribute a gold $1 coin and bags of candy to each child to kick off their Halloween evening. Anyone is welcome to attend the parade, and costumes are encouraged for participants of all ages.

Henry said the VFW usually gives out between 100 and 125 bags of candy and gold coins. He said this is “not counting the older kids,” who typically participate in the parade but do not convene at the school before starting their trick-or-treating.

In the event of rain, while the parade may be canceled, Henry said VFW members typically still set up at the elementary school for children to come by and pick up the bags of candy and gold coins. While this is normally held in the school cafeteria, Henry said VFW members will likely set up outdoors at the school this year due to COVID-19 health safety precautions.

“This is just one of our annual community events that we enjoy and look forward to,” Henry said.

Northfield VFW Post 9874 organizes events on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and its members regularly attend funeral services for area veterans. Additionally, each Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the post invites residents to the former schoolhouse at 545 Mount Hermon Station Road, that is now home to its offices, for a cookout. Hot dogs, hamburgers and cold beverages are sold.

“We are a long, outstanding post that’s been continuously in service,” Henry said, “and we hope to continue that service to our local community and especially our local veterans.”

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-930-4579.


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