Halloween Parade

About the Portsmouth Halloween Parade

The Portsmouth Halloween Parade is a grassroots, all-inclusive celebration of community, creativity and free expression that walks, stalks, dances, trumpets and drums its way through downtown Portsmouth each year on

Oct. 31st at 7 p.m.

Everyone is invited to dress up, gather at Peirce Island by Prescott Park, and march. No sign-up required. The Parade is in NO WAY a city-sponsored event. It is entirely funded and put on by the community, which rallies a number of benefits to raise funds to cover expenses of insurance, permits and police escort. Hundreds march in costume, thousands cheer from the sidelines, it’s always a spectacle from either side of the curb.

While all manner of jack-out-of-the-box thinking is encouraged, there are a few guidelines:

  • There are no motorized vehicles allowed.
  • Open flames are forbidden (but pitchforks are OK).
  • A Grand Marshal leads the parade, often with his or her entourage. None shall march in front of the Grand Marshal.
  • For a full list of Proper Portsmouth Halloween Parade Etiquette & The Fine Print, go HERE.

When we say everyone is invited we mean EVERYONE! As you consider your wardrobe, remember that there will be young folk, old folk, freaks and, well, police officers all walking with you. Have fun with it, but reasonable standards of public decency and decorum still apply.

While the Parade applauds all forms of free expression, it is not intended to be a political rally or a commercial opportunity. Expect the pressing of outside agendas to be frowned upon, unless deployed with humor, ingenuity, and within the creative, celebratory spirit of the event.

The Parade itself accepts NO CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP of any kind, and corporate logos or banners will not be welcomed on the march.

That stated, expenses still need to be covered, so sponsorships of the FUND-RAISING EVENTS leading up to the Parade are available, and are heartily encouraged.

The Parade marches rain or moonshine. Those who want to march converge on Peirce Island at 6-ish, caper about as the sun goes down, and march away into the night at 7 p.m.  Check out the full route below.

Striving always to strip the plastic out of the holiday’s fantastic, homemade, handcrafted costumes are the (big, black) heart of this event. The Parade has developed a reputation for its artistic nature. It is the stuff and nonsense of legends and how Portsmouth celebrates Halloween.

What are you gonna be?

Parade Route Map (click to enlarge)

Please note that this map now has the Handicap Accessible Parking area at Prescott Park marked on it.