Halloween in West Philly: Tots in costume, a Dumpster Derby, and the ‘Porch of Doom’

Three dozen photos that capture the creative essence of the holiday — and the human spirit.

Even cats were out trick-or-treating in West Philly

Even cats were out trick-or-treating in West Philly

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Details for Spruce Hill’s annual Halloween Tot Parade on Sunday were announced just five days prior on West Philly Local, but despite the late notice, several hundred people came out to celebrate with canine and human costumes of all kinds.

Instead of a marching parade ending in a block party, the event was held in Clark Park this year to allow for more social distancing and space to spread out.

The Penn Drum Line helped corral the crowd and provided entertainment to kids of all ages playing jaunty versions of old favorites, like the theme song of The Muppet Show.

The Penn Drum Line provided a Master of Ceremonies to help bring participants together through sound

The Penn Drum Line provided a Master of Ceremonies to help bring participants together through sound

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It was one of several neighborhood festivities over the weekend. Saturday brought the largely unannounced West Philly Dumpster Derby, which invites participants to steer — or, more accurately, attempt to steer — wooden pallets and household objects on wheels down the super steep 4300 block of Pine Street.

Mostly brought together by word of mouth and a few telephone pole flyers, a crowd of 60 or so took to the street and temporarily stopped traffic to cheer each other on as they careened down the road, only occasionally crashing at the finish.

Halloween evening itself would not be complete without the ever-popular “Porch of Doom” at 4821-4823 Baltimore Avenue.

This event has been going strong for more than 20 years. Though the lines weren’t as long as pre-pandemic, a steady crowd of trick-or-treaters trudged up the steps of 4821, then descended to the exit of the attached twin at 4823.

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This year’s theme again was the “Coming Climate Change Catastrophe” and “Gigatons of Garbage.” The recent plastic bag ban was referenced with a booth of swirling plastic bags and a ghostly figure trapped inside a swirling sea of plastic.

Whether you love the holiday for the candy, the costumes, or the apt reminders of the impending environmental apocalypse, West Philadelphia had something for everyone.

Scroll down for three dozen photos that capture the creative essence of Halloween — and the human spirit.

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A tiny Edward Scissorhands with his parental hedge

A tiny Edward Scissorhands with his parental hedge

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Venom, from the Marvel Comics Universe

Venom, from the Marvel Comics Universe

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This crew collaborated for several months to create these Mandalorian costumes

This crew collaborated for several months to create these Mandalorian costumes

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An owlet leaves the nest for their first encounter with free candy

An owlet leaves the nest for their first encounter with free candy

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Parade attendees wearing Avatar: The Last Airbender costumes

Parade attendees wearing Avatar: The Last Airbender costumes

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The Wizard of Oz, complete with the tornado

The Wizard of Oz, complete with the tornado

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A unicorn handing out candy on the street corner, very West Philly

A unicorn handing out candy on the street corner, very West Philly

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