NORTH BENNINGTON -- Wearing a pink wig, with pink feathers and a tail, Ellen Murphy watched her grandchildren and other local faeries, pirates and monsters parade by from beneath an umbrella yesterday afternoon.
"We come to this every year," said Murphy, a former Bennington resident, now of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. "It's amazing to see how much work people put into their costumes."
Murphy's son Nick Virgilio, who donned a scarecrow-farmer ensemble for the occasion, paraded past with wife Melanie and their children Maeven and Keller, dressed as a fairy and a ghost.
Hosted by the Vermont Arts Exchange as one of their annual community activities, the 21st annual Halloween Parade led down Sage Street, up Main Street, and back around, where it ended with cider and donuts, costume prizes and a large bonfire.
While the rain may have quieted the procession - there was an absence of the usual drums - it didn't keep crowds away, many dressed in original costumes made from cardboard boxes, including robots and familiar faces from Star Wars.
"It's so hard!" said Sandra Magsamen, one of four judges charged with awarding gift-certificates from local businesses in each of nine categories.
"They win really good prizes," said Magsamen, in her first year of judging the contest. "This is the hardest job I've ever had," she lamented, only half-joking.
Other judges were Matthew Patterson and his daughter Hannah, along with Mark Barry. They could be heard quietly discussing costumes from under a nearby awning as participants of all ages went by.
Characters from Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, along with Robin Hood and his merry men, bumblebees and a gigantic eight-food spider joined the festivities.
A Christmas-theme featured Santa and more than one of his elves, along with a fully decorated Christmas tree, reindeer and one person outfitted as gift-wrapped present.
Iris Nofziger, 7, and Ori Brant, 7, warmed up after the march with some well-deserved hot drinks and muffins.
The Village School classmates discussed their outfits, one dressed as Harry Potter's Hermione Granger, while the other did a convincing turn as a vampire.
When asked to have their photo taken, both girls struck a pose, while Nofziger charmingly asked if it might make the front page.
To see more photos of the parade, including both girls' lovely costumes, and short videos, visit Bennington Banner on Facebook.
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