Get ready for T’Challaween – a southern tribute to our heroes

by Victor Simoes

The South Seattle EmeraldThe third annual costume parade, T’Challaween—A South End Tribute to Our Heroes, returns Saturday, October 29, from 1-4 p.m. As in previous years, the parade runs along Beacon Hill Stay Healthy Street—starting at 18th Avenue South and South College Street and ending at Jefferson Park (via the South Spokane Street entrance).

Named after the Black Panther character T’Challa, to honor the late actor Chadwick Boseman, the event kicked off in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic as a reminder that in times of great challenge, we can take our own “superpowers” and become heroes in our own communities. At past events, kids and adults alike have dressed up as their favorite superheroes and enjoyed socially distant (and creative) ways of handing out candy. But more than just a disguise, T’Challaween is an opportunity to honor those we admire, whether it’s a frontline worker, a teacher, or a fictional hero.

Photo: Susan Fried)

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Trick-or-treaters at T’Challaween 2021. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Along with the classic parade, which attendees can join at any time along the route, and the candy throwers stationed along the promenade, this year’s T’Challaween will be teaming up with the South End Public Market to hold a “moon market in the open air with local art and gifts from Seattle-based Artists and Crafters. The market will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Jefferson Park near Spokane Street, at the end of the parade route.

“We’ve done it twice now, so we have a good model, we’ve learned a lot,” said Jessie McKenna, operations manager at the South Seattle Emerald.

This time the emerald The team has even more sponsors and resources than in previous years. “And we have Michael [McPhearson], our new Executive Director, who is leading this this year, so it’s really great to have him on board,” said McKenna. “He’s so excited about the event, he really understands and has embraced it wholeheartedly. And so it’s really good to have a great team working on it.

The organizers of T’Challaween emphasize that this is an event designed by the community, for the community, and only possible through community effort.

Interested in volunteering? Currently, T’Challaween still needs five more volunteers to help with this year’s parade, including roles for the setup team, ambassadors, candy throwers, floaters, and teardown team. More information can be found in the volunteer registration form.

“Every year we get more people who want to participate, and they’re behind the scenes and helping to make it happen,” McKenna said. “It’s a community of participants, neighbors, people who live along the parade route; all of these people make the event what it is, not just because of their attendance, but because of the way they present themselves, whether it’s decorating their house, creating a candy costume cool for kids along the parade route, or blowing bubbles or other fun activities. We are so grateful for how people are embracing it and making it their own.

Created to be a safer way to deceive or deal with the pandemic, the parade always seeks to reduce the risks associated with COVID. Masks and social distancing are still required to join the one mile walk. A virtual livestream of the event will be available on the emerald Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Organizers are also highlighting this as an event dedicated to the entire South End community. The parade is not a Beacon Hill event – it just happens to be in Beacon Hill.

“We hope that with its proximity to light rail and bus lines and with ample on-street parking in the neighborhood, people from all over South Seattle will still feel welcome to attend and claim it as the theirs,” McKenna said.

Check emeraldfrom last year’s T’Challaween photo essay, and get ready to show up for a uniquely southern Halloween celebration next Saturday.

Victor Simoes is an international student at the University of Washington pursuing a dual degree in journalism and photo/media. Hailing from Florianópolis, Brazil, they enjoy radical organization, hyper pop and their beloved cats. Their writing focuses on community, arts and culture. You can find them on Instagram or Twitter at @victorhaysser.

📸 Featured image: A young T’Challa at T’Challaween on October 31, 2020. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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