Students Spook Menlo Park Downtown in 2023 Halloween Hoopla Parade

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On Saturday, Menlo Park hosted its annual Halloween Hoopla celebration. With game booths at Fremont Park, trick-or-treating along Santa Cruz Ave, and a special performance by the Hillview and La Entrada concert bands and orchestras, the parade entertained hundreds of families.

Middle-school students decked out in costumes from Luigi to Starbucks baristas, Oompa Loompas, and pirates as they marched along Santa Cruz Ave, greeted by families rushing to take pictures. 

This year, in addition to a marching band, a new string orchestra waited along University Dr. Hillview music director Richard Vaughan conducted the orchestra. “My favorite part was probably at the end when I heard the string section play their songs,” said eighth-grader Jaime Parada-Hernandez from La Entrada, who played the tuba. 

The marching band played songs ranging from “March of the Aliens”–––a heavy, ominous march with eerie flute melodies–––to “Evil Ways,” a jazzy latin-rock beat originally recorded by Santana, and classics like “Ghostbusters,” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” 

Parada-Hernandez personally loved to play “Count Rockula,” a lively march with heavy brass beats. “I just like the feel of it,” he said.

Mateo Dinan, an eighth grader from La Entrada, played the quad-toms and was the lead percussionist for the parade. “I thought the parade was really fun. I enjoyed playing and practicing for it,” Dinan said. “We started preparing almost a week after school started.”

Having played in the parade last year, Dinan also noted some differences. “There were also more drummers than last year,” he said. “It was kind of loud just being in the drum section.”

“My favorite part of the parade was playing ‘Thriller’ but also at the end when we got to take the drums off [of our shoulders],” Dinan said.  

From upbeat, spooky melodies to fun celebrations, the 2023 Halloween Hoopla was memorable, and an opportunity for young, aspiring musicians to practice their talents. Make sure to come see it next year!

Celine Chien is a junior in her second year at the Chronicle. She is a Design Lead for the Mark, a copy editor, and reports on detracking and community news. Celine is on M-A's debate team, Leadership-ASB, and loves to cook and spend time with her family.

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