In 1970, the late Ervin L. Hawk organized the first Halloween Parade to be held over a decade in Lehighton. The annual march has become one of the largest in the area of the Halloween season.
Two members from that first committee, who have served continuously through the 40-year history of the parade, will be honored as grand marshals at this year's march.
Hilbert "Hilly" Haas and Charles Harris will lead the parade at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23. The rain date is 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24.
Julie Harris, parade chairman and a daughter of Charles Harris, said the decision was made by the Halloween Parade Committee to name the two men marshals, since this is the parade's 40th year.
She believes they may be the last surviving members of that original committee.
"I think it's great that they felt strong enough about the parade and the enjoyment it brings to the community to serve for four decades," the chairman said.
Besides serving on the Halloween Parade Committee, Haas and Harris have other similar ties.
Both are U.S. Navy veterans. Both served on the committee of Cub Pack 82 in Lehighton, and were Cubmaster and Webelos leader. Both their wives were den mothers of Cub Pack 82. Both were charter members of the Lehighton Area Jaycees (Harris was the first president), and both are life members of Lehigh Fire Company No. 1 in Lehighton.
Harris is a retiree of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, working there 30 years. He is presently head of security at Lehigh Valley Industrial Park 7, which was the former Bethlehem Steel plant.
While in the Navy, he served on the U.S.S. Iowa and U.S.S. Galveston. He is a member of the Lehighton AMVETS Post and the Lehighton Masonic Lodge. He is a past elder of Zion United Church of Christ in Lehighton.
He and his wife Judy have three children, George, Tracy, and Julie; six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Haas has been a school bus driver for 45 years. He also had worked at the former Haas Grocery Store for many years. He volunteers as an assistant for senior citizen functions.
He and his wife Frances have two children, Kenneth and Susan, and two grandchildren.
Julie Harris said this year's parade has seven bands. She estimated the cost to put on the parade to be about $8,000, and noted it is run strictly on donations.
Anyone interested in donating can mail a check or money order to: Lehighton Area Halloween Parade Committee, P.O. Box 241, Lehighton, PA 18235.
The bands in the six-division march are the Lehighton Area High School Band, Perseverance Jazz Band, a Shriners Band, Wind Gap Blue Eagles Drum & Bugle Alumni Band, City of Bethlehem Bagpipers, Hobo Band, and Northeast Variety Band.
The registration deadline for parade participation is Friday night. Harris said registration forms are available at the Lehighton Borough Hall, Diggity Dogg, Carbon County Music and More, Zimmerman's Dairy and Larry Markley Insurance.