The Wizard of Charlestown

By Seth Daniel

After many years of leading the Halloween Parade at the Monument and reciting the Wizard’s Poem for excited Charlestown trick-or-treaters, Bruce Garr has passed his wand and robe over to longtime resident Jim Duane to be the new leaders of the Town’s most magical celebration.

The fun kicks off at the steps of the Monument at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31, and it’s there that organizer Diane Valle and the new Wizard of Monument Square will bring everyone together for the beginning of one of the more fun, family-friendly events of the year.

“I’ve gone to the Halloween celebration even though my children are grown,” he said. “We always enjoy the kids and adults dressing up. We hand out candy on Winthrop Street and it’s a great day in Charlestown and we enjoy it. So, when I was asked to become the new wizard, I was ready to help in any way I could.”

Duane said he is a long-time friend of Garr’s going back to the 1980s, and that their children attended school together. He said when Garr moved from Charlestown this year to live in Colorado, Garr and Valle approached Duane with a big ask – to assume the duties of the Wizard of Monument Square.

So far, Duane – an attorney with many years of schooling under his belt – said the Charlestown School of Wizardry has been a real snap of the finger.

“Once you have the costume, it seems you don’t need much training,” he said with surprise. “The costume pretty much brings the magical powers upon the wizard who puts it on. Wizardry School for someone like me who is a veteran of a lot of education, was pretty easy. Once the magical powers were in hand, it didn’t take long to learn a lot.”

Duane said the hardest part will likely be reciting the Wizard’s Poem with the same acumen as Garr on his first time out.

  • On another Halloween note…Maggie Moss-Tucker and Paul Hayes Tucker started the Charlestown Annual Halloween Parade in 1985, with seven other families, in their effort to provide their children and other children in Charlestown a Happy Halloween. Thirty-two years later, the community of Charlestown enjoys a “safe, fun and memorable” Halloween, where children of all Charlestown’s neighborhoods gather at the base of the Bunker Hill Monument, where the Monument Square Wizard (who was originally Paul Tucker) recites the Wizard’s poem, and then the children parade around the Monument, led by The Tony Barrie Marching Band, as they are awarded treats from the neighbors.

“The Charlestown community benefits from Maggie’s idea, and Maggie and Paul’s efforts and enthusiasm to make the community a better place for all ages,” said Valle. “Maggie and Paul’s initiative demonstrates the fact that ‘one good idea matters.’ We are grateful to all, the National Park Service, The City of Boston, the residents, the donors, the exhibitors, the trick or treat-ers and friends who collaborate to make Charlestown a great place to live.”

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