Updated at 5:43 p.m.
The first thing you noticed upon walking into Fenway Park on Halloween morning was Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” playing gently over the speakers. And the cold.
It was only about 9:30 in the morning, but season ticket holders were already filling up the lower bowl of the famous stadium to watch their beloved Red Sox come together one last time as a 2018 roster.
These most dedicated of fans weren’t there to watch a game, but to celebrate the club’s World Series championship.
After winning a team record of 108 games in the regular season and topping the hated New York Yankees and defending champion Houston Astros in the playoffs, Boston knocked out the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games to take home the organization’s ninth overall World Series title. It’s also the team’s fourth since 2004, when they broke the infamous Curse of the Bambino.
Since then, the Red Sox, like Boston’s other sports clubs, have gotten used to riding on the city’s famous duck boats to parade their championship hardware around Beantown.
This year’s festivities began with a rally at Fenway for the team’s most devoted fans. The dirt of the first-base line was a bizarre hodgepodge of famous Bostonians — everyone from Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh to Red Sox emeritus David Ortiz mulled about, taking in the team’s shining moment.
Ortiz, who won three World Series championships with the Red Sox, said the leadership of first-year manager Alex Cora, who became the first Puerto Rican manager to win a World Series, helped give the team spirit.
“Alex Cora made those guys feel like they were playing for a family member,” Ortiz said.
Players roamed the field with their families and significant others as they awaited the duck boats. Some of their kids ran between first and second base.
Pitcher David Price, who overcame his own postseason woes to help lead the team to a title, said he was planning on having fun with the team’s fans.
“We have a very big fanbase, very big turnout today, so we’re all excited,” he told reporters.
Outside of Fenway, the scene was like one big Halloween party, except everyone had the same costume: Red Sox fan.
People came from every corner to take in the festivities.
Chris Kelly, from Cambridge, has been a Sox fan his whole life. He watched the parade just outside of Fenway Park with his kids.
He marveled at how the squad dominated its competition.
“I’ve never seen a Red Sox team like this,” he said.
Even though some spectators waited for hours, actually seeing the team in the duck boats passed in the blink of an eye.
Kyrellos Kaldas lives in the Yankee-fan territory of New Jersey, but he’s been a Sox fan since 2007. He left what he called a “sketchy” bus stop at 1 a.m. to get to the parade.
“It was the best three minutes of my life. … I’ve never felt so many people around me supporting me,” he said.
Even the team’s youngest fans made it to the parade. Maria Mojica of Boston was there with her five-year-old son Nathaniel, who was born just after the Sox’s last World Series win in 2013.
“I was watching the game in labor and then after we won, he came,” she recalled to WGBH News. “He waited, he waited. And now he's five and we won again.”
But just like every Halloween party, there were some tricks to go along with the treats: Alex Cora was hit by a can of beer thrown by a fan, as was the World Series trophy.
As the parade came to a close and the “Let’s Go Red Sox!” chants quieted down, all that remained of the Sox’s historic season was littered confetti and memories.
And as joyous as 2018 was, none of that matters now. Because in 29 other Major League clubhouses, teams are already plotting on how they can be the ones to host their own parade next year.
Written story by Esteban Bustillos, audio story by Craig LeMoult