Three weeks after the plug appeared to have been pulled on a popular Halloween parade in Portland’s West End, ghosts, ladybugs and witches poured out of the Reiche school playground just after dark Friday on an annual jaunt through the neighborhood.

Led by a small group of drummers, the parade was on and, as organizers hoped, it seemed to be a little smaller and less boisterous than recent editions.

Most people who organize events hope they will grow, but the neighborhood Halloween parade was on the verge of cancellation this year because it had grown too big. The Shoestring Theater on Bracket Street, which had organized the parade with the nonprofit Youth In Action, said it had gotten too big for it to safely manage and in mid-October said the 30-year tradition was ending.

The parade started as a small neighborhood gathering to kick off a night of trick-or-treating. But as is grew, led in part by the Shoestring Theater’s popular oversized puppets, people in other communities wanted to take part.

Soon, there were busloads of people coming to march in the parade and show off costumes.

Shoestring Theater director Nance Parker sent an open letter to the community in the West End News that the parade this year was canceled.

Within days, however, a few community members mobilized, led by Wynne Wirth, who enlisted Portland City Councilor David Marshall.

“It was just too big,” Wirth agreed. “Too many people. A lot of people felt like it was just too much.”

But, she said, there were a lot of people on the West End who felt that an event which draws scores of families for a walk through the neighborhood should be retained.

Wirth said she found that Youth In Action was still willing to be involved and, as a nonprofit, it could help provide insurance and raise money for the city permits and the cost of police needed to lead the parade.

The parade otherwise depends on volunteers for tasks such as policing temporary street closings.

Harro Jakel, the president of Youth In Action, said his organization provided an umbrella under which the residents could quickly bring the parade back from the dead. “It was really impressive how the community stepped up,” he said.

And, as the organizers hoped, the notice of cancellation seemed to help the parade contract to something closer to the event’s beginnings.

Families and neighbors walked to Reiche school, many gathering a good half-hour earlier to let the kids run off excess energy and to compare costumes.

Tim Spalding, trying to shepherd two children, said the event had grown large, but had not gotten out of hand. “I always thought it was great,” he said.

But Elsa Rowe said she was happy to see this year’s parade shrink somewhat.

“It was a little overwhelming” in recent years, she said. “My kids could get a little scared of it all.”