Parades can be fun for both the attendee and the participant. If you are on a parade float, prepare to toss or hand out items to the crowd as you go by. What you hand out will depend partially on what organization you represent, although candy and beads are a universal handout for most parade floats. Don't hand out all your items at the beginning of the parade so you'll have plenty for the people near the end of the parade route.
Purchase large bags of candy to toss out during the parade route. Individually wrapped candies are best, so you don't pass germs around and so children can pick up the ones that land on the ground. Lollipops, gum and mints are perfect. If you have a larger budget, go for bite-size or fun-size candy bars. Stock up at a club warehouse store or after a major holiday like Halloween.
You can purchase small toys in bulk from online retailers or catalogs. Items like bouncy balls, slinkies and tiny animals are perfect. Don't toss them to an area crowded with adults; reserve the toys for groups of children.
You can't have a parade without beads. They used to be seen only at Mardi Gras parades, but now they are tossed from many floats at most parades. You can purchase these in bulk, as well. Toss them one at a time, not in handfuls; the handfuls do not tend to break apart, and one person will end up with 20 bead necklaces.
If you are promoting a business or organization in the parade, put together a small pamphlet or flier. You can hand them out as you walk the parade route. Make it a magnet or tape a piece of candy to the back so people won't just toss it in the garbage. Include a coupon for your business to bring new patrons in.
Many churches or religious organizations take this time to pass out religious tracts showing the way to salvation. If you do this, don't be pushy about it or try to go through the tract with the person right there. Simply hand it out and keep walking. If they are interested, they will read it. Place a sticker with your organization's name, address and phone number on the tract so they can contact you for further information.
Hand out small American flags during patriotic parades, such as the 4th of July, Memorial Day or Veteran's Day. Don't give more than one to each person or you may run out. Passing them out near the beginning of the parade route allows the attendees to wave them throughout the rest of the parade.