The Halloween Parade in NYC

by Laurie Rappeport
The annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is an exciting, uniting event in New York.

The annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is an exciting, uniting event in New York.

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The annual New York Halloween Parade celebrated its 38th year in 2010, bringing people from around the world to see the creative costumes that the parade displays. "The New York Times" writes that "the Halloween Parade is the best entertainment the people of this City ever give the people of this City." Organizers believe that the parade plays an important role in the economy, spirit and life of New Yorkers.

Parade History

New York's Village Halloween Parade began when a Greenwich Village mask maker and puppeteer walked from house to house in 1973 for the mask maker's children and friends. The Theater for New City got involved after the second year and incorporated the walk as part of their City in the Streets program. The route lengthened and more bystanders came to watch. After the third year, the parade formed itself into a not-for-profit organization and began to operate independently. When Jeanne Fleming began operating the parade in 1981, she involved the local community board, merchants, residents, schools, community centers and the police, aiming to create a small "village" aspect of the event while preparing for its future growth. As of 2010, the parade included more than 60,000 costumed participants and in excess of two million spectators.

General Information

Any costumed individual can join the parade, which takes place each year on October 31, by coming to the parade's starting point on Sixth Avenue between Spring and Broome Streets. The parade starts at 7:00 p.m. and finishes at approximately 11:00 p.m. Parade officials suggest that marchers arrive at about 6:30 p.m. so that they can get situated. Marchers may join the parade along the route as well. There is no specific order to the parade, allowing marchers to choose where they want to walk. The parade passes through Greenwich Village along Sixth Avenue and ends just south of 23rd Street.

New York Pride

The parade has received recognition by Citylore and the Municipal Arts Society for making a major contribution to the culture and life of New York City. It has received an Obie award and a 1993 NEA Grant for Lifetime Achievement. In 1993 and 1997, the event was awarded tourism grants from the Office of the Manhattan Borough President and the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York in recognition of the parade's cultural and economic contribution to New York City. In 1994, the mayor of the New York issued a proclamation which honored the Village Halloween Parade for bringing the city together in a creative and joyful way and contributing to the economic life of New York.

Significant Moments

Mayor Guliani requested that the parade take place in October 2001, just seven weeks after the tragedy of 9/11. The 2001 parade included a giant Phoenix puppet rising out of the ashes, a clear message of New York's resilience and continued survival in the face of hardship and pain. In 2005, the parade paid tribute to New Orleans by inviting Hurricane Katrina evacuees to join the parade's Funeral Procession Tribute to New Orleans. The 2010 parade organizers dedicated the parade's theme to the Haitian people by commissioning traditional Haitian Carnival figures.

Photo Credits

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