After being inauspiciously nixed by Superstorm Sandy last year, the fantastical 40th anniversary Village Halloween Parade returns this year. Stretching a mile long down Sixth Avenue, it features hundreds of puppets and giant masks, stilt walkers, jugglers, street performers, bands, dancers and artists and thousands and thousands of otherwise “regular” New Yorkers in costumes of their own creation (see slideshow). You have to be in costume to join the parade.
Each year, there is a theme for the parade. This year, in a nod to being returned from the dead, the theme is Hallelujah Halloween REVIVAL! and the Village Halloween Parade is paying homage to last year’s storm of supernatural proportions by honoring SUPERHEROES —the REAL ones: “those folks who stepped up to help the city out of that disaster and the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center Transplant Team and Jeff Bratcher—longtime Parade volunteer—who donated a kidney to the Parade Director’s son; and all those who have volunteered to marshal and animate giant puppets throughout the Parade long history and kept this humble arts organization going!”
ONLY those in costume can join the parade: the line-up is on 6th Avenue South of Spring Street and North of Canal between 6:30pm and 8:30pm. (Only enter the line-up on 6th Ave. from the East and South between Canal and Spring!).
To see the parade live, get yourself to Sixth Avenue, from Spring Street to 16th Street, from 7 -10:30 pm.
If you have an aversion to crowds (and some two million people turn out to watch the parade along Sixth Avenue), the parade is televised. You can watch on WPIX CHANNEL 11, 7:30pm – 9:00pm, and on NY 1, 8:00pm – 9:30pm
In 2011, two million people line the parade route from Spring Street to 16th Street, while another million people watched on television.
The Village Halloween Parade, the only major night parade in the country, is also the nation’s largest public Halloween celebration – making it the largest in the world. It has been named as “The Greatest Event on Earth” for October 31 by Festivals International. It has also been listed as one of the “100 Things to Do Before You Die.”
Of course, the dead and undead would feel right at home in the festivities.
Not to die ignominiously, this year, the parade organizers reached out through crowdsourcing to raise funds, which were matched by the Rudin Foundation and the Association for a Better New York and also is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Karen Rubin, Long Island Eclectic Travel Examiner
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