The NYC Village Halloween Parade connects New Yorkers with their inner child. And, despite having wandered through the city streets and bars on Halloween night throughout the years, I had never experienced it properly.
It all changed this year. I finally understood why NYC Village Halloween is the largest and—should I add—most creative and inspiring of all the city’s yearly parades, including St. Patrick’s, Thanksgiving and LGBTQ Pride.
Part of the magic is the spontaneous nature. Individual marchers have been encouraged since 1974 to show up in costume at the starting point on Canal Street and 6th Avenue and join the fun without registering or paying a fee.
Unlike the boroughs, where kids go trick or treating, the New York City Village parade is almost exclusively an adult affair. Participants wear artistic outfits that’d give Broadway and Hollywood a run for their money.
Equally thrilling are the giant puppets volunteers maneuver throughout the parade’s 1.4-mile route (on Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street). This year, they preceded a colorful Dia de Muertos section, complete with mariachis—a testament to New York City’s proud multiculturalism.
And because—after all—we’re New York, there had to be a healthy dose of costumes with a social commentary, including someone campaigning for Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin and a group of witches carrying the banner, “Witches Who Vote.”
The participants’ histrionic skills enhance the parade’s energy levels. Monsters, aliens and witches not only look but also act the part. The interactions with the spectators are hair-rising, like witnessing a horror movie in the flesh.
Since 2004, the Thriller Dance has been one of the most expected parts of the parade. The massive flash mob to Michael Jackson’s timeless hit “Thriller” is the parade’s apex of talent and the single most crowd-pleasing goosebumps-inducing moment.
I’ve already started to learn the “Thriller” choreography. Will you join me next year?