Is it too early to start counting down the days until Halloween? We think not! This year, celebrate properly by dressing up, avoiding trick-or-treaters and attending the nation’s “most wildly creative public participatory event” aka New York City’s Village Halloween Parade.
The massively popular event, founded in 1974 by a puppeteer, will kick off its 41st year of celebration on Friday, October 31, 2014 at 7 p.m. If you plan on attending, expect a mile long line of costumed participants, dancers, street performances and more. As the stated in The New York Times, “the Halloween Parade is the best entertainment the people of this City ever give the people of this City.” With an raving endorsement from the Times, this event has to be good.
I was lucky enough to participate in the parade during two separate years – although I certainly had a lot more fun the first time I went. The event, unlike others, is great because even the spectators (which number over 2 million), are dressed for the occasion. As such, you will come across some of the wackiest, most creative and jaw dropping costumes ever. The parade also brings everyone together as a community. People will stop to talk to you and take photos. If you happen to come across someone with the same costume, an immediate brotherhood will be formed and laughter will be shared.
However, I definitely recommend walking in the parade if you can. It’s an entirely different experience being a spectator vs. a participant. As a spectator, you have to constantly struggle to get a good view, especially if you’re vertically challenged like me. You will also most likely stay in one spot for hours – which can get extremely boring. But if you chose to walk, you have the freedom to explore and walk alongside floats, puppets, etc.
The event itself is free, so that’s definitely a plus. However, it is EXTREMELY difficult to get out of the parade once you’re in it. East Village suddenly becomes a maze. The streets are closed off and you will only be able to leave at certain checkpoints. Even as a spectator, it might be a little difficult to maneuver your way through the hordes of people, but it’s truly worth the experience.
I didn’t even care when my wallet got stolen the first time…