The Village Halloween Parade, celebrating 50 years since it began as a small neighborhood “promenade” and has become one of the largest Halloween events in the world, was themed UPSIDE/DOWN, reflecting the tumult of the last few years, and inviting self-reflection.
“The Halloween Parade has always been a night of transformation, but this topsy turvy year feels even more-so in terms of realizing a dream, being who you are most authentically in your imagination,” said Jeanne Fleming, Artistic and Producing Director.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators packed the streets along the mile-long parade route from Canal Street to 16th Street along Sixth Avenue, to thrill at hundreds of puppets, 50 bands representing music from around the world, dancers, artists, and thousands of other New Yorkers in costumes of their own creation in the nation’s most wildly creative public participatory event in the greatest city in the world – the biggest crowds since 2019.
“I’m astonished by how many people are here,” said a justifiably proud and delighted Fleming. “We invite people to come out and they did!”
Spectators thrilled at seeing hundreds of puppets, 50 bands and dancers representing music from around the world and New York’s melting pot, and tens of thousands of New Yorkers in costumes of their own creation, in the nation’s most wildly creative public participatory event in the greatest city in the world.
Started by Greenwich Village mask maker and puppeteer Ralph Lee in 1973, the Parade began as a walk from house to house in his neighborhood for his children and their friends.
After the second year of this local promenade, Theater for the New City stepped in and produced the event on a larger scale as part of their City in the Streets program.
Today the Parade is the largest celebration of its kind in the world and has been picked by Festivals International as “The Best Event in the World” for October 31.
Now, 50 years later, the Parade draws more than 70,000 costumed participants and some 2 million spectators, including television-viewing audience, live on NY1 beginning at 8 pm.
In 1994, the Mayor of the City of New York issued a Proclamation honoring the Village Halloween Parade for 20 years of bringing everyone in the City together in a joyful and creative way and being a boon to the economic life of the City. “New York is the world’s capital of creativity and entertainment. The Village Halloween Parade presents the single greatest opportunity for all New Yorkers to exhibit their creativity in an event that is one-of-a-kind, unique and memorable every year. New Yorkers of all ages love Halloween, and this delightful event enables them to enjoy it every year and join in with their own special contributions. The Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village is a true cultural treasure.”
The irony is that while Halloween is about taking on a completely different persona, at the Village Halloween Parade, we see New Yorkers’ true selves.
And that’s true to the Upside/Down-Inside/Out theme.
By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com
Not even a surprise rainshower could dampen the spirits marching down 6th avenue for the New York’s famed Village Halloween Parade – and there were spirits galore.
The 49th Annual Village Halloween was themed FREEDOM! It’s a move! It’s a moment! Feel it!!! The Grand Marshal for 2022 was The Brooklyn United Marching Band with special surprise guests who played Jon Batiste’s song Freedom!
“We are encouraging glittery costumes, your best dance moves and anything that allows you to feel light, joyful, free and colorful! We’re gonna lift the spirits of the whole world!” says Jeanne Fleming, Artistic and Producing Director. “However you do it, feel the joy and freedom of expression in one of New York’s most iconic and wildly creative events!
The parade is the nation’s largest public Halloween celebration, has been namedby Events International as The Greatest Event on Earth on October 31, and ranked 3rd by Citysearch as the best event in New York City.
It draws people (as we found) from around the world – Poland, England, Corsica among the locales.
Indeed, by bringing hundreds of thousands of tourists, the event generates an estimated $90 million in tourism dollars for the city, providing Greenwich Village businesses and restaurants their best night of the year.
And, by turning a large and complex city into a small town for just one night, the Parade has been a pioneer in the critical movement toward the resurrection and rejuvenation of the City.