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About This Festival

Remember the excitement and anticipation of Halloween when you were a kid? That magical time of year when the light seemed a little more golden, the air a little crisper, when pumpkins would start to appear on porches and you and your friends would plan your costumes, what your trick-or-treating route would be, and whom you would play pranks on. As you got older, maybe the magic started to fade a bit, maybe it was replaced with your own child’s excitement. There’s no need to live vicariously through the little ones though, nor is there a need for nostalgia to be your sole source of joy on Halloween. Just ask the two million-plus people who attend New York City’s Village Halloween Parade each year. Dressing up isn’t just for kids.

Superheroes Celebrated At The Village Halloween Parade

After a forced hiatus in 2012 thanks to Hurricane Sandy, the Village Halloween Parade is back, and just in time to celebrate its 40th anniversary. On October 31st at 7pm, hundreds of giant puppets, over 50 bands of various types of music, dancers and artists, and about 50,000 costumed revelers will join in the biggest public participatory event in New York City. The parade this year has been dubbed “the Hallelujah Halloween Revival,” and while there’s no official theme, they’ll be celebrating superheroes—the real-life heroes who worked to pull NYC out of the muck and the mire caused by Hurricane Sandy. So if you’re at a loss for costume ideas, grab a cape and a mask (and maybe some wellies and a bucket, to keep it on-topic), and pay tribute to the thousands of generous Occupy Sandy volunteers. (Or, for an evil twist, go as super-villain Sandy herself!)

Of course, if you’re not one who’s much for dressing up, you don’t have to. However, only those in costume will be permitted to march in the parade. Plainclothes spectators are welcome, and come out en masse—approximately two million to be exact. If you just can’t bear to be left out of the fun, but still can’t bring yourself to dress up, you can volunteer to be a puppeteer or even work crowd control (see Essentials for more info).

A Parade of Superlatives

The Village Halloween Parade has been honored with several awards and titles. It has been named one of the top 10 events in NYC, listed as one of the 100 Things to Do Before You Die, it’s the nation’s only night parade, it’s been awarded numerous grants and it won the Municipal Arts Society of New York’s Award for its contribution to NYC culture. So there.

Finding a sense of collective effervescence in a city like New York isn’t always easy. Somehow, the dense population—8.3 million to be exact—can often make you feel quite lonely, or on the contrary, quite claustrophobic. But on Halloween, when the streets teem with thousands of like-minded strangers—looking to transform themselves for a night, to show their darker side, their sexier side, their more playful or silly side—you can’t help but literally go with the flow, and be moved not only by thousands of people parading behind you, but by the pulsation of life that moves through these famous streets. On October 31st in New York, it’s impossible not to feel a part of the beating heart of the city, to feel like a small but significant part of the great sum that is the Village Halloween Parade.

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