After being cancelled last year due to Superstorm Sandy, the 2013 NYC Halloween Parade – the largest public Halloween event in the U.S. -- will go on this year, taking over New York City on its usual route in Greenwich Village on Oct. 31.
The Annual Village Halloween Parade, marking its 40th anniversary this year, will begin on Sixth Avenue and Spring St. and end at 16th St. (Scroll down for more information, including the date, route, best viewing spots and where to watch the parade on television and live stream below.)
According to Jeanne Fleming, the director of the NYC Halloween Parade, the annual tradition was in jeopardy just a few weeks ago after it lost funds from being cancelled last year – the first time ever in the parade’s history – in the aftermath of the "Frankenstorm," as parade officials dubbed Sandy. As the second-costliest U.S. hurricane, Sandy shut down half of Manhattan six days before Halloween 2012.
But thanks to fundraising efforts on Kickstarter, parade organizers reached their $50,000 goal on Oct. 17 and can now cover operating costs.
Fleming told International Business Times the Village Halloween Parade will be even more special this year thanks to the 2013 theme, “Revival.” She said not only will the parade return after its first-ever cancellation, but its 40th birthday will bring back some parade favorites from past years.
“We’re bringing back old puppets that have been sitting in the barn that are in disrepair or covered in dust and saying, “Wake up!’” she revealed to IBTimes, adding, “We're fixing them up.”
She said the march this year will be like “a parade within the parade,” showcasing its 40-year history.
“It’s going to be one character from each of the 40 years the parade has happened,” she said. “There will be this grouping of peculiar re-associated characters that appeared over all the years and they’re coming back to life.”
But it’s not just the parade organizers honoring this year’s theme; Fleming said fans who attend the parade each year are incorporating “revival” into their costumes.
“A lot of people have written to me saying, ‘I’m bringing back my best costume, my favorite costume,’ so I think that notion has kind of caught on.”
The NYC Halloween Parade has been named “The Greatest Event on Earth” by Festivals International and listed as one of the “100 Things to do Before You Die,” as well as being the nation’s largest public Halloween celebration with more than 2 million attendees each year. The tradition dates back to 1973 when puppeteer Ralph Lee started a parade in New York for his puppet creations. The event evolved into a larger spectacle in its third year before becoming a nonprofit entity, as it remains today.
But for New Yorkers, the annual Village Halloween Parade is more than an occasion to parade in the streets in costume, Fleming said, noting the event has offered solace for New York after national devastating events. In 2001, it was the first major event after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. In 2005 and 2010, the NYC Halloween parade brought joy after Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake, respectively.
And according to Fleming, joy is what will happen on October 31 on the streets of Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood after the Sandy cancelled the parade.
“The Halloween parade is really important for the New York community. It gives everyone a sense of spirit,” she said. “Seeing that much joy on the streets of New York City... you don’t see anybody unhappy. They’re just there to enjoy each other…to perform for each other not in their normal, everyday world. They’re in their imaginative world…in their fantasy.”
Fleming noted it’s also a time for “people getting along and having an experience that is off the cellphone screen.”
“I see people in the beginning…They’re still on their phones, maybe looking around, but still kind of themselves. But by the end of the parade, they’re not on their phones; they actually are [their costume]. You really see an amazing transformation. They’re just not who they were when they started. It’s one of the best things you can possible see.”
This year’s parade will include hundreds of puppets (as always), 53 bands, dancers and artists as well as an estimated 60,000 costumed New Yorkers and tourists. The parade will honor “superheroes – the real ones… who stepped up to help the city out of that [Sandy] disaster.”
IBTimes also got an exclusive peek last week at one of the spectacles in the parade, 'Whitey' the giant spide created by artist Basil Twist who has crawled up the Jefferson Market Library tower since 2005 in the parade.
Thinking of going to the parade this year to join in the “revival” celebration? Here’s what you should know:
Date and Time: Thursday, October 31, 2013, 7 p.m. until about 10:30 p.m. EST
Route Map and Meeting Spot: People will gather on 6th Avenue South of Spring Street and North of Canal between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. The website at HalloweenNYC.com/parade has a map of the official route and you can view it below.
Weather: The weather forecast is for a high temp of between 63 and 61 degrees and a low of 55 degrees during the parade, Accuweather.com said.
Best Viewing Spots and Tips: If you choose to go to the parade, wearing a costume and marching could give you the best experience, as the streets and sidewalks of New York and the restaurants along the parade route can become crowded. All streets west of 6th Street are closed by police, so it is recommended to arrive at least an hour early to secure a good spot. But be sure to steer clear of streets between Bleecker Street and 14th Street, as they are typically the most crowded. NewYork.com suggested McDonald's (541 Sixth Ave.), Father Demo Square (Sixth Ave. and Bleecker St.) and the William F. Passannante Ballfield (Sixth Ave. and W. Houston St.) as some of the best spots to gather.
Television and Live Stream Info: Don’t feel like leaving your couch? The NYC Halloween Parade will be televised live on NY1 from 8-9:30 p.m and WPIX Channel 11 from 7:30-9 p.m. Check your local listings for channels. PIX11 will also have a live stream of the parade online at PIX11.com/live.