Village Halloween Parade: NYC

Revisiting the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade of 2013, a fiery comeback after the devastating Hurricane Sandy disrupted 2012’s festivities.

Two Halloweens ago in 2012, I happily and groggily moved from one music venue to the next in order to catch the live performances of the artists whose names I’ve encircled, and actually plotted on an Excel sheet, on the Gainesville Fest 11 bill. Those four nights were wild, energetic, and sweaty but given that the festival was centered on music, it wasn’t exactly a proper Halloween celebration.

 I used to pose in front of wig stores in San Diego. And then last year, they all came alive at the Village Halloween Parade.

Village Halloween Parade
Spring St and 6th Ave to 16th St | New York, NY [map]

[Photo Gallery]

Around the same time last year, I was finally living in the city of my dreams but didn’t have time to prepare for what was my first ever fun Halloween celebration. I’d learned about the Village Halloween Parade via a random page on the internet (my usual vehicle towards finding information these days) the day before and decided that for once, I actually wanted to watch a parade. Parades are things I was forced to attend as a kid and I almost always concluded they were stupid and hot and barely worth the effort. But the chance to see NYC freaks behatted, bewigged, and becostumed? OK, that last one’s not a real word but you get my drift. I’ve always been fond of wigs and frequently jumped at the chance to pose in front of wig stores in San Diego before I moved to New York. Last year, the pretty mannequins all came alive at the Village Halloween Parade. For a more in-depth look at last year’s Halloween festivities, check out my Facebook photo album.

Something that I found noteworthy on my way to witnessing the most exciting annual spectacle and holiday for me was the people’s handling of the surrounding crowd in the Spring St. subway station. The way everyone moved in an almost synchronized and choreographed fashion to prevent a stampede without any assistance from any type of authority blew my mind. And made me fall in love with Halloween and its hardcore fans a bit more.

Village Halloween Parade

Black and white on the night of the Village Halloween Parade in front of the Recovery Diaspora mural in Bowery.

Since I was new to the city, I didn’t have a post-parade party but found myself visiting my favorite bar again that was also featured in my Cobra Skulls post. The mild-mannered door guy at Double Down Saloon had a hard time recognizing me because according to him, my hair looked more normal on Halloween than on my driver’s license. Right on the hair part, but the document I produced to be let in was a state ID which looks a lot like a driver’s license. Tip for non-Americans: Other photo IDs will be recognized but a state ID prevents any lingering confusion in locating your birth year when going to American bars or drinking establishments where you’re always required to show one. If you’re not in the US long enough to have a state ID or a driver’s license, just point at your birth year for a speedier entry to anywhere with alcohol. Even if you’re 60, you’ll need an ID.

Village Halloween Parade

Yes, pretty tame hair all things considered.

On our way to Double Down Saloon, we were caught off-guard by an unseen guy in a Gilly Suit who successfully blended in with the fence and then jumped forward and greeted us in his spookiest voice. Surprised we all were, but offended we weren’t. We proceeded to congratulate him and then asked if we could take his photo.

Village Halloween Parade Batman and Mr. Gilly Suit

Just when Mr. Gilly Suit agreed, Batman walked by and I caught a photo of these two costumed individuals.

New York’s Village Halloween Parade is an annual holiday parade and street pageant that started in 1974. The general costume and makeup extravaganza is presented on October 31st of every year except for 2012 when the organizing committee suffered a huge loss on account of Hurricane Sandy. The artists and technicians responsible for these puppets work throughout the Summer and Fall in many locations around the Greater New York City area, Upstate New York, New Jersey, Boston, Cleveland and the North East.

I wish I could have had a better spot than where I was watching last year but even more, I hope to be one of the fifty thousand or so participants this year. I don’t know how accurate Wikipedia is but I didn’t really think the parade was a) televised, and b)reached an audience of one hundred million. That is crazy. I also feel that everyone had energy reserves from the year before last which made for a fantastic night for everyone in attendance. Even the ones watching from their apartments were especially loud and excited as they once again proclaimed their love for this beautifully chaotic city. Here goes mine: I <3 NY.

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