The Village Halloween Parade returns on its 50th anniversary

Under the theme “Upside/Down : Inside/OUT!”, thousands of New Yorkers marched up Sixth Avenue in a celebration of authenticity and inclusivity.
The Village Halloween Parade returns on its 50th anniversary

New York City’s Village Halloween Parade celebrated its 50th anniversary on Tuesday evening, with thousands of New Yorkers walking up Sixth Avenue and flaunting their costumes on this spooky holiday. The participants put on their vibrant outfits and sometimes-gruesome makeup and traveled from Canal Street to 15th Street.

A man dressed in a bloody clown costume with white face paint and hair. He has purple eyeshadow, green eye contacts and a bloody mouth.

This year’s theme was “Upside/Down : Inside/OUT!” — inspired by the radical changes inherent to the post-pandemic world. The parade, which was held in memory of singer-songwriter Lou Reed this year, aimed to bring out the most authentic selves of its participants.

A person in an inflatable unicorn costume with another person in an inflatable costume dressed as Eric from South Park that has a red jacket and blue hat with a yellow pompom.
A person in a gray alien costume with a paper sign attached to his collar that has the text “TRUTH IS OUT THERE.”

I feel like all of us, our whole world was turned upside down. And when it did, we all went inside. We all went into our apartments. We also went inside ourselves. And when we did that, we started thinking about how it is when the inside is going to come out again. And that’s what I see the parade as this year, as us coming out again,” said Jeanne Fleming, the artistic director of the Halloween Parade, in an interview with Gothamist.

A woman with bloody makeup over half of her face.
A girl dressed as a nun with a jewel upside down cross, black tears and fake stitches on her nose.

Starting out as a neighborhood festivity among Greenwich Village residents in 1973, the parade has become one of the biggest Halloween parties in New York City, and has attracted tourists from all over the world.

“This is a once in a lifetime experience,” said Els Jossa, a participant from Belgium. 

“Everybody talks about this… It is the most famous parade,” said Isabella Masiuk, a parade-watcher visiting New York from Poland. 

A person dressed up in an inflatable alien costume and another person in an inflatable red costume.
Two figures covered with white sheets standing side by side. The figure on the right holds up a white sign with black letters that read “MY COSTUME IS SOME BASIC BOO-SHEET.”

A celebration of freedom, authenticity, and inclusivity, the Village Halloween Parade brought together groups ranging from Samba dancers to LGBTQ+ marching bands.

A Samba band in green shirts playing tamborines.
A Samba band, walking at the parade and playing tamborines.
A person with white wings, a white dress and a white scarf dancing. They also have a short curly blond wing.
A Samba dancer, dressed as an angel-esque Marilyn Monroe.

LGBTQ+ activists and women’s rights activists gathered on Sixth Avenue, embracing the pure self-expression that is so intrinsic to this tradition.

A man wearing a silver-and-pink skirt, a red-and-silver wig, and a pair of silver glasses holding up an orange sign with a pink heart on it. At the center of the heart is a square with “GAYS AGAINST GUNS” written on it.
LGBTQ+ and anti-gun activists at the parade.
A man with brown hair, a beard and a pair of orange glasses wearing a white coat and a fuschia scarf holds a metal staff with a disco ball on the top. He is wearing pins that read "BAN GUNS NOT DRAG" and "NRA Sashay Away."

Floods of New Yorkers came to watch the radiant parade and were mesmerized by the electrifying performances. The streets were packed with dancing skeletons and eccentric old-lady puppets, swiffering away.

Inflatable glowing grandma puppets holding brooms.

While the marching bands and speakers were often deafening, a highlight of the parade was definitely those enjoying a silent disco. They were dancing away to a mysterious tune, blaring from their headphones.

A crowd of people in costumes marching down a street wearing headphones.
A person with a red wig and a blue-and-black shirt. Another person in a ghost mask and a black-and-white suit. They are both wearing headphones.

A longstanding New York tradition that never gets old, the Village Halloween Parade brought together monsters, angels, ghosts and blood-soaked pigs, and delivered a much-needed release of energy and warmth to this sometimes-cold city.

Leave a comment

Comments (0)

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *