Village Halloween Parade returns to New York City

Creatively costumed party-goers from all over the city came together to showcase their Halloween spirit at the 49th Annual Village Halloween Parade.

Bruna Horvath and Rylee La Testa

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Dressed in costumes ranging from the Statue of Liberty to the inflatable tubes that often populate car washes, thousands of people celebrated Halloween at New York’s 49th Annual Village Halloween Parade.

The parade traveled up Sixth Avenue from Canal Street to West 15th Street, while participants danced to upbeat music as thousands cheered them on from the sidewalks. This year’s theme was “Freedom,” and participants were encouraged to dress in costumes that made them feel joyful. Because of the crowds, certain trains did not stop at the nearby Spring Street station after 5 p.m.

For two long-distance friends, Manhattan Community College student Sarah Mark and her friend Paloma Franco, an NYU alum, attending the parade has become a tradition and an opportunity for an annual reunion.

“We’ve both come every year for the past four years, excluding COVID-19,” Mark said. “It’s our thing. She’s from California and I’m from New York, originally, and this is just so fun for us to come and experience every year together as long-distance friends.”

The parade did not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic. In 2021, it was nearly canceled because of a budgetary shortfall — until Jason Feldman, a senior executive at a finance company, donated $150,000 to save it. This year’s parade commemorated the Raging Grannies, an international group that aims to promote global peace through satire and music. 

Liz Mary, a parade-goer who dressed up as Jessie from Toy Story, said she enjoys attending the parade to keep the spirit of Halloween alive.

“I feel like as generations go on, less people dress up, and people are not as involved,” she said. “If you dress up and you keep the spirit going, it brings more possibilities for the new generation of kids to actually dress up.”

For others, the event is an opportunity to discover a time-honored New York City tradition. The parade began as a small neighborhood celebration in 1973, but has grown to become the largest event of its kind in the nation, according to the organizers.

“This is my first year and I was like, ‘Honestly, I don’t want to miss it,’” Lily Mobraaten, a first-year at NYU, said. “It seemed like a big thing everyone was going to be at.”

The parade also offers a break from the typical coldness of the city, allowing residents to feel proud of their community as neighbors come together to celebrate.

“The atmosphere just feels a little bit lighter,” Julia Hegele, a graduate student at NYU, said. “Everyone’s walking around having such a nice time and looking at each other in a really friendly way. It’s really nice.” 

Contact Bruna Horvath and Rylee La Testa at [email protected].