Halloween has always been a time where it seems the veil between our plane of existence and what lies beyond becomes a bit thinner.
No place celebrates that more than Greenwich Village. New York’s Village Halloween Parade is an annual holiday parade and street pageant presented on the night of every Halloween in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The Village Halloween Parade, initiated in 1974 by Greenwich Village puppeteer and mask maker Ralph Lee, and is the world’s largest Halloween parade.
It has been called “New York’s Carnival.”
Although the parade is currently not as informal and wild as it was in its earliest years, it is in effect still an alternative festival. The parade has been studied by leading cultural anthropologists. According to The New York Times, “the Halloween Parade is the best entertainment the people of this City ever give the people of this City.” “Absolutely anything goes,” says USA Today. “Be prepared to drop your jaw.”
The audience is likely to see old women in a Kazoo band, a puppet ship with a full set of sails, a Statue of Liberty stabbed in the chest, a group of bulldogs on leashes all dressed as Batman, skeletons playing the tuba, skeletons dressed as Krispy Kreme employees, brides and grooms, brides and brides, grooms and grooms, politicians, and madrigal drum corps. Onlookers have been entertained by walking Scrabble tiles that rearrange themselves to spell various words; decks of playing cards shuffling up the avenue; and armies of chess pieces marching in regiments of black and white, with small children as pawns.
The Route begins at Spring Street and Sixth Avenue.
Heading south on Sixth to Broome Street, costumed marchers gather well before the official line-up scheduled for 6:00 p.m. In fact, beginning at Noon on parade day, areas on adjoining streets are designated for groups with puppets, floats, and other complicated presentations requiring more set-up and rehearsal. Parade marshals and volunteers keep order and answer questions, assisted by the police. At 7:00 p.m., the first enormous puppets and theme performance enter the parade route to lead the march straight up Sixth Avenue. After the puppets safely pass, the waiting throngs of costumed participants join behind the puppets, and throughout the evening more puppets, floats, bands and other performers are introduced into the stream. It can take two to three hours to enter the parade, so the staging area becomes its own party. Masqueraders continue to show up for hours, stake out a position in the line-up, and gather around their favorite live bands.
TopDogTours is no stranger to the spooky Greenwich Village nightlife.
Our Ghosts of the Village tour explores all the places that make you go bump in the night. We can also show you all the best locations to camp out for the best Halloween parade around. Our group and private tours are offered every day and begin at 8pm (or whenever you want if you book privately) on the corner of Waverley and 7th Ave. Come out and explore one of the spookiest and unique places in New York City.