So as I previously mentioned, I chose to spend Halloween in New York. Why? Well I’ll tell ya. In my guide to Around the World trips, it has just about 3 pages describing some of the greatest festivals worldwide that are worth changing your itinerary for. Alongside events such as Mardi Gras, La Tomatina and Oktoberfest, there is the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. An over the top, colourful and chaotic spectacle that storms it way up 6th avenue, involving thousands of people in costume, myriad floats blasting music, dance troupes and marching bands. This is probably as extreme an example as I was going to find of the Americans going crazy over Halloween. Plus it didn’t require much effort on my part; as Chris Griffin said about parades – “Wow, a parade! It’s like I’m walking past stuff, but I’m not going anywhere!”
The bus ride to NYC was pleasant enough. Naturally I almost missed it because I got the time wrong, but I woke up super early so it didn’t matter. Loved catching the New England foliage through the windows; haven’t got any pictures unfortunately cus it would have meant leaning across some guy’s lap, so you’ll have to take my word for it. We also passed via Hartford, the state capital of Connecticut which looked intriguing, perhaps I’ll get there another time!
The parade started at 7, and so I got a good spot to watch it at about that time somewhere on 6th avenue, with my couchsurfing host Prashant. It was about an hour before anything came within sight, in which time I witnessed drunks rolling around in the street, and people who obviously had too much free time mill about in shockingly elaborate fancy dress. When the parade finally came by, it was extremely spectacular. A crowd came bearing huge skeleton and bat puppets that lunged at the crowd, making people cower and woop with glee. Other highlights included the Michael Jackson Thriller group that consisted of well over a hundred people dancing the famous routine in what I assume was meant to be synchrony, the drumming band that supported a rather energetic dance troupe, and the ghostbusters (complete with Ecto-1).
There were so many incredible costumes as well. There were scary ones; inhuman monsters, shuffling zombies and supernatural creatures. Cool ones; like 20 different Spidermans and Batmans. Fun ones; Despicable Me minions and Fin and Jake duos. Creative ones like the lifeguard sat on a chair (with fake legs) and the guy who carried a Mona Lisa portrait with his head stuck through it… Downright weird ones like the gorilla wearing a wedding dress. Oh and Whoopi Goldberg herself was there! It was a really entertaining couple of hours. The walkers often interacted with the spectators, posing for pictures or just making an attempt to grab them… I was luckily behind the first row of people so no molestation of yours truly took place.
Although there was this one Hispanic woman who tried to worm her way past me to stand in front of me. I wasn’t having any of it so closed the gap. Then she pushed her way past some other people, somehow did get in front of me and then started pushing me backwards with her huge ass to make room for her husband. I was absolutely outraged of course, but being a typical British person made no move to scold her. I did give her a lot of withering looks though.
Anyone that was in costume could join the back of the parade, and so it seemed that half the population of NYC had done so. It kept on going and going… so we left. It’s over an hour’s journey to Prashant’s place so didn’t wanna dawdle. I didn’t take any pictures myself cus I knew they’d be rubbish quality at that time of night, but you should definitely check out the official photography here! All in all, a very exciting first night in New York =)