Posts Tagged ‘Greenwich Village Halloween Parade’

The Village Halloween Parade’s humble start

October 28, 2009

For years, it’s been a colossal spectacle, with deep crowds lining Sixth Avenue, thousands of marchers donning fantastically creative props and costumes, and live TV coverage capturing each moment.

Plus tons of cops, police barricades, drunken kids, and litter—lots of litter.

But in the early 1970s, the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade was more of a small-scale bit of street theater, a mile-long walk planned by a local mask-maker and pupeteer for his West Village neighbors.

Villagehalloweenparade

The giant caterpillars of the 1998 parade, standing tall on Sixth Avenue

It started in the courtyard of Westbeth, the factory-turned-artist lofts on Bethune Street. From there, a few dozen revelers in masks and costumes—including a man in a lobster outfit and a two-headed pig—wandered along the Village’s side streets to Washington Square.

The parade’s popularity took off fast—as did the number of marchers and viewers. By 1984, the parade grew so massive, the route had to be relocated to Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 22nd Street to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of people who came to the Village to see it.

Halloween in Greenwich Village

October 27, 2008

Before the annual Village Halloween Parade got its start in 1973, there was the Greenwich Village Halloween Carnival, as reads the poster this 1920s-era bohemian chick is putting up on a street sign pole.

It’s tough to make out the fine print and find out where it was held, for example. But it looks like someone named Paul Whiteman was the sponsor.