According to some legends, the Village Halloween Parade began in 1974, when the now 81-year-old puppeteer Ralph Lee was asked by the Theater for the New York City to do something for the Halloween of that year. In the beginning the parade was well-attended but small enough for people to join and leave. By 1980 the parade had gotten so big that the city had to start using barricades to keep order.
Today, this annual holiday parade and street pageant stretches more than a mile and draws two million spectators, more than sixty thousand costumed participants, and a world-wide television audience of one hundred million. The official website of Village Halloween Parade calls itself “The nation’s most wildly creative public participatory event in the greatest city in the world.”
From the original community parade in West Village to the now city-wide carnival, the Village Halloween Parade marks the change in the ever-growing New York City. Ralph Lee said that in the beginning “in the Village…things were more open and there was more sense of community. So many residents along the route would open their doors and let us set up lights in their apartments and put our ‘creatures’ on their rooftops and fire escapes. It really shifted the feel of the environment to be able to do that. But I can’t imagine that people today would open their doors that way.”
Let us not forget this history of the Village Halloween Parade as visitors, new-comers, and young people and use it as a reminder as we influence the future of the city in our everyday lives. Finally, enjoy a lovely children’s dance video to the Gummy Bear song! Wish we always keep our inner children alive.