As the scariest night of the year approaches, we are called on to consider the many frights and delights of Halloween. This holiday has long been celebrated in the Western World, and holds particular cultural value in our lovely town of New York, where with a few days left before the ghoulish occasion, costume stores are in full swing selling their seasonal wares. From famous movie and pop legend disguises to attire for mummies, vampires, witches and ghosts, shoppers are bound to emerge from their shopping sprees dressed to impress. Especially popular this time around are costumes and make-up drawing inspiration from the hit AMC Show "Walking Dead." It would seem that zombies have come into the spotlight at long last.
The most creative fans of this spooky holiday begin to prep long before Halloween makes its approach known in shop windows and newspaper ads. These diehards set out to develop their own characters and dress themselves to the nines in the appropriate finery, be it pom poms of bloody bandages. The city manages to feel simultaneously gloomy and cheerful, owing to the decorative garnishes found adorning homes and businesses alike: cemeteries, skeletons, spiders and cobwebs give the metropolis a pleasantly nightmarish vibe. Of course, the most traditional symbol of this holiday is the pumpkin, which can be found in profusion are all over town. Some folks carve these with terrible faces place a lit candle inside of the hollowed gourd for optimal nighttime results.
Inhabitants of the NYC and lucky visitors can take in a huge annual costume parade, which traditionally takes place in the lower part of Manhattan and proves time and again to be an unforgettable spectacle in which thousands of people in disguise transform the streets with their imaginative creations and zany activities.
Anyone in costume can take part in this fantastic procession, which boasts top of the line stage decoration, light design, sound engineering, requiring preparation as early as a month in advance in order to reach its spectacular potential. This year's parade celebrates its fortieth birthday in the city that never sleeps! WIth a nice, even number to round out its place in our hearts, I hope that this tradition will continue into the future in spite of all the stumbling blocks it's faced (in 2012, the parade was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy's devastation). Let's hope that this year, it'll be a time for people to forget about their workaday worries and just have fun. Don't let me catch you sitting at home on this night of nights; go have a ghastly good time!
The parade will take place on October 31st, starting at 7:00pm and runs straight up 6th Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street. For those who'd rather watch than participate, its best to stake out your vantage point a few hours in advance, given the "terrifying" density of the crowds.
For those more daring individuals who wish to participate, meet at 6th Avenue between Spring Street and Canal Street at no later than 8:30pm . There are no age limits, so whether you are 7 or 70 years old, you are always welcome.
For those who won't be able to make this event in the flesh but want to experience the atmosphere of the holiday in a televised format, you can view it on
WPIX CHANNEL 11 : 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
NY 1 : 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Don't miss out, it'll be dreadfully fun!
Happy Halloween, All!
Bogdan Kovalev (New York, NY)
Joan Wolkoff (Brooklyn, NY)