One of the most famous and well attended annual events in Manhattan is the Village’s Halloween Parade. This parade has been around since 1974 and has grown in both size and popularity over the years. It is the United States largest Halloween event that is open to the public.
The Village Parade is televised every year and averages one hundred million viewers per year. Cultural anthropologists have studied this parade and it has also been featured in dozens of travel guides and national magazines.
Unlike most parades, the Village Parade always takes place after dark. Over the years the parade has become a more formal event than it was in the early days and is now seen as an alternative festival.
The theme of the Village Parade is different every year and is decided on by Sophie Michahelles and Alex Kahn, who are puppet artists that participate in the parade every year. They do this so that those who participate in the parade can plan their costume to fit the parade’s theme. A lot of research goes into choosing a yearly theme. The research is focused on the symbolic meanings and rituals of cultural celebrations.
One of the most unique aspects of the Village Halloween Parade is that after the parade is over, participants attend various costume parties at nearby restaurants, bars and nightclubs. This allows them to continue the fun of the evening and allows them to mingle with other participants.