A Complete Guide on How to Attend New York City’s Iconic Halloween Parade

New York is always buzzing with activity and is one of the most exciting cities in the world. There are big-name sites everywhere travelers turn and look, and there’s never enough time to visit them all. Many tourists just come to see the amazing sights, such as the impressive Empire State Building, the iconic Statue of Liberty, the wonderful Brooklyn Bridge, the historic districts, the famous Central Park, and several renowned museums. Some tourists travel specifically to enjoy the fabulous Broadway performances, while others visit New York City specifically to shop and eat. This city is a treat for its visitors because most of the main attractions are close to each other. Halloween in New York is a very special event, and it is celebrated annually on October 31st. One of the biggest and most beautiful events in this city that never sleeps is the annual New York Village Halloween Parade. Every year, thousands of revelers flock to the Village to watch the incredible procession of music and costumes. Here’s a guide for tourists looking to attend New York City’s iconic Halloween parade.


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A flashback to the Halloween parade

Ralph Lee was the initial planner for this amazing event. Before the parade, he was employed simultaneously as an actor and a mask maker, but in the spring of 1974, when he was a professor at Bennington College, he was asked to direct and organize a campus sideshow. The theme of the event was a young woman who is on the hunt. He had the brilliant idea to personalize several locations around the Bennington College campus. Excited spectators made their way along a predetermined path to numerous places where they witnessed various stages with puppet figures. When Lee and his colleagues organized a second Halloween parade after the first, which drew fewer than 200 participants, they found that the neighbors were genuinely interested. At the end of the second year, he believed that the parade needed to be its own entity, its own organization.

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The Westbeth Community Room served as the new location for subsequent parades, which at the time were partially supported by the city and featured musical performances that had collaborated with Lee for a time. Puppets have been seen flying from flagpoles, in windows, and on door steps. The parades grew larger over the years as more people came to see and participate in the costumes, local and international media coverage increased, and Lee’s designs attracted more viewers. When Fleming learned that Lee no longer wanted to lead the procession, she took charge of her and they discussed methods for her to continue. She spoke to neighborhood councils, city departments and everyone else who was committed to making sure the event ran smoothly. Fleming informed us that audience numbers have increased over the years from 15-20 thousand to 2 million people and currently range between 50-60 thousand participants.

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Participate in the fabulous Halloween parade

March in the Town Halloween Parade

People can join the line at Sullivan, East Broome, and Canal streets, which are east of Sixth Avenue. Instead of trying to place their group in the heart of the tumultuous line, attendees are encouraged to pick up their friends a few streets away and then line up for the parade. Participants can arrive early at the starting point on Sixth Ave and get a better viewing spot.

  • Start time: 7:00 PM, but it is recommended to be there no later than 6:30.
  • Duration: about 4 hours
  • Costumes: Theme-related costumes are required.
  • This year’s theme: Freedom
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New York City Halloween Parade Participation Fee

Anyone can watch the New York City Village Halloween Parade for free from the sidelines or participate in costume, but people can purchase VIP tickets.

  • Level I VIP ticket: The ticket costs $100. It gives participants the privilege of skipping the lines and avoiding the long wait.
  • Level II VIP ticket: The ticket costs $200. It gives participants the privilege to skip the lines, avoid the long wait, and enter VIP viewing sections near the telecast along the parade route.
  • Ticket to join special sections of the parade: The ticket costs $50. Participants’ ticket entitles them to skip the line, early admission, Jon Batiste’s Freedom dance with the Grand Marshall section, and television coverage, as well as the ability to interact with other costume enthusiasts like themselves!
  • Ticket to walk on the front line: The ticket costs $500. Participants can walk alongside artistic director Jeanne Fleming and lead the parade.

Tips to get the most out of the Halloween parade

Participants are advised to plan and know the routes they want to take to join the parade before they go, especially as the roads will be crowded. Also, it is crucial to review the theme of the year, then it is time for the celebrants to express their creativity in their costumes. For the safety of the participants, it is recommended to go in groups, gather before arriving at the Halloween Parade and familiarize yourself with the clothing of your friends if it is difficult to identify them, so that they do not get lost. Finally, as in any event, people must take care of their belongings; pickpockets will take advantage.

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