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Kids enjoy ‘other’ parade so much, that it’s scary!

©NYU Photo Bureau Three grand marshals were feeling grand, from left, Maria Diaz, executive director of G.V.C.C.C.; N.Y.U.’s Laurence Maslon; and Elizabeth Butson, The Villager’s former publisher; receiving a proclamation from state Senator Brad Hoylman.
©NYU Photo Bureau
Three grand marshals were feeling grand, from left, Maria Diaz, executive director of G.V.C.C.C.; N.Y.U.’s Laurence Maslon; and Elizabeth Butson, The Villager’s former publisher; receiving a proclamation from state Senator Brad Hoylman.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Greenwich Village Children’s Halloween Parade, sponsored by Community Board 2 and N.Y.U.

Frequently called New York City’s “other” Halloween parade, the Greenwich Village Children’s Halloween Parade was founded in 1990 by Arty Stricker, who was then C.B. 2’s chairperson.

The annual Village Halloween Parade was a large, noisy and not-so-kid-friendly nighttime event. Strickler, with the help of New York University, established the smaller daytime parade designed especially for area kids. 

Kids enjoy ‘other’ parade  so much, that it’s scary!
Chickens and others flocked to the Children’s Halloween Parade.

That first year, the kids’ parade started off small, with about 1,000 paradegoers circling Washington Square Park. The event ended inside the park, with entertainment by the N.Y.U. Pep Band. Back then, N.Y.U. and C.B. 2 handed out some 700 treat bags. In following years, face painters were added, as well as a couple of Moon Bounces to help entertain the children. Strickler, who went on to become C.B. 2 district manager, died in 2006 at age 60.

In 2008, in response to the parade’s growing popularity, its closing festivities were moved out of the park and onto LaGuardia Place to provide additional entertainment. In addition to the Moon Bounces, the organizers have added two giant slides and a carousel. Popcorn, cotton candy and live entertainment, such as Gazillion Bubble Show, Shira and Friends and performances by Making Books Sing have made the event a success.   

This year’s 25th anniversary drew more than 3,000 participants and 1,500 treat bags were handed out. Hot Peas N’ Butter and DJ Ben the Beyonder entertained the crowd. 

The parade grand marshals were selected for their commitment and service to the Greenwich Village community. They included Laurence Maslon, associate chairperson / art professor at the graduate acting program at N.Y.U.’s Tisch School of the Arts and chairperson of the Superblock Stewardship Advisory Committee; Maria Diaz, executive director of the Greenwich Village – Chelsea Chamber of Commerce; Inspector Joseph Simonetti, Sixth Precinct commanding officer; and Elizabeth Butson, vice chairperson of Jefferson Market Garden and a board member of VillageCare.

Kids enjoyed taking a spin on the carousel.
Kids enjoyed taking a spin on the carousel.

“This time-honored tradition continues to bring C.B. 2, N.Y.U. and the community together in celebration of Halloween and has grown to be one of the biggest parades we know of for children in Manhattan,” said Arlene Peralta, assistant director of N.Y.U. Community Affairs. “It was also such an honor to receive a proclamation from state Senator Hoylman honoring N.Y.U. and C.B. 2 on our 25th anniversary.”

Marie Spears, administrative manager for N.Y.U. Government and Community Affairs, has been part of the parade’s organizing from the very beginning.

A “Frozen” family thought the event was totally cool.
A “Frozen” family thought the event was totally cool.

“As a parent who loves Halloween, I love the creativity of the parents and kids,” she said. “My favorite part has always been the homemade costumes or the families that come as a themed unit. The best costume, even to this day, was the kid who took a clear umbrella and covered it in iridescent plastic to become a jellyfish. The family that came as honeybees, including the honeycomb and beekeeper was also very clever. It’s been fun to watch the trends, too. One year there were 100 Harry Potters running around! Our 25th anniversary was a huge success due to a combination of factors, including great weather, a Saturday Halloween, Hot Peas N’ Butter and awesome volunteers. It was one of the best in memory and I’m proud to be a part of a much-loved event.”