New York

Everything You Need to Know About the Grand Return of the Village Halloween Parade in NYC

After a one-year hiatus, the city's biggest Halloween event is back for 2021.

Steve Edreff/Shutterstock
Steve Edreff/Shutterstock
Steve Edreff/Shutterstock

Halloween in NYC just isn’t complete without the Village Halloween Parade, a cherished October 31st tradition since 1973. Sadly, for only the second time in its 48-year history, the spooky nighttime celebration was canceled in 2020 amid COVID-19 concerns. This year, the parade organizers worked some dark magic to not only design a COVID-safe event, but raise the necessary funds to fully resurrect the parade without trimming its budget-because in times like these, the show must go on.

The 2021 parade theme is “Let’s Play,” aiming to be a triumphant party dedicated to everyone robbed of a proper Halloween last year, and comedic singer Randy Rainbow was chosen as the grand marshal for his ability to make people laugh during challenging times.

Ready to party? Here’s everything you need to know about the grand return of NYC’s Village Halloween Parade and its route. And if parades aren’t your thing, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate all things spooky in the city.

Photo courtesy of Village Halloween Parade
Photo courtesy of Village Halloween Parade
Photo courtesy of Village Halloween Parade

Where and when is the parade?

As its name suggests, the 48th annual Village Halloween Parade will fill the streets of Greenwich Village on Sunday, October 31. The procession moves up Sixth Avenue, beginning at Spring Street at 7 pm and ending at 16th Street around 11 pm.

More: The 17 Best Ways to Celebrate Halloween in NYC This Year

How do I get there?

Traveling underground is always your safest bet for events like these-streets are closed in certain areas, and buses and traffic are rerouted to avoid the parade area. Rally with your crew before you head to the scene and brave the subway on Halloween together. You can take the B, D, F, or M lines to the 23rd, 14th, or West 4th Street stations; the 1, 2, or 3 lines to the 23rd, 18th, 14th, Sheridan Square, or Houston Street stations; or the A, C, or E lines to West 4th Street, Spring Street, or Canal Street.

Photo courtesy of Village Halloween Parade
Photo courtesy of Village Halloween Parade
Photo courtesy of Village Halloween Parade

What’s the best viewing spot?

The biggest crowds often build between Bleecker and 14th Street. Arrive extra early to claim a spot if you’re looking to be at the heart of the event; otherwise, any other place along Sixth Avenue will get you a solid vantage point.

Can I march in the parade?

Yes! As long as you’re in costume, you are permitted-even encouraged-to join the parade alongside hundreds of giant puppets, dozens of bands, a host of dancers, and thousands of like-minded New Yorkers.

Participants must arrive at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Canal Street to join the lineup. You can arrive any time between 6:30pm and 9pm to get in on the fun, but the later you come, the larger the chance that you’ll miss the crowd. If you’re marching with a group of friends, meet up with them before coming to the step-off area to ensure that you can all walk together.

You don’t need to register in advance if you want to march, but for those who hate waiting in lines, you have the option to purchase VIP tickets starting at $100 that allow you to bypass the masses.

Photo courtesy of Village Halloween Parade
Photo courtesy of Village Halloween Parade
Photo courtesy of Village Halloween Parade

What COVID-19 precautions are being taken?

With COVID cases currently more under control than this time last year, the parade is permitted to carry on in 2021 since it takes place on a wide street outdoors. That said, break-through COVID isn’t unheard of, and it’s important that everyone-regardless of vaccination status-brings a mask, whether they’re participating or simply watching.

Parade participants are required to wear a mask upon arrival and keep it on for the duration of the line-up process. Once participants begin marching on the parade route and spacing out, they are allowed to take off their masks, even though face coverings are encouraged from start to finish.

Fortunately, Halloween is a very mask-friendly event, so the parade organizers have challenged everyone in attendance to find a creative way to incorporate their mask into their costume. The parade photographers will be looking out into the crowds on the sidewalk to capture people’s most creatively adorned face coverings.

Can I bring booze?

No. Sadly, even on the most sinful night of the year, open container laws still apply. And the parade isn’t any more forgiving than NYC government: Its zero-tolerance policy for alcohol means you should keep the tallboys to your apartment pregame. You’ve got a long night ahead of you, so pacing yourself is probably for the best.

Photo courtesy of Village Halloween Parade
Photo courtesy of Village Halloween Parade
Photo courtesy of Village Halloween Parade

Where should I party afterward?

As is tradition, the Halloween Parade’s official after-party, Webster Hell, will take place in the East Village on Halloween night. Doors open at Webster Hall at 8 pm and remain open until late, allowing you to bounce over after the parade and keep the party going. Tickets start at $39.50 and all guests must show proof of vaccination to enter.

Where can I watch if I can’t go in person?

If you’re not able to attend or don’t feel comfortable going to large gatherings just yet, you can watch the festivities from home! The Village Halloween Parade will be telecasted live on NY1 from 8 pm to 9:30 pm, and national and international news programs are expected to have some spot coverage as well.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Kyler Alvord is a contributor for Thrillist.

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

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