New York

Everything You Need to Know About the Village Halloween Parade

New York City Halloween Parade
New York City Halloween Parade
New York City Halloween Parade

Something wicked this way comes up Sixth Avenue at nightfall on Halloween: Tens of thousands of dancing skeletons, puppet masterpieces, and masked New Yorkers, marching with a collective hunger for tricks and treats.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Village Halloween Parade. The city’s only night parade is one of the New York’s most storied traditions, drawing 50,000-60,000 marchers each year. Every iteration has reflected the zeitgeist. It was a major point of uplifting in 2001, when people gathered to heal less than a couple of months after September 11. And, alongside the Pride parade, which predates the Halloween Parade by a few years, it has always been a major celebration for the Village’s LGBTQ community to come together and express themselves.

This year promises to be as spooky, colorful, and elaborate as ever. Here’s how to join in the fun.

How do I get there?

Be sure to meet up with your friends before entering the chaos of Sixth Avenue, where it will be difficult to find each other. Take the B, D, F, or M lines to 23rd, 14th, or West 4th Street; the 1, 2, or 3 to 23rd, 18th, 14th, Christopher Street, or Houston Street; or the A, C, or E to West 4th Street, Spring Street, or Canal Street.

Where should I watch?

The parade begins on Sixth Avenue at Spring Street, stretching to 16th Street. Jeanne Fleming — the artistic and producing director of the parade going on her 40th year in attendance — recommends watching in the bustling heart of the Village between Bleecker and 12th Street for peak excitement. Stake out a spot south of Bleecker if you’re looking to avoid the most extreme crowds.

Can I march in the parade?

“Being in the parade is so much better than watching it,” Fleming says. But you must be in costume to be allowed to march. No half-assed attire allowed. The entrypoint for marchers is at Sixth Avenue and Canal Street, and the only open paths to this area are via Sullivan, East Broome, and Canal streets. Arrive between 6:30 and 9pm.

New York City Halloween Parade
New York City Halloween Parade
New York City Halloween Parade

What should I wear?

Anything! At all! So don’t you dare come out in your work clothes and a lame pair of cat ears. Get creative, because the competition will be fierce — you will be among jaw-dropping works of costume design — and secret scouts will select the best of the best masqueraders.

What’s new this year?

This year’s theme is I Am Robot. The parade’s pièce de résistance includes a squad of 12-foot tall robot puppets encircling and dancing around a cart that will produce a massive mechanical butterfly. The rolling performance will repeat more than 30 times during the parade. Puppeteers dressed as giant eyes, ears, and mouths (to represent robots’ sensing functions) will mingle among the crowd. It takes 100-plus volunteers six weeks to create the theme puppets.

Organizers are also introducing a VIP section. Attendees who come dressed as robots can pay $25 to enter at 10th Street, bypass lines, and march with the parade’s Grand Marshall and a DJ.

The parade takes on a different vibe in response to what the city is feeling each year. “It’s always a surprise. That’s the fun of it — what captures people’s imaginations, what they want to be,” Fleming says. “Some years are very light; some years are very heavy. It’s an election year, so I do expect some politics in the parade.”

Fleming says gawkers can expect to see sexy sirens performing a song and dance routine about voting, and a theatrical recreation of the Tesla orbiting the earth. The latter involves a cherry red Tesla, and 20 West Point cadets dressed as Earth-toting astronauts.

New York City Halloween Parade
New York City Halloween Parade
New York City Halloween Parade

What should I do post parade?

An official after-party/benefit will follow the parade for the first time in years. The MasCureAids Ball at Performance Space New York in the East Village will go from 7:30 until 2am. Standard tickets are $75. Partygoers can look forward to an open bar and a midnight costume contest with a $5,000 grand prize.

There will also be plenty of unofficial after parties nearby. The Jane Hotel’s old-fashioned ballroom Halloween Bash is walking distance from the parade’s end ($20). Their open vodka bar is open from 9-10, so this option is best for those leaving the parade on the early side. Farther uptown in Chelsea, the Taj Lounge party is free with advanced registration. If you’re heading toward the East Village on your way home, Katra Lounge is free with registration, too. Or, get your squad to go all out with your costumes and hit rooftop 230 Fifth ($10 advance ticket) for your chance to win free bottle service. And though the usually tight and tiny Village bars will surely be packed body-to-body, they’re worth checking out if you just want to drink and socialize in a more chill setting. Blind Tiger is your best bet for beer, and Julius‘ is one of the neighborhood’s most famous historic gay bars.

Where can I watch if I can’t make it?

The parade will be broadcast live on NY1 from 8 – 9:30pm.Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.

Alex Erdekian is an editorial assistant at Thrillist and thinks giant robot puppets sound quite terrifying.

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 Suprêmes, 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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