The Village Halloween Parade

The Village Halloween Parade is an annual street pageant and celebration in New York City. It takes place on Halloween night in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan (route provided below). The parade has been going on continuously for 46 years, and is akin to a mini Mardi Gras, which is why it is often referred to as “New York’s Carnival”.

If you’re curious about what to expect, think puppets, bands, dancers, and artists galore at the Village Halloween Parade. You’ll also see Basil Twist’s Zora, the iconic spider puppet and official mascot of the parade, hanging from the tower of Jefferson Market Library. And there’s no phoning it in by the participants at this incredible event. The creativity of fellow marchers–locals and visitors alike–is on full display, with the most intricate, creative, amazing homemade costumes you’ll find anywhere.

Pic of a Village Halloween Parade participant dressed as Van Gogh's 1889 self-portrait, courtesy of Village Halloween Parade

Though you may choose to enter the parade in the general public line-up (expect very long lines!), there are other parade access options, though they’ll cost you. For instance, each year the parade has a special theme and that theme has a section in the parade. Attendees can use this theme as inspiration for their costume designs and then join that special section on Halloween night. You can find a specific description of the special theme, ticket prices, and details about the accompanying rules and perks here. Another option to “skip the line” is to join the band section. For a small fee, of course. But how cool would that be?! You can find additional info for all participation options here.

NOTE: All proceeds from ticket sales go to support the parade, which only receives partial public funding.

So don’t miss out on this incredible, fun-filled evening. Get your creativity flowing and make a costume that will blow people’s minds! We’re sure to see you there.

Still craving more Halloween fun? Check out our visit to The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze here.

Can’t get enough of one of the best parade scenes in the country? Plan your next warm weather visit to New York City around the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, one of the most beloved, creative Summer events in the five boroughs.

All photos courtesy of Village Halloween Parade.

-L. & J.

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is the largest art parade in the nation. More than 3,000 creatives and over half-a-million parade-goers descend upon the festive, seaside neighborhood located in Brooklyn, New York to celebrate ancient mythology, creative expression, and community pride. The parade was founded in 1983 by the non-profit arts organization Coney Island USA.

The 37th annual iteration of the parade will start at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue and roll east to West 10th Street. At West 10th Street, the parade then turns south towards the boardwalk. Cars and Motorized Floats continue down Surf Avenue, passing W. 10th Street and exiting the parade. At the Boardwalk, the marchers and push-pull floats turn west and head towards West 17th Street. At Steeplechase Plaza, the Parade disbands.

Immediately after the last participant passes the review stand at West 19th and Surf Avenue, parade founder Dick D. Zigun leads the King and Queen procession from the review stand at 19th and Surf Avenue, through MCU Parking lot, and on to the beach for the official Beach Ceremony, officially opening the beach for the summer swimming season.

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is a one of a kind New York City event. Don’t miss it!

You can find more information about the parade here.

You can read all about our experience at the 2017 parade here.

The Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade

The annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade is a canine-focused Halloween celebration, costume parade and competition. Until recently, it was held at Tompkins Square Park. Due to insurance-related issues (allegedly), the event was first canceled and then recently relocated. This year, the dog parade will be held at East River Park Amphitheater. Contestants will have to opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars in prizes.


Twenty-eight years ago, the inaugural Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade began as a small, casual, low-key event held by neighborhood locals. It wasn’t just a Halloween celebration, though, it was also the after-party for a hard-fought community victory: the successful launch of the city’s first dog run. From there, word spread and the event grew in popularity every year thereafter. The number of participants (now in the hundreds), along with spectators (now in the thousands), have markedly increased year after year.

You can find more information about the parade and competition here.

You can also take a look at our posts on the 2016 and 2017 parades here and here, respectively.

A Tip Of The Hat: The New York City Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

Have you ever wondered how we came up with the name of our blog, Mad Hatters NYC? We actually drew inspiration from a number of sources, the most obvious one being Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. We’re not the only ones to draw a parallel between New York City and Carroll’s land of magic and make-believe. But one day a year, the comparison takes on a life on its own. During the New York City Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival, a large group of Mad Hatters descends on Fifth Avenue and the world of fantasy and reality collide.

Continue reading A Tip Of The Hat: The New York City Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival