The day is here: Tonight, the 46th annual Village Halloween Parade will once again fill the streets of Manhattan with costumed characters.
The organizers expect as many as 60,000 marchers in the parade, and more than a million people typically gather in the West Village to watch the festivities—which means the area around Sixth Avenue becomes a raging party or a congested nightmare, depending on your feelings about Halloween. (This year’s weather—rainy, with gusty winds expected in the evening—might make it a bit less festive than usual.)
This year, the theme is “Wild Thing” and you can head over to the parade’s website for an explanation of what that means. (A brief snippet: “the Wild Thing affirms life over death, celebrating rites of fertility, safeguarding the herds, or simply reminding us to love life’s most basic and visceral gifts.” Okay!) Parade organizers have tapped puppeteer Basil Twist and his creepy creation Zohra the giant spider to serve as grand marshal, and this year, there’s a VIP section where you can hang out with them, provided you’re willing to pay $25.
So whether you’re still putting the finishing touches on your costume or would rather stay as far away from the dressed-up hordes as possible, here’s what you need to know.
When is the Village Halloween Parade?
It happens on Halloween itself: Thursday, October 31, beginning at 7 p.m.
Where is the Village Halloween Parade?
The route travels along Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street.
How do I join the Village Halloween Parade?
Marchers line up on Sixth Avenue and Canal Streets at 6:30 p.m. The qualifications for participation are simple: All you really need to do is wear a costume and make your way to the starting point between 6:30 and 9 p.m.
Take note: There is a zero-tolerance policy regarding alcohol, so showing up drunk is a big no-no.
What streets will be closed during the parade?
Here’s the list straight from the NYPD, with these closures in effect officially from 7 to 11 p.m. Expect closures to start a bit earlier, though.
- 6th Avenue between Spring Street and Canal Street
- Dominick Street between Varick Street and 6th Avenue
- Sullivan Street between Broome Street and Spring Street
- Broome Street between Sullivan Street and Varick Street
- Spring Street between Sullivan Street and Varick Street
- 16th Street between 5th Avenue and 7th Avenue
- 17th Street between 5th Avenue and 7th Avenue
- 18th Street between 5th Avenue and 7th Avenue
- 10th Street between 6th Avenue and Greenwich Avenue
- Van Dam Street between Varick Street and 6th Avenue
How do I get across Sixth Avenue during the parade?
There will be seven pedestrian crossings, according to the NYPD (E/B and W/B = eastbound and westbound):
- Prince /Charlton Street (E/B and W/B)
- W. 4th Street (E/B only)
- Washington Pl. (W/B only)
- 11th Street (E/B and W/B)
- 13th Street (E/B and W/B)
- 14th Street (E/B and W/B)
- 15th Street (E/B and W/B)
How do I get to the Village Halloween Parade?
The subway is your best bet; some of the busiest MTA stations (including West 4th Street and 14th Street) are part of the parade route. The MTA has put out its own guide to getting around, too.
Something to keep in mind: Some bus lines in the area could be affected by the parade; those include the M7, M8, M14A/D SBS, M21, M55, SIM1, SIM1c, SIM3c, SIM4c, SIM7, SIM9, SIM33, SIM33c, SIM34.
Be warned that access to several subway stations—Spring Street, West 4th Street, and 14th Street (at Sixth Avenue)—will also be affected. According to the MTA, some of the staircases at those stations will be entrance- or exit-only.
How do I avoid it?
That’s simple: Just don’t go to Greenwich Village or Chelsea tonight. (You can still watch it from home—NY1 will broadcast from the parade, as it’s done for the past several years.)