Future of Village Halloween Parade at risk without funding for festivities

The organizer of the Village Halloween Parade, a New York institution on its 40th anniversary, is hoping to fund the festivities through an online campaign. Credit: Getty Images
The organizer of the Village Halloween Parade, a New York institution in its 40th anniversary, is hoping to fund the festivities through an online campaign.
Credit: Getty Images

The Village Halloween Parade, a New York institution in its 40th anniversary, is “teetering,” according to its organizer, Jeanne Fleming.

The parade took a huge loss last year when it had to be canceled after Superstorm Sandy, much to the chagrin of at least 28,000 pleading on Facebook for it to go on.

This year, Fleming and her small cadre of devoted artists and dreamers are fighting to bring it back.

They’ve launched a Kickstarter with the goal of raising $50,000, the net loss stemming from last year’s canceled parade.

Fleming noted that with even minimal support from the 60,000 people who participate in the event, it could go on. Add to that the estimated 2 million spectators, and another couple of million who watch on TV — Fleming said it is NY1′s most watched program of the year — and it seems impossible that the Kickstarter is only halfway to its goal.

And there’s no doubt that there is interest in the parade this year: She’s already helping coordinate plans for a group from “the Burning Man community” that anticipates a turnout of 4,000 to 5,000 people.

“If everybody gave a dollar, well, we’ll be fine,” she said.

Part of the issue the parade faces this year is a spike in insurance costs after Sandy, and new demands by parade sponsors for additional — and expensive — cancellation insurance.

The city should have an interest in supporting the parade as well: Fleming said it brings in an estimated $90 million into the city’s economy. The parade’s cancellation last year “was a huge loss for downtown.”

“It’s the best night for business in Greenwich Village and Soho and all the clubs and restaurants,” she said, noting that she has gotten calls from many of them, as well as the Chamber of Commerce.

Fleming has been the parade’s producer since its eighth year. It was started 40 years ago almost by accident by a puppeteer named Ralph Lee who lived in the Village and would walk through the streets with his kids. People followed, and before Lee knew it, it was a parade. Lee was in it for the art and overwhelmed by the logistics of it, so Fleming stepped in and said, “I’ll cover all the parts you don’t want to do.”

“I gave it to myself as a present every year,” said Fleming.

Fleming has always seen the parade as “an opportunity on a big scale for New Yorkers to come out and express their creativity.”

“It was such a great way for ordinary people to be stars of their own movie for a night,” she said. “That’s what fascinates me: It’s the joy that tens of thousands of people experience that night and connectedness that isn’t mediated by a device.”

She described it as a rare opportunity where New Yorkers can find themselves “interacting with each other, with people they don’t know, without the phone, the cell phone, the computer. It’s really live, it’s physical.”

“Kids, black, white, young, old, and they’re all standing there together with these huge smiles on their faces,” she added wistfully. “The parade is like a little utopia where everybody gets along.”

“Everybody’s who they want to be that night,” she added. “I never get tired of it.”

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Train selfie star who got kicked in the…

  A 22-year-old Canadian man who posted a video of himself getting kicked in the head by a train conductor is set to cash in…

National

Call of Duty hoaxer blamed for $100K SWAT…

A heavilly-armed SWAT team and an army of police officers stormed a Long Island home fearing a grisly double homicide – only to find it…

National

Minnie Driver tweets naked celebrity snap to 'shut…

Actress Minnie Driver has responded to bitchy critics who sniped about her bikini body by Tweeting a naked picture of herself. The 44-year-old star of…

National

American middle classes no longer world's richest (guess…

America's middle classes are no longer the richest in the world – having been overtaken in the wealth stakes by their Canadian counterparts. For almost…

Television

John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…

The Word

What we learned from the premiere of 'True…

Does watching someone's marriage implode make for great TV? The show runners at "True Tori" think Tori Spelling's heartbreak is hot stuff indeed.

NHL

Lundqvist, Rangers take control as Flyers falter in…

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist turned away 31 Flyers shots to give the Blueshirts the series edge with a 4-1 victory Tuesday nigh

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.

NBA

Breaking down the Sixers top draft options

With the NBA Playoffs now in full force, there’s only one thing on the mind of Sixers fans at the moment -- the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery.

MLB

Metro one-on-one: Q&A with Phillies centerfielder Ben Revere

Charlie Manuel used to say that the Phillies go as Jimmy Rollins goes. Well, Ryne Sandberg might have a new Phillies catalyst, Ben Revere, in his midst.

Wellbeing

How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.

Food

Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.

Travel

Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.

Wellbeing

Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.