While the forecast is calling for a chilly Halloween in NYC this year, as the 31st falls on a Saturday, during a rare blue moon, under normal circumstances we'd be eagerly awaiting the Village Halloween Parade, one of our favorite annual traditions. Of course, it's been cancelled for 2020 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Artistic and producing director Jeanne Fleming posted an open letter to the community:

Why do we do the Halloween Parade? Because we LOVE New Yorkers and their vast creativity!

Why are we cancelling the Halloween Parade this year? For the very same reason. Because we love YOU ALL too much to endanger you and we care about your health and well-being.

This year’s theme was to be: BIG LOVE! BIG EMBRACE! To include all New Yorkers in a joyful celebration of our unique collective imagination.

The Halloween Parade is all about the connection between the participants—all those who walk in the Parade in costume—and our audience (the rest of New York!). That person to person connection is at the heart of this event. We do not want to lose all of this joyful time, this irrepressible spirit of NYC and the marvelous creative folks who make up the Parade and the joyful souls who watch and play.

As the New York Times once said: “the Halloween Parade is the best entertainment that the people of this city give to people of this city”.

As we considered doing “something” online this year as place holder, we felt that idea went against all that the parade stands for: this LIVE interaction between folks.

So, we realized that the Parade could not/should not happen online.

So what will happen?

Halloween is all about Trick or Treat! So, we are going to do a trick that will be a treat! Like the Parade itself—which is a spontaneous gathering of people, our Halloween treat will be spontaneous and unannounced and unique to our night Parade.

Our tricky treat will happen on Halloween night and it will be Covid safe! Keep tuned for hints…but just like the child who comes to your door on Halloween, you won’t know who it is or what it is till you see it! BOO!

As is the tradition, Master Puppeteer Basil Twist’s Giant Spider will come out of the Tower of the Jefferson Market Library in the psychic heart of Greenwich Village on Halloween night. High above the street, she will practice social distancing of an arachnid sort! You may catch a glimpse of her, So, LOOK UP!

So, Halloween lovers of New York, we are not abandoning you—the Spirit of Halloween will be in NYC—except this year, instead of YOU surprising US when you arrive to be in the Parade, WE will surprise YOU and keep the spirit alive.

And remember…in the spirit of Halloween—WEAR YOUR MASK Every day!

In addition to keeping an eye out for Zohra the Spider, parade organizers will be airing video of a miniature Halloween parade, featuring the puppet work of 30 artists from throughout the parade's history. It'll be on YouTube starting at 12 PM ET on the 31st.

Spectrum News NY1 will also help keep the spirit of the parade alive this year by airing a retrospective at 7 PM ET on Saturday. Meanwhile, we've put together our own retrospective of some of our favorite Halloween Parade pictures we've taken over the past few years. You'll find a mix of spooky, funny, ornate, pop-culture inspired, and politically-themed costumes in our gallery, which you can browse below.

photos by Amanda Hatfield and Sachyn Mital