Last night, my mother and I marched in the NYC Halloween Parade in front of thousands of people. How did we get there? I still have no idea.
Yesterday morning, my parents flew in from Europe and arrived in the city for a brief visit. Completely jet-lagged, they could not wait to get into bed and fall asleep. I had other plans for them, however. It was Halloween, and there was no way I was going to let them sleep the night away. Instead, I convinced my mother to accompany me to the huge NYC Halloween Parade along 6th Avenue. She agreed reluctantly, but refused to wear a costume. Thinking that it was very cold and too dark for anyone to see anything, I decided to wing my costume. Who would care anyway what I wore? It was not like I was going to be part of the parade anyway…
After attempting to pull a costume together, I set off towards finding the closest subway stop that would take us down to Spring Street in the village with my mom. As we made our way into the subway, we realized that we were obviously not the only ones headed over to the parade. Since I am used to the buses at Rutgers, being “sardined” against the subway door with little room to breathe was completely normal to me. My mother, on the other hand, looked slightly uncomfortable standing beside The Hulk and Superman.
We wondered whether we would ever get out of the subway. After 20 minutes of waiting around, the entire Halloween crowd rushed out of the train. Believing that we were probably at the right place, my mother and I filed out behind them. The atmosphere was amazing once we got out onto the streets. Thousands of people were running around the village wearing the most creative costumes I have ever seen. The city lights had turned on, and I marveled at the grandeur of the Empire State building as it lit up to a Halloween tune.
After being pushed through the crowd, we ended up finding ourselves in a huge queue along 6th Avenue and Watts Street. On both sides of the avenue, hundreds of people were lined up behind ramps that the police had installed to keep the center of the avenue clear. I leaned over the ramp and surveyed the avenue to see where all the festivities were happening. It was already 7:20 p.m. and the parade had surely begun by then, so where were all the performances? My mother and I figured that we were probably just waiting for the parade to arrive to us. The strange thing, however, was that the police kept opening up our queue letting some of us move forward. This was weird, I thought to myself. Why were we being moved forward if we were simply waiting for the parade to arrive?
We waited in the crowded line for over an hour. Although it was fun to see everyone beside us dressed up in the spookiest costumes, we both could not help wondering whether we had missed the parade or not.
Finally, as we continued moving up the crowd, we reached the end of the line and were allowed to walk freely down 6th Avenue. Looking around us, we noticed people watching us all along the avenue, except that they were still standing behind ramps. My mother and I looked at each other in confusion; perhaps they were also waiting in line to be released onto the avenue.
Still confused, I spotted a crowd in front of us dancing to “Thriller.” We quickly rushed over to them and tried to join in what we thought was a flash mob. However, after watching them dance the same song three times in a row as they marched up 6th Avenue, we began to realize that we were, in fact, part of the parade! We were so surprised! Everywhere, people were cheering as we walked in front of them; some even took pictures of us! I quickly took off my jacket and pretended to be one of the costumed marchers. It felt unreal being able to run over from one act to another and pretend to be marching alongside them. Although we later found at that being part of parade was something quite common, we felt special in the moment.
Being part of the NYC Halloween Parade was an incredible experience. Not only did we get to watch all the amazing performances, but we also got to be a part of them. In fact, after getting over the fact that everyone was watching us, we eventually began to wave and dance like every other performer. It warmed my heart seeing how happy my mom looked alongside all the performers. Having lived in New York for almost 20 years when she was younger, my mother knew how magical the city could become. I was so happy to be part of this magical experience with her. Marching in the NYC’s 2015 Village Halloween Parade with my mom was the best Halloween surprise I could have ever asked for.