NEW YORK (AP) — The ghoulish and the whimsical were out in force as tens of thousands of costumed revelers marched in New York City's 46th annual Village Halloween Parade on Thursday.
The mile and a half parade kicked off in Greenwich Village under an overcast sky and heavy police presence. The parade featured hundreds of Wild Things-themed puppets and more than 50 music bands, dancers and artists. Batman and Spider-Man costumes, as well as Jokers and jack-o-lanterns, were plenty visible.
Shelly Warwick, 79, called her costume "culturally appropriate." The woman from Manhattan's West Village was dressed as an anonymous whistleblower with multicolored whistles attached to her.
"I like this parade because anyone can participate, there's no agenda, everyone can just show up and be what they want, do what they want, it's so democratic, this is just fun," Warwick said.
The parade is open to anyone wearing a costume. It began in 1973 with a puppeteer marching with his family and grew into a televised extravaganza.
Bonnie Hirschhorn, 60, a creative arts therapist from New Paltz, New York, never misses the parade.
"It's a community, when we're all out here together, we play with each other, we talk to each other, we have fun together, all different ages and diversity and colors and cultures," said Hirschhorn, who was garbed in a lacey Day of the Dead outfit.
The New York Police Department was on "heightened vigilance" despite saying there were no credible threats. Some streets were closed off and police officers were stationed at every corner.
Two years ago, the city was just starting to gear up for its evening Halloween celebrations when a man driving a pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a busy bike path along the Hudson River, not far from the parade route, killing eight people and seriously injuring 11 others.