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The first year I attended Park Slope’s delightful Halloween Parade was in the mid-1980s. You might remember me, a somewhat absurd figure in an enormous Afro (a wig, if memory serves) and a white suit right out of “Saturday Night Fever.”
There were only a few hundred of us back then, holding our kids’ hands and marching up Seventh Avenue as a counterpoint to that horror fest in Greenwich Village.
Now, of course, the Park Slope parade is the biggest kids Halloween celebration in the country (a wonder that our borough president hasn’t touted it on all those overseas tourism junkets), yet it has not lost its sense of wonder, its genuine innocence and its rollicking good feeling.
For an old gray head of puppetry and mime, there’s nothing better for me than seeing a wall of costumed marchers on parade. But it’s more than the sight of all those the Batmen, Robins, pirates, killer bees, Joe Sixpacks and Dorothys from “The Wizard of Oz” that make me happy; it’s the community feeling of the event that shows that Brooklyn has the “Main Street” values that the Republicans are going around “real America” saying that we don’t have.
If this event isn’t “real America,” than why are 22 local stores sponsoring the costume contest this year (my favorite category? Least original costume, sponsored by the Park Slope Copy Center). If big city folk don’t know about community, why is the editor of the local paper, our own Gersh Kuntzman, going to be wearing his “Miss Brooklyn” wedding dress and serving as a master of ceremonies (no, it’s not just because he loves to dress in drag).
If there are no real small businesses on the coasts, why will all the stores on Seventh Avenue be handing out candy like it’s, well, candy on Friday night?
And if this isn’t a borough that cares about its country, why will there be so many people dressed as Sarah Palin?
Of course, all that’s too much thinking for a man of mime like me. But please, keep an eye out for a guy who’s a bit too old to be wearing a black-and-white striped shirt, whiteface and a beret who still does a mean “walking against wind” routine.
The parade starts at 12th Street at 6 pm. For more information, see our expansive Halloween calendar on page 11.
Trey Dooley is the editor emeritus of Modern Marionette magazine and was the founding editor of “Let’s Mime!” a journal of the International Mime Society. He is in the American Puppetry Hall of Fame (writer’s wing).
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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