Cobble Hill and Park Slope became spooky strongholds on Tuesday night as ghouls and goblins gathered together for annual Halloween festivities.
While the sun was still high, an assemblage of ghouls and goblins gathered in the park before embarking on a haunting journey through the neighborhood, led by the raucous tunes of the Brass Queens, for the annual Cobble Hill Association Halloween Parade.
Ali Ward and her family dressed up as iconic characters from Star Wars — including Princess Leia, Han Solo, and even little Grogu — also known as Baby Yoda. The family were joined by friends who had traveled from far, far away.
“My husband is British and friends of his came all the way from England because they heard how amazing Halloween in NYC, specifically, in Brooklyn is,” Ward said.
Sandra Nunez, dressed as an exploding rainbow, brought a little color to the route. Her getup was inspired by a costume she saw at the Pride Parade in June, she explained, and Halloween means a little something extra to her family — she and her husband first met at a Halloween parade.
“This parade is my favorite, even since before I had kids,” she said. “I love Halloween.”
The parade route snaked over to Warren Street, where the ghoulish group paused in front of the Cobble Hill Health Center, a skilled nursing facility, where the Brass Queens played a short performance while kids gathered candy from some of the residents.
“Every year the community gets together for this parade, and what we do is get all of our residents outside and lined up, and we buy thousands of candies. The kids come by and we give the candy to them,” said Javier Ariza, Director of Recreation at the Cobble Hill Health Center. “It’s a good way for us to give back to the community that’s so supportive of the Cobble Hill Health Center, and the residents get joy and a sense of nostalgia by doing this. It’s almost like giving candy out to their grandkids.”
As the parade wound its way back to the park and the crowd dispersed, things were just getting started at the Park Slope Halloween Parade. A neighborhood tradition since 1986, the event attracts thousands of costumed tykes each October — and this year was no different.
Caitlin Cahill, and her husband James Bruffee grew up going to the Park Slope parade, Cahill said, and now their two-year-old daughter Kenna will, too. Kenna picked their bright-orange costumes this year — inspired by some local sights.
“Our two year old has been infatuated with traffic cones for probably the last six months,” Cahill said. “We live in Park Slope and walk up and down Sixth Avenue every day and there’s been a lot of construction, so she has just been delighted by them for a long time.”
Lisaura Sanchez and twin daughters Liana and Analisse Cosme traveled all the way from Bensonhurst to march in the parade — dressed and painted as the iconic blue aliens from the “Avatar” franchise, per the request of her daughter.
“I did the makeup, I’m not a makeup artist but I received a lot of compliments!” Sanchez said. “We go to Park Slope during the Halloween season to trick-or-treat. My daughters love the parade.”
A number of people who live along the parade route deck out their homes with Halloween decorations — and even dress up to hand out candy as kids roam the nabe. After a few years without much celebration because of the pandemic, Sanchez was glad to see the streets filled with families and fun again.
“The parade was great; it was such a good vibe that night,” said Stephanie Vo, who attended the parade with her husband, Christopher, and their children Olivia and Connor. “Perfect weather and it just seemed like everyone was in a good mood. We’ve lived in Park Slope for a long time, and I think after the pandemic, everybody was just happy to be gathering again.”
Vo and her family drifted through the streets as though drifting through a dark ocean, dressed up in trailing, light-up jellyfish costumes — which Christopher built after Olivia was inspired by a similar jellyfish outfit at last year’s parade.
“[Christopher] scoured the entire internet to find different ideas, and he spent probably about three days putting it all together,” Vo said. “It’s all for the love of his daughter.”