By Rebecca Henely
Thousands crowded along 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights wearing their spooky best Sunday for the 21st-annual Halloween Parade. Organized by the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, the parade featured costumed kids and their sometimes-costumed parents as well as student bands and civic groups.
“It’s for children,” said Darryl Hoss of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group who, along with Ed Westley, was one of the organizers of the parade.
The parade is considered the second-largest Halloween event in the city after the parade in the West Village.
“It’s one of the things that’s best known about Jackson Heights,” said City Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), who marched in the parade.
Hoss, who has been involved in putting on the parade for 10 years, said the event this year had a very good turnout, especially compared to last year when many came late due to a schedule change.
Francisco Moya, Democratic candidate for the 39th Assembly District who marched in the parade, said the event gets bigger every year and the success was a testament to the hard work of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group.
“We’re all kids today and really enjoying it,” Moya said.
Many volunteers worked to put it together. In addition to the parade, children younger than 13 who come dressed in a costume get a bag of candy. So Saturday 70 volunteers were needed to pack the nearly 3,000 bags of candy in PS 69, and 30 volunteers helped distribute them Sunday. Hoss said many police officers were on hand to keep the parade peaceful.
“We actually have more police and barricades than last year,” Hoss said.
Hoss said that after the parade a reception was held for both the volunteers in the parade and the police.
Rachel Cabra, 9, who lives in Jackson Heights, said she liked how the parade featured more music compared to previous years.
“Everything was good,” she said.
Dromm said the parade was a great event for the community.
“It’s just as good as the Village’s Halloween parade,” he said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.