NYC’s oldest Halloween parade expects hundreds this Sunday in Glendale

Residents march down Myrtle Avenue in previous Halloween parade. (Photo by Dean Moses)

Glendale Kiwanis will host its annual Halloween parade with a costume contest starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31.  

The Glendale Kiwanis Halloween Parade started in 1966 and is now the oldest Halloween event in New York City. Community Board 5 Chair Vincent Arcuri said the event was originally started as an attempt to reduce vandalism on Halloween. 

“It practically eliminated vandalism,” Arcuri said. “You don’t see painting and stuff all over the place because they’re kept busy.”

(Photo by Dean Moses)

The parade starts at 65 Street and Myrtle Avenue at 2 p.m. and goes into St. Pancras School Yard on 68th Street, where there will be a costume contest. Every child participating will get a bag of goodies. 

The event started after longtime Glendale resident, Jim Donnellan, decided he wanted a Halloween parade in his hometown. Donnellan put together the parade with just $100 from a local sponsor. 

“The year of the first parade, 1966, the committee consisted of Artie and Ronnie LaFres, my wife Kitty and myself,” Donnellan told the Ridgewood Times in 1999. “Kitty made up posters announcing the forthcoming parade, and I went to local merchants and bought $100 worth of prizes. In those days, $100 was a lot of money.”

(Photo by Dean Moses)

Glendale Kiwanis started sponsoring the event in the ’70s, which Donnellan said helped it grow. 

“Many years have passed since that first Halloween parade, and many generations have marched on Halloween night,” Donnellan said. “Thanks to the members of the Glendale Kiwanis Club, the parade gets bigger and better every year.”

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