About 200 people attended the Glendale Kiwanis Halloween Parade Sunday, Oct. 31, for a community costume contest.
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 initially created 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.”
The parade started at 65th Street and Myrtle Avenue at 2 p.m. and went into St. Pancras School Yard off 68th Street, where there was a costume contest and every child who participated got a bag of goodies.
Teresa Donahue, the president of Glendale Kiwanis, said the parade has been a source of happiness for many residents for decades.
“Since 1966, the Glendale Halloween Parade has been bringing the community together to celebrate the holiday in each other’s company with joy and creativity,” Donahue said.
Donahue also said the costumes were “wonderfully original.” There were 15 prize winners, including a family dressed as “Alice in Wonderland” characters, a pirate family and a Popeye costume. One member of Glendale Kiwanis came dressed as a hot dog since hot dogs are often served at the group’s events.
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.”
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.”