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‘All about the smiles’: Hundreds take part in annual College Point Halloween Parade and Festival

Halloween
Halloween revelers celebrate in MacNeil Park after the Halloween Parade on Oct. 30, 2022. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

The second annual College Point Halloween Parade and Festival kicked off on the corner of 14th Avenue and College Point Boulevard in College Point on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022.

Accompanied by the NYPD Marching Band and Color Guard, about a thousand Halloween revelers made their way down College Point Boulevard to MacNeil Park, where bouncy houses, the NYPD game truck, the FDNY fire safety truck, pony rides, pizza, cotton candy, entertainment by Cido the Clown, a performance by students of Champions Martial Art and much more were waiting for the youngsters and those young at heart.

College Point families came out for the second annual Halloween Parade and Festival on Oct. 30, 2022. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Retired NYPD Det. Kevin O’Donnell, who serves as the president of the College Point Halloween Committee, said that the committee had talked about organizing a Halloween parade for years. A couple of guys called him since he had worked at the 109th Precinct in community affairs to help get “things off the ground,” he said.

“Last year, we started for the first time,” O’Donnell said. “The community loved it. So we did it again.”

He explained the whole community supported the event. Sixty sponsors chipped in, and seniors at the local senior center packed over 300 bags of candy which the kids received at the end of the parade. He had 20 volunteers but admitted that he could use a lot more.

“You know, every year this gets bigger, and people come out, we’ll get more and more people involved,” O’Donnell said.

Nine-year-old Sophie was dressed as Red Riding Hood because it is her favorite childhood story.

“I love Halloween because we get candy and get dressed up, and I love the story behind it,” she said.

Her mom Lorena Perea said the event was great because of the community feeling.

“This makes me really happy because they are thinking about the kids, you know, and the community as well,” Perea said.

Councilwoman Vickie Paladino served as the parade’s grand marshal and said the event was “phenomenal.”

“Look at the crowd,” Paladino said. “Everything College Point does in this little town everybody comes out for. That doesn’t happen in other parts of the district like this. This is one of a kind.”

Councilwoman Vickie Paladino was grand marshal of the parade. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

She was thrilled to see people living life again after COVID-19.

“That’s what this is all about — everybody going back to normal, smiling, enjoying each other’s company,” Paladino said, referring to the event. “Get out. Everything else is kind of depressing. Don’t think about it. Look at the day; the sun is shining. I couldn’t be happier.”

While Cido the Clown entertained the crowd from the park’s main stage with magic tricks, Halloween revelers enjoyed the free food and activities.

Cido the Clown entertained Halloween revelers in MacNeil Park. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Abdom Calderon heard about the event through his daughter’s school.

“That’s the first time I’m here,” Calderon said. “So to me, it’s a big surprise. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams kept his address to the crowd “short and sweet.” After wishing everyone a happy Halloween, he reminded everyone to come out and vote.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams with Councilwoman Vickie Paladino (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

“It’s early voting now, and I need you to flip over the ballot because there are three questions on the back of the ballot,” Williams said.

Kevin O’Donnell was looking forward to next year.

Kevin O’Donnell, president of the College Point Halloween committee, speaks to revelers in MacNeil Park after the parade. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

“It’s all about the smiles on the kids’ faces,” O’Donnell said. “As you walk around, they’re all happy. It turned out to be a beautiful day, and the crowds were incredible, and that’s all that matters.”

See more photos of the event below.

(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

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