Hunts Point streets come alive for Halloween

A young participant at the South Bronx Halloween Parade.

Families from all over the city and beyond came to the neighborhood to celebrate Halloween in what has been a local tradition for more than three decades: the South Bronx Halloween Parade.

Started with only a few people 32 years ago, the parade is now the second largest Halloween parade in New York City, and a few hundred came from all over the city to participate.

In that first parade in 1985, those few participants didn’t parade much. “They walked around the block, then they went and got some hot chocolate. That was it,” said Sandra Reyes-Collazo, a member of Community Board 2 and an organizer of the parade. “Now look at what it’s become!”

The streets were crowded with kids and adults laughing, dancing, eating candy, and most all, wearing intricate and colorful costumes. There were superheroes, clowns, princesses, Ghostbusters, doctors, firefighters, and more.

“What it brings to the community is unity,” Reyes-Collazo added. “It brings families together.”

Daniel Santos spent three days with his son making a ray gun to go with his Ghostbusters costume. The ghost-busting cannon, which he made from a ginger bread house, even lights up, and can open to hold his son’s candy. Santos’ hard work won his son third place in the kids category for the best costume contest.

“We look forward to the parade every year,” said Millie Rodriguez, who has attended the parade for five years in a row. “It’s a great way for the community to come together, everyone hangs out, all the kids come out and have a good time.”

Carla Santiago, 6, dressed as Elsa from the movie “Frozen.” “I like going to the Halloween parade because you get candy. And you can wear your costume two days – during the parade and on Halloween!” she said, beaming.

Local bands came to perform and showcase their talents. A marching band provided a beat during the parade as kids banged the drums. The kids then danced to Thriller, by Michael Jackson, for the residents of Saint Vincent de Paul on Intervale Avenue. Their smiles were contagious – the kids and the residents of Saint Vincent de Paul were beaming from ear to ear.

“Although it’s a lot of planning, it’s worth it, when you see the fruit of your labor,” Reyes-Collazo said. “You see kids with their costumes, you see them smiling, you see families. I think what it is, is seeing the family come together. That’s the best part.”

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