The parade is set to begin Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Spring Street in Greenwich Village
GREENWICH VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- New York City celebrated the 50th anniversary of their iconic Village Halloween Parade Tuesday night, a "spook-tacular" event.
The parade began around 7 p.m. at Spring Street in Greenwich Village and traveled north on Sixth Avenue from Canal Street to 18th Street.
Performers flew in from around the world to dance up Sixth Avenue, and so did spectators.
This year's theme was 'Upside Down/Inside Out,' reflecting on a return to "normalcy" after the COVID pandemic. While many people spent the lockdown inside, the parade looked to celebrate the freedom of coming out.
"This year's parade not only commemorates its own 50-year history but also pays tribute to those lost to various events like 9/11, AIDS, and COVID, as well as those who have been part of the parade throughout the years," said Jeanne Fleming, long-time director of the parade.
The parade honored music artist Laurie Anderson as grand marshal and Lou Reed as the posthumous grand marshal.
The celebration featured dozens of marching bands, including New Orleans-based band 'The Young Fellaz Brass Band,' who led the parade, hundreds of giant puppets and tens of thousands of costume-laden New Yorkers.
The parade was free for all to view on the sidelines or to join in costume. Tickets were not required, but were available and ticket holders could get VIP access and have the option to choose from various ways to participate.
The NYPD was on high alert to ensure the safety and security of those that attended the event.
Authorities said they were not aware of any "specific or credible threat," but the department remained on guard for any "would-be attackers" who could view the event as an attractive target, especially in light of the crisis in the Middle East.
"A variety of violent extremists and malicious actors have targeted similar mass gatherings in attacks and disrupted plots involving firearms, edged weapons, vehicles, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs)," the NYPD said in an event threat assessment. "The (Intelligence and Counterterrorism Bureau) further assesses that the US continues to face an elevated threat environment amid the ongoing mass casualty escalation in the Israel-Hamas conflict, and malicious actors may view highly publicized and crowded events like the Village Halloween Parade as targets of opportunity."
The parade was expected to go until about 11 p.m.