CULTURE

Photographic Proof That New Yorkers’ Halloween Costumes Used to Be Actually Scary


Allan Tannenbaum

When New York’s Village Halloween Parade was established in 1974, creator Ralph Lee envisioned it as a gathering of his intimate artist community. (Lee was a puppeteer and mask-maker.) And while that vision endured for the next decade, after which Lee distanced himself from the parade due to, he said at the time, “his disappointment that the parade was no longer the theatrical-community event he envisioned, but a more commercialized specter,” it has, in the intervening 44 years it’s run, expanded to encompass tens of thousands of participants and as many as two million spectators, many of whom descend on Greenwich Village in lurid masks and bloodied robes—as well as the occasional, more lighthearted getups—to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve. As the annual parade draws nearer, we’ve rounded up a few of the best, most terrifying after-dark images of the Village Halloween Parade in its ’80s heyday for your last minute vintage costume inspiration. And not a Pennywise in sight.

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Anthony Barboza

New Yorkers in costume during the annual Village Halloween Parade during the 1980s in Greenwich Village, New York City. Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images.

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Anthony Barboza

New Yorkers in costume during the annual Village Halloween Parade during the 1980s in Greenwich Village, New York City. Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images.

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New York Daily News Archive

New Yorkers in costume during the annual Village Halloween Parade during the 1980s in Greenwich Village, New York City. Photo by Clarence Davis/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images.

4
Anthony Barboza

New Yorkers in costume during the annual Village Halloween Parade during the 1980s in Greenwich Village, New York City. Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images.

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Anthony Barboza

New Yorkers in costume during the annual Village Halloween Parade during the 1980s in Greenwich Village, New York City. Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images.

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Allan Tannenbaum

New Yorkers in costume during the annual Village Halloween Parade during the 1980s in Greenwich Village, New York City. Photo by Allan Tannenbaum/Getty Images.

7
Anthony Barboza

New Yorkers in costume during the annual Village Halloween Parade during the 1980s in Greenwich Village, New York City. Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images.

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Anthony Barboza

New Yorkers in costume during the annual Village Halloween Parade during the 1980s in Greenwich Village, New York City. Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images.

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Allan Tannenbaum

New Yorkers in costume during the annual Village Halloween Parade during the 1980s in Greenwich Village, New York City. Photo by Allan Tannenbaum/Getty Images.

10
Anthony Barboza

New Yorkers in costume during the annual Village Halloween Parade during the 1980s in Greenwich Village, New York City. Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images.

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Anthony Barboza

New Yorkers in costume during the annual Village Halloween Parade during the 1980s in Greenwich Village, New York City. Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images.

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Barbara Alper

New Yorkers in costume during the annual Village Halloween Parade during the 1980s in Greenwich Village, New York City. Photo by Barbara Alper/Getty Images.