Tarrytown’s Joe Arduino recalls the first Halloween parade when he started as Recreation Director in 2002. It took a group effort to get the parade going and it will take an even bigger effort to restore it to its original luster.
A special committee has been formed – between the Chamber of Commerce, the Rec Department, and several merchants – to make the parade better than ever.
As far as they’re concerned:
Halloween Starts Now!
We do live in "Halloween Country" after all, and expectations are high.
Though you might think the onus of a Halloween parade might be on Sleepy Hollow, they focus on their hayride/block party instead. “That became their staple event,” said Arduino. “They stuck with that and we’ve stayed with our parade and we parted amicably on the whole thing. Since the name change [to Sleepy Hollow] they’ve capitalized on the holiday and why not?”
The first several years of the parade, Arduino said there were many more floats and elaborate ones at that. He remembered a Christmas-themed float complete with electricity. Now, things have settled to their current level where the onlookers (3,000 to 3,500) greatly outnumber the participants. "We need more people inthe parade than viewing the parade," he said.
The committee would like to boost their numbers and have many more people marching, or driving, the parade route from Patriot’s Park to Main Street the Saturday before Halloween.
Last year of course was a bust. The 10th annual parade was snowed out, and couldn’t even move to its “rain date” of Sunday as the weather was awful then too. Though there was some noise to reschedule to a different weekend, it wasn’t really an option, said Arduino. Once Halloween is over, it’s “anti-climatic.”
This year is the 11th annual or maybe we should call it the 10th?
In any case, join in.
Organizations, neighborhoods, businesses, corporations, schools, nonprofits, families, friends, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, sports teams, anyone and everyone are invited to participate.
It costs nothing to do, and it doesn't even require a float. Get creative. "You don't need a hitch or a flatbed truck, you could just decorate the family car," said Arduino. "Although we appreciate it, it doesn't have to be elaborate." As far as storing your decorated vehicle or supplies, you're on your own. All participants, in cars or walking, must have costumes. (And don't throw your candy or beads please.)
The deadline to enter is October 25, using the registration form attached. For more information contact the recreation department at 631-8347 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The parade is Saturday, Oct. 27. Gathering at Patriot's Park at 5 p.m. with the parade beginning at 6 p.m.
"We love doing it," said Arduino. "It's our biggest power pack event of the year. Lots of effort, lots of time and then it's over in a blink of the eye but we really enjoy it."
So do we.