In October 1974, my daughter Athena came home from PS 41 with her pal Heather Lee to ask if I was willing to let people dress up in costumes and masks and perform from the windows of our three story brownstone for a new kind of Halloween parade.
That very first West Village Halloween parade was a procession of a few hundred kids winding their way through the streets of the West Village and encountering houses like ours with witches and goblins that would hoot and cackle and interact with the kids below.
Heather’s father, Ralph Lee, was a mask maker and had accumulated several hundred masks. He thought up this first parade which started from West Beth where the Lee family lived.
When I can amass the courage, I carry an aluminum step ladder to 6th Avenue to watch a mass of hundreds of thousands of people in what is by far the most imaginative parade in America; I think of Heather and Athena on that very first night 34 years ago.