The streets crawled with spooky sights, from floating eyeballs and skeletons to Occupy Wall Street protesters dressed as budget axes, for the annual Halloween parade Monday.
As in years past, current events made their presence felt, as a contingent of about 200 anti-Wall Street demonstrators joined the 39th annual Village Halloween Parade wearing costumes that reflected their protest against economic inequality. Zombies and pink slips were some of their other themes. They carried signs that said "stop the vampire economy" and "foreclosure is scary."
"It's an opportunity for us to show that we're not so bad," said Kristin Fialko, who was marching with an Occupy Wall Street group dressed as everyday working-class heroes speaking out against greed and avarice.
Fialko said the parade was a good way for the protesters to counter negative media images of them.
"Part of social change is going to where the people are at," added Occupy Wall Street protester Mike Sapo, a carpenter from Baltimore.
The parade's artistic and producing director, Jeanne Fleming, said the event "is really a reflection, a microcosm, of what's going on in the world or in the city."
"Whatever's up is in the parade," she said.
Anyone can be a marcher in the parade as long as he or she is in costume. The parade goes along Sixth Avenue in lower Manhattan.
The lively audience, which included families and pets, dressed in a multitude of costumes, too. Stilt walkers, jugglers and musicians entertained the crowd.
George Dunlein, of Baltimore, watched the parade with his longtime companion while encamped in folding chairs.
"There's a lot of individual creativity," Dunlein said. "It's very nice. I like the costumes, the energy of the people, good music."
Besides the usual multitude of blood-soaked zombies, witches and ghouls, there were people dressed as late King of Pop Michael Jackson and as characters from films such as "Star Wars" and "The Wizard of Oz." Broadway musical characters also made a showing, along with patriotic-themed outfits.
Fleming said this year's parade theme is "I of the Beholder," a reference to the reality that people are quick to document everything they see on their smartphones and other devices.
"We noticed we weren't getting the applause we used to get," she said, worried that the caliber of the parade had declined, "but we realized that everybody was using a phone" to take pictures of the marchers going by.