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N.Y.C. Halloween Parade Turns 25

November 1, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Thousands of revelers dressed as giant insects, frightful monsters and fabulous drag queens boogied through lower Manhattan as the city’s biggest Halloween party celebrated its 25th anniversary.

``I’m always in feathers. So I said this year I’m going to go as a cowboy,″ Maur Dubin, 72, a Manhattan antiques dealer said Saturday.

``It used to be nothing but drag queens,″ he recalled of the parade’s early years. ``It is much more broad spectrum now ... There’s a lot more ingenuity.″

One group of men dressed in pink striped shorts and T-shirts as a half-dozen copies of the diet guru Richard Simmons. A crowd of cotton Q-Tips competed for space with Moses carrying the 10 commandments and Teletubbies wore tiny TV sets on their bellies.

Some costumes reflected recent political or pop cultural obsessions _ a handful of Monica Lewinsky impersonators marched with several cigar-carrying President Bill Clintons, and Titanic passengers toted life preservers.

Members of one performance band danced up Sixth Avenue as enormous bugs, including an elaborate bee, a wasp with huge clear plastic wings and several gleeful flies.

``Every year we try to do something bigger, but this year everybody’s doing something bigger,″ said David Yearwood, 30 of Brooklyn, who was a black plastic caterpillar several yards high and covered in green and purple spots. ``Everybody’s doing more than they’ve ever done.″

Parade-watchers packed the sidewalks eight to 10 deep in some places and others leaned out of windows to watch the moving spectacle. Crowds cheered for creative costumes and flamboyant performances and clapped as bands and music-blaring floats moved up the avenue.

``If your costume’s good and you perform well, you can really feel the crowd,″ Dubin said. ``You can get to be any character you can create and no one knows who you really are.″

The Village parade celebrated not only its silver anniversary, but its very survival this year after some sought to scrap the zany hoopla that has grown into a spectacle attracting upwards of a million people.

For the first parade in 1974, puppets were made in the apartment of a Village designer to accompany about 200 marchers, many of whom were friends.

Some 20,000 people now march north from Spring Street in SoHo, coming in costume from all over the city and suburbs. Individual revelers join artistic floats produced in an upstate workshop with the help of corporate sponsors.

No arrests or incidents were immediately reported, and police could not provide a crowd estimate.

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