Story and photos by Sylvester Arenas
In the South Bronx, it is billed as “the Social Event of the year.” Last Friday, hundreds of residents gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The New South Bronx Halloween Parade.
Dressed in everything from zombie to Michael Jackson costumes, adults and children marched amid the banners and floats that honored neighborhood heroes, including U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano, community organizations and local clergy, who were lauded for supporting the Hunts Point community.
Many residents of Hunts Point, an African-American and Latino community, have been coming to the parade for years. “We’re representing the love that we have here for each other and for everybody here at Hunts Point,” says 17-year-old William Martinez, who was dressed in a zombie costume.
The parade began at 5:30 p.m. on Simpson Street and Westchester Avenue. Under a full moon, it continued down a small stretch of Southern Boulevard, ending at Tiffany Street in front of St. Athanasius, a Catholic church.
The celebration featured contests for best costume, as well as for the banner and float that best represented a local hero. Contestants were featured on a large video screen on Father Gigante Plaza, near Tiffany Street.
The parade may be about heroes, but it doesn’t hurt that winners of the contests get cash prizes and candy. But, for most parade goers, the celebration is about community bonding and coming out to have fun.