Oct. 28, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Thousands of people are expected to flock to Jackson Heights Monday for one of New York City’s biggest Halloween parades.
The annual Jackson Heights Children’s Halloween parade will step off at 5 p.m. at the corner of 89th Street and 37th Avenue. Costume-clad participants will march down to the Foodtown Supermarket located at the corner of 76th Street and 37th Avenue.
At the end of the route, goodie bags stuffed with candy will be handed out to the children participating in the parade – one of the event’s highlights.
The event will see a return of parade favorites like the I.S. 230 marching band drum corps—which consists of 40 drummers—as well as community organizations like local schools and scout troops.
The parade is being organized by the Jackson Heights Beautification Group (JHBG), a volunteer group that aims to improve the local area.
The JHBG is expecting a big turnout Monday with Governor Kathy Hochul among a number of lawmakers scheduled to attend. Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz are among the four Grand Marshals for this year’s event who will also be present.
Last year, around 5,000 spectators lined the sidewalks to celebrate the festivities and around 2,300 goodie bags were handed out, organizers said.
The parade has been held annually for more than 30 years and is considered the largest children’s Halloween parade in the city, according to Ed Westley, the director of the JHBG. The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is the largest in the five boroughs although it is for both adults and children.
“We organize the parade for the children of Jackson Heights so they can have a fun time,” Westley said. “There is no charge or fundraising, it is strictly for the children.”
Westley said the event brings the community together and more than 100 volunteers will assist the group in stuffing the goodie bags on Oct. 29, two days before the parade.
He said the parade also helps acknowledge people who have contributed to the community with local business leaders George Spetsieris and Louie Suljovic joining Richards and Cruz as Grand Marshals this year.
Spetsieris owned Ultima Florist on 37th Avenue for more than 50 years, while Suljovic is the co-owner of Louie’s Pizzeria on Baxter Avenue. Suljovic survived being stabbed nine times while helping fend off two men who attacked a woman outside the pizzeria in June.
Westley said he is looking forward to seeing all the various costumes and the parade will go ahead rain or shine.
“The only thing we’re concerned about is that rain is forecast but it seems like we might be able to step between the drops,” Westley said.