The Garden of Earthly Delights!

Feel the Love in our garden!

2013 brought the Revival of the Parade after Hurricane Sandy and ALL OF YOU brought it back!

This year we celebrate the JOY of finding our tribe— so this year’s celebration is about YOU and the secret garden of the Village Halloween Parade where all of you Earthly Delights gather in the landscape of New York City.

So, our 2014 Theme is: The Garden of Earthly Delights!                   

Although one often associates Halloween with things Infernal, this year’s Halloween Parade is headed to Paradise, or more specifically the Garden of Earthly Delights. Join us as we unearth the layers of Heironymous Bosch’s timeless altarpiece, exploring the precarious borderland Garden between the primeval terrors of wilderness and the modern confines of civility.Is there an oasis, a point of respite between the ravaging wilds of nature and stifling constrictions of urban life? A garden is above all, a place of precarious balance - just enough nature to tie us to our primeval roots, yet not so much we might lose our way and fall prey to the dangers that lurk in the wilderness. It is a narrow borderland of green where one might be of nature without being fully in it. The great gardens of Europe often featured mazes of hedgerows, where visitors could experience the vicarious terror of becoming lost (literally “bewildered”) while taking comfort from the confines of civilization that encircled them.

The beginning of humankind’s transition to sedentary farming coincides with a mythological obsession with the Garden, as the dangerous uncertainty of our hunter-gatherer past gave way to ordered paths, sheltering walls, and sustaining bounties. The Tree of Life and the fruits of immortality are never found in the forest, jungle, or savannah, but rather in a cultivated Garden - whether Golden Apples tended by the Hesperides of the Greeks, or the Jade Emperor’s Peaches of Immortality pilfered by Monkey King of Chinese Myth, or the Biblical Garden of Eden whose fruits bring knowledge even as they harken the end of innocence. Like Borges’ Garden of the Forking Paths, it is a place of infinite possibilities and permutations contained within a finite and intimate space. Gardens are also places of forbidden delights and forgotten joys hidden away behind ivied walls and locked gates. The Secret Gardens of Hans Christian Andersen and Frances Hodgson Burnett remind us that the Garden evokes a return to childhood’s fearless and ephemeral embrace of the world.

The New York Village Halloween Parade has always been a secret garden of sorts, a place where, for 40 years, wildness of every rare variety has flourished within the high walls of New York’s avenues. Halloween being a night of inversions, our “garden” is not a safe place where the “wild” is kept out; it is a safe place where the wildness of imagination is invited in! Just as Frederick Law Olmsted’s ramble in Central Park cultivates the liberating thrill of bewilderment amidst its twisting paths, paraders know they will be safe within the procession.

This year Parade puppeteers will sow the seeds of a verdant Garden, turning 6th Avenue into a greenway of surging shoots, unfurling blossoms, and tempting fruits dangling low from the animated boughs of a giant Tree of Life. All are invited to our workshops to help bring our not-so-secret, world-famous “garden” to life and celebrate our oasis of wildness that in the end (as Olmsted said) is what truly civilizes us.

Hallelujah Halloween!

Jeanne Fleming, Artistic and Producing Director

Alex Kahn, Master Puppeteer

Get your 2014 Garden Tee!