It is not everyday that one can see Zorro riding horseback around the Yale campus followed by an entourage of hundreds of miniature superheroes.
The Mayor’s Halloween Parade in New Haven Tuesday brought together students from elementary and middle schools across the city to celebrate and dress up as their favorite heroes, both real and imaginary.
Starting around 10:30 a.m., the parade took off at the corner of Temple and Church streets, made its way to Chapel and College streets, and eventually came to a halt at the intersection of Elm and Temple streets. The theme of the parade was “Heroes,” so the children in the parade marched through the streets dressed as people they admire.
Some of the most popular outfits included those of policemen and firemen.
Shirly Bostic, a teacher from Truman School, said her children chose to dress as firefighters and police officers because they appreciated what people in those professions did for the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
“The children unanimously chose these costumes because they were proud of our country,” Bostic said.
Laneisha, a first-grader at Truman, said prior to the parade she was very excited about being able to dress up with her classmates. Wally, another Truman student, commented on his costume of choice.
“I wanted to be a policeman because the police protect and save us,” Wally said.
The children and teachers watching the parade had just as much fun as those that were in the parade. The children from the YMCA preschool on Howe Street made their second annual appearance at the parade in pumpkin costumes. Toni Gigantino, a teacher at the YMCA, said the children spent the past week painting and cutting out their costumes to get ready for the parade.
“Last year we had such a good experience at the parade that the children could not wait to come back this year,” Gigantino said.
For many of the 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds under Gigantino’s care, this parade is the only chance they would get to celebrate the holiday.
“A lot of the kids don’t celebrate Halloween at home,” said Gigantino. “So the parade is a good way for them to experience the joy that other kids their age get to experience on this fun day.”
Many of the children that participated in yesterday’s parade put a lot of effort into preparing for the event. The members of the Roberto Clemente Middle School Band spent mornings and afternoons for the past month preparing their routine. Latara Scott, a sixth-grader in the band, said being in the band requires a lot of hard work and dedication.
“We are not allowed to miss any practice,” said Scott. “And if we do miss, we are not allowed to march in the parade.”
Tanika Simuel, a flag-twirler in the band, agreed with her classmate. She said their song, “Just Do It,” took a lot of work to perfect.
New Haven police and firemen also participated in the parade, with the New Haven Fire Department leading the procession in its Aerial Tower 1 engine.