Photos and text by Daniel Krieger
After many of the festivities of the past two Halloweens were canceled due to Covid, this year the holiday is returning to its full celebratory glory, and along with it, the inspired installations that have become a tradition on a few select side streets of the Upper West Side. You can see some of the standouts on W. 87th Street, W. 82nd Street, W. 75th Street, W. 70th Street, and the one that has become the most widely known and visited of them all – W. 69th Street.
On a recent afternoon, one of W. 69th Street’s longtime residents, who had just hung a skeleton on a tree in front of her building, told WSR that she has always been involved in the street’s Halloween celebrations, though it was about 15 years ago that she took it to the next level with more elaborate decorations.
“It’s a Halloween block,” she said, “but we can’t handle any more people.” The street gets so inundated on Halloween, she explained, that the mob scene is truly overwhelming, even with help from the NYPD. (Note to readers: for this reason, they would much prefer that you come by to admire the decorations before Halloween.)
Asked why she does it year after year, she said: “Because I love the children and Halloween is my favorite holiday.” (One of her main roles is acquiring and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.) “I just love Halloween,” she went on. “I feel so lucky that we do this. I guess I would go to the parade otherwise, but this is more fun. It’s certainly much more fun for me to interact with children.”