Hazmat suits and disease quarantine centers take center stage at annual NYC Halloween Parade
Bloody zombies lumbered alongside superheroes, cowboys shared the road with villains and marchers in hazardous-materials garb evoked the Ebola crisis as the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade made its freewheeling way through downtown Manhattan on Friday night.
Creativity was on display and current events were on marchers' minds as a costumed crowd of thousands flowed up Sixth Avenue on a windy Halloween night.
Dr. Jane Testa sported a 'hammer out Ebola' costume featuring a hazmat suit, flashing lights, a large version of the virus - made of balloons - and a sign with a biohazard symbol and the message: 'Quarantine: Ebola outbreak. Deadly force may be used.'
'Don't get too close!' Testa warned, holding a balloon hammer with a red cross.
Center stage: A man dressed as a quarantined Ebola patient walks in the 41st Annual Village Halloween Parade in New York
'Oh hey': Mr Ebola gives a wave to the boys in blue in Manhattan's Greenwich Village on Friday night
Hazmat: The parade starts on Spring Street before heading more than a mile along Sixth Avenue
Zombie nurses: Thousands of costumed New Yorkers gather every year at the parade
Night of the living dead: Parade participants march in the 41st Annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in New York
Spooky: Puppeteers scare the thousands of spectators gathered to see the parade
Star of the show: US comedian and grand marshal Whoopi Goldberg takes part in the 41st Annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade
On her float: Whoopi Goldberg waves to onlookers as she leads the parade through Greenwich Village
Quite an eyeful: Parade participants march in the 41st Annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in New York
Chainsaw massacre clowns: About 50,000 were expected for the parade
Yummy: A zombie nurse shows off her graphic costume
The three boobs: The Annual Village Halloween Parade was celebrating its 41st anniversary this year
Ciao, Mona Lisa: A parade participant marches in the 41st Annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in New York
Boo: Parade participants march in the 41st Annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in New York on Friday night
Stressing that her heart goes out to those infected, she said she spent several days making the costume 'to raise awareness'.
'And laughter,' added her friend Dawn Sickles, who also donned a hazmat suit.
As usual, the mood along the parade route was Carnival-esque, with eruptions of loud music and collective cheers.
People backed up for blocks waiting to enter the route, while throngs of spectators snapped photos and took in costumes that included Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pocahontas, Marilyn Monroe, assorted fruits, a 1980s-themed float and more.
Ben Goodkin folded his arms solemnly as he described why he chose to dress as Pope Francis.
'He's an inspiration to many people around the world,' Goodkin said.
'And it's humorous.'
The 18-year-old, a first-year student at New York University, had never been to the parade before.
'I love it,' he said.
Ouch: A reveler in costume posed for a photo during the 41st Annual Village Halloween Parade on October 31, 2014
Naughty: A couple dressed in nude costumes walk during the 41st annual Village Halloween Parade
Eek: Two girls dressed as zombies parade during the 41st annual Village Halloween Parade
Superhero: Walter Goolsby, dressed as superhero the Flash, shouts with the crowd during the parade
Just another person on the subway: Jesus Pellot, dressed as a zombie, poses for a photo at the 14th St. station before heading to the 41st Annual Village Halloween Parade
Clowns have to eat, too: Monica Lares bought food from a cart during the 41st Annual Village Halloween Parade
Not far away, the ancient Egyptian monarchs Ramses and Cleopatra - also known as Erwin and Cassandra Dmello of Connecticut - were celebrating Halloween for the first time.
The Dmellos, both 30, are originally from Bombay, India.
'We heard about this and wanted to be a part of it,' Cassandra Dmello said.
The parade, which is open to anyone in a costume, prides itself on being an anything-goes spectacle.
It started in 1973 with a puppeteer marching with his family and grew into a televised extravaganza that draws thousands of spectators.
But it's had a bit of a rocky road in recent years.
Spectators watch from the barricades during the 41st Annual Village Halloween Parade
The 2012 parade was canceled because of Superstorm Sandy.
Last year, an emergency online funding campaign raised more than $50,000 to revive it.
Jordi Sole, of Barcelona, Spain, and Jose Manuel, of Madrid, looked pleasantly stunned as they took pictures of the parade Friday.
Sole, 47, and Manuel, 51, are in town for Sunday's New York City Marathon.
Thriller: Zombie's dance on Sixth Avenue during the 41st annual Village Halloween Parade
Alien invasion: Parade participants march in the 41st Annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in New York on Friday night