Organizers of the Village Halloween Parade turned to crowdfunding to help bring the event back from the dead. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following "Money Matters" report.
One of the immediate casualties of Hurricane Sandy was the Village Halloween Parade, which would have stepped off just two days after the storm. Canceling the event was unprecedented.
“We've never had this problem before and we just simply, it was just devastating for us,” says organizer Jordan Matthews.
Canceling the parade was emotionally and financially devastating. This season, organizers once again found themselves facing a terrifying scenario: What if there wasn't enough money to bring the parade back from the dead? Rather than risk disappointing some 60,000 participants and a crowd of well over one million people who line up to watch it, organizers decided to scare up some money through crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Their goal was $50,000.
At the center of the Kickstarter campaign is a video detailing the parade's plight and a peek at the men and women behind the masks.
“We interviewed a lot of the important people on the parade, some of our master puppeteers,” says Matthews. “I think it was just kind of putting a face to the parade and being like, ‘Hey there are real people who really care, who really love this event who are making this happen for you.’”
The crowd came through. More than 900 backers pitched in over $56,000 with an average donation of $63.
The Kickstarter video’s producer, Jordan Matthews, son of Parade Director Jeanne Fleming, is no stranger to donations. When last Halloween found him in desperate need of a kidney transplant, he found a donor in Jeff Bratcher, a longtime parade volunteer.
“He wanted to give back because the New York City Halloween Parade was one of his gateways into New York City when he first moved here,” Matthews says.
Both Bratcher and Matthews will be riding on one of this year's special floats dedicated to superheroes without capes.
“People who helped after Sandy are heroes in their everyday lives,” Matthews says.
With the success of the Kickstarter campaign, Matthews said it’s likely organizers will turn to social media in the future to keep the parade afloat long after its 40th anniversary.
“We do it for the people. We do it for how many people come out. We love being able to provide this thing so that people can continue to enjoy it for years and years and years and years and years to come,” Matthews says.