Financial Woes Spook Halloween Parade Sponsors

7 major sponsors of the famed parade have pulled their funding

It's scary out there. The financial crisis is so bad it's even spooked sponsors of New York City's famed Halloween Parade.

Seven major sponsors of the parade, who fund many of the large floats, have pulled out because "they just couldn't afford it this year," Jeanne Fleming, the parade's artistic director, said Thursday.

The parade features 60,000 costumed participants in outlandish and elaborate costumes, who typically draw up to 2 million spectators along the parade route in the funky West Village.

Major sponsors donate $25,000 and up while small sponsorships start at $500. Fleming confirmed a report in Thursday's Metro newspaper that water bottler Perrier, which is owned by Nestle, dropped out at the last minute, but she would not say how much they contributed.

Fleming said she is working with half the budget she had last year, leaving her with a $4,000 deficit. She declined to give more specifics.

She noted, however, that registration for the 35th annual parade is bigger than ever and predicted more homemade costumes than usual.

"The Halloween parade is a folk event. We can't just say we won't do it this year," she said. "It's what the people need right now ... to allow (their) enormous creativity to come out."

Fleming predicted there would be many election-themed costumes, including a herd of moose with a field-dressed Sarah Palin. "I sort of expect her to be hanging from a stick or something like that," she said.

Major sponsors still committed to this year's parade include Jagermeister, the licorice-flavored liqueur, the Village Voice, WKTU Radio and Monster energy drink maker, which will distribute drinks along the route.

Fleming predicted that angel costumes would be popular but added, "Financial angels are harder to get."

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