The parade is put on by the people and for the people, and is renowned for its unbounded creativity. Giant puppets, live bands, circus performers, and thousands of costumed participants walk the parade route (Sixth Avenue from Spring St. to 21st St.) every year.
Lou Reed's song (from his 1989 album New York) pays homage not only to the Halloween Parade itself, however, but also uses the parade's revelry as a lens to chronicle friends he lost to the AIDS epidemic. Flamboyant characters are mentioned in each verse, then lamented in the chorus: "This Halloween is something to be sure/Especially to be here without you." This creates a somber tone, but the joy of the event and the people who take part in it still comes through.
Having attended the Halloween Parade several times myself, this song puts me right back there amongst the "born again losers and lavendar boozers," and makes me wish I could be in New York this Halloween to experience the show again.