Halloween in New York City was extra spooky this year, but for all the wrong reasons. Apartment buildings canceled door-to-door trick-or-treating, the Halloween Parade and other annual festivities were by and large canceled, and adult parties were verboten or broken up by the Sheriff's Office. But thankfully, those who did venture out in costume still took the subway.
That means we were able to continue our tradition of documenting New Yorkers traversing our mass transit system while covered in cardboard, spandex and fake blood this year, even if — like everything in 2020 — it was a little different. Indefatigable photographer Sai Mokhtari — who conceived this Subway Halloween project eight years ago — ventured down to the subway for the first time since mid-March, determined to capture whatever this year's scene looked like.
"The whole thing was a bit surreal and unnerving at times," she said. "This was my eighth year though, and I absolutely had to photograph it—and I'm glad I did."
As expected, during her three hours underground, Mokhtari saw far fewer people riding the subway in costume than in previous years. But where were these people going? Many said they were headed to/from a public park or a bar; most were spotted at the Union Square station.
The scene was shockingly light on political costumes and tasteless "COVID-themed" outfits, and there were only a few really recognizable costumes (Ken & Barbie, Mario & Luigi, Avatar: The Last Airbender). While many of the costumes were far less ornate than the usual NYC fare, but we give extra credit to anyone who even bothered to bring some Halloween cheer to the city's streets (and almost everyone was wearing a proper mask along with any costume they had on). Check out all the photos up above, and if you spotted any great NYC costumes out there, send photos to email@example.com.