On Halloween, Occupy Wall Street got scary.
That’s certainly been the consensus of the Zuccotti Park press corps, which is more or less universally reporting a dark new trend to the occupation: the park’s growing population of the drunk, the violent, and the mentally ill.
The phenomenon is real, as is the challenge it poses to the Occupy movement. And the media was all over it yesterday, pivoting with the instinctive synchronization of a school of fish to chase an initial story in Monday’s Daily News.
Tweets and dispatches from reporters downtown conveyed a sense of suspicion and dread: Was the city sabotaging the occupation by directing trouble-makers to the park? Was Woodstock turning into Altamont before our eyes? Was the occupation being overrun by craven, dead-eyed zombies, lurking in the shadows behind the tents that have sprung up in the park over the last week?
In the case of the last question, at least, the answer was an unqualified yes. It was, after all, Halloween. And in a movement that has already shown a fondness for costumes and street theater, it came as no surprise that Zuccotti Park last night was populated by all sorts of bloody, rotten-fleshed monsters. Also at least three Jesuses, several Marie Antoinettes, and innumerable tycoons and white-collar felons.
A sizable contingent of these staggered north to Sixth Avenue and Watts street to join the city’s annual Halloween parade, infusing their paper-mache agitprop into the parade.
The murky dilemmas of Zuccotti Park behind them for a moment, the Occupy Halloween scene felt reassuringly like a party.
And compared to the rest of the parade, populated as usual by sexy fish, sexy Big Birds, and sexy Mr. Potatoheads, they weren’t even that scary.