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Basil Twist spider Jefferson Market Library Tower
Photograph: Courtesy BasilTwist.com

A giant spider will descend over Greenwich Village for Halloween

Basil Twist's iconic puppet will return for one night, despite the parade's cancelation.

By
Shaye Weaver
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The spirit of Halloween isn't dead—it's dangling off the side of the Jefferson Market Library Tower.

On Halloween night, from 7pm to 10pm, a giant, sparkly spider will be hanging off the tower as it does each year during the Village Halloween Parade. The parade is canceled this year, but the spider will still make an appearance.

The spider, named Zohra, is the creation of Master Puppeteer Basil Twist.

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He has been showing the 10-foot-wide spider off for over 25 years. Each Halloween night, Twist carries the 10-foot-wide spider, which is made of aluminum and lightweight foam, up 149 stairs to the top of the clock tower. From there, he manipulates her from the top so that those walking in and watching the parade can see her in all her glittery glory.

"Zohra" is a Quranic girl's name that means "radiant white color." Interestingly, there was a prisoner at the Jefferson Market, which was originally a courthouse, whose name was Zohra.

Last year, Twist and Zohra were named the parade's grand marshals. 

Twist has been creating puppets for the parade with Artistic Director of the Parade Jeanne Fleming since 1991, when he created a swarm of bats. Zohra was created in 1994.

You can see her creeping around in the video below:

Twist is best-known for his underwater puppet show "Symphonie Fantastique" and in 2010, he created puppets for Broadway's The Pee-Wee Herman Show and The Addams Family. He has received numerous awards, including an Obie Award, a Creative Capital Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Twist was named a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient in 2015.

While the parade is canceled, organizers are bringing a mini-parade to those of us at home. At noon on Saturday, halloween-nyc.com will stream the 15-minute baby parade featuring toy-sized puppets and tiny floats that'll pass by NYC's iconic buildings. The grand marshal is "Pinocchio" and actor Donald Corren will provide live commentary set to music by On The Lam Band.

There's also a special "tricky treat" organizers are planning in the Village that is under special wraps until it happens.

Fleming says the event "will happen on Halloween night and it will be Covid safe! Keep tuned for hints…but just like the child who comes to your door on Halloween, you won’t know who it is or what it is till you see it! BOO!"

Make sure to check the parade's social media to keep on top of when and where it'll take place.

In the meantime, meet the most die-hard Village Halloween Parade marchers:

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