Sunday, September 29, 2013

Parents and grandparents scare up amazing costumes for Bay Ridge's Ragamuffin Parade

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Andrew Schwartz For New York Daily News

While most kids spent the summer eating ice cream, 2-year old Gianna Solitario was getting fitted for an ice cream cone Halloween costume.

She'll sport the sweet ensemble at Saturday's Ragamuffin Parade in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where kids compete in a costume contest before marching up Third Ave. in their ghoulish garb.

Gianna already has an edge over other contestants. Her grandparents, Bob and Marianne Fezza, are six-time grand prize costume winners in the annual parade. And they've been crafting their grandkids' ice cream truck prop and matching outfits for almost two months.

"Every year, we try to outdo ourselves from the previous year," says Marianne, 53, whose daughter Jillian won as a child for elaborate getups like a heart-shaped box of Valentine's chocolates and a Chinese takeout box.

Now they dress Jillian's kids. "It's more time-consuming than anything else, but we're really into arts and crafts, and the kids love it," says Marianne.

While the event sees its share of off-the-rack Elmos and superheroes, many parents and grandparents pride themselves on making their kids' Halloween outfits from scratch.

Bob, 66, is transforming discarded cardboard and foam from the warehouse where he works into a bright blue ice cream truck with working LED headlamps.

Marianne's making an ice cream cap for Gianna from foam, and transforming a felt cupcake costume the tot wore last Halloween into the cone. Gianna's brother Sean, 5, will wear a white suit as the ice cream man.

"Oh my heavens!" Sean gasps, staring at his truck. His Batman costume (and the cardboard Batmobile they built around his bike) won last year.

"I need another piece of cardboard to shore up the bumper," sniffs Bob, a perfectionist.

Three generations of the Fezza family have marched in the parade, which began in 1967 when the Our Lady of Angels church invited kids from neighboring parishes to parade up Third Ave. dressed in their parents' old clothes.

Source: Nydailynews

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