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Even though the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a sight to be seen, sometimes things don't go according to plan, and even change the parade. Here are some mishaps from the parade throughout the years, including balloon deflations and injuries.

Before 1997

  1. 1928:
  • The Giant Dog tore loose from his leash near 90th Street.
  • The Turkey hit a No Parking sign at 58th Street and 6th Avenue.

Due to this, Both balloons deflated and were removed from the parade.

  1. 1931:
  • The Terrible Turk hit an electric sign at 72nd Street and tore in half.
  • After the balloon release, Felix the Cat had got tangled on telephone wires and eventually had caught on fire.
  1. 1932:
  • The Tom-Cat hooked onto an airplane when the pilot of the airplane was attempting to catch it, sending the plane into a tailspin. Due to this accident, Macy's stopped releasing the balloons at the end of the parade.
  1. 1933:
  • The 90-foot Andy the Alligator split in two, losing his tail south of 70th Street.
  • Gulliver had his nose punctured, but he was repaired at Lincoln Square.
  1. 1936:
  • Father Knickerbocker got his nose stuck at the elevated train line in Lincoln Square. Even though he was repaired, his left arm wasn't, as it had come off the balloon.
  1. 1939:
  • Uncle Sam started leaking helium, but he was filled up again and repaired.
  1. 1941:
  • Santa Claus was damaged in one part of the route, and collapsed to the ground.
  1. 1946:
  1. 1948:
  • One of the Monkey's legs was punctured before the parade.
  1. 1949:
  • The Dachshund had problems at 47th Street.
  • The Crocodile also had problems at 74th Street.

Both however were repaired.

  1. 1951:
  • The Fish hit a lamppost and sprung a leak at 8th Avenue.
  1. 1952:
  • The Crocodile's right arm was punctured.
  1. 1953:
  • The Toy Soldier blew out overnight, and was replaced by the Crocodile.
  1. 1955:
  • Spaceman's right arm was punctured by a Lamppost at 62nd street but was repaired
  1. 1956:
  • The Gorgeous Gobbler was deflated in an accident.
  • The Observer also got deflated in an accident.
  • Mighty Mouse barely survived the winds that year, as it nearly crashed at Columbus Circle. It did arrive at Herald Square, just mare seconds before finally succumbing to the winds and deflating.
  1. 1957:
  • Popeye's hat got filled with water due to heavy rain and the design of the hat. This caused the balloon to go off-course and pour freezing water on the crowd. The balloon's hat was remade for the next parade, so it did not cause any more water spillages.
  • The Observer almost hit a lamppost and a TV camera truck.
  1. 1958:
  • Popeye's arm got punctured, and so the balloon had to be removed.
  • The Gorgeous Gobbler could not be carried by the cranes.
  1. 1960:
  • Happy Dragon sprung a leak before the parade, but it was repaired in time.
  1. 1961:
  • The Gorgeous Gobbler's face deflated at 77th Street. Even with this, the balloon made it through.
  1. 1962:
  • Donald Duck's hat got filled with water due to heavy rain and much like with Popeye in 1957, Donald's hat drenched cold water on the crowd.
  1. 1963:
  1. 1964:
  • Dino the Dinosaur was punctured by a lamppost at Columbus Circle, tearing a hole in its side, in which it had barely made it through the parade route.
  • Popeye failed to inflate the night before and was replaced with Happy Dragon.
  • Donald Duck was pushed around by strong winds but he was not damaged.
  1. 1965:
  1. 1966:
  1. 1971:
  • All the balloons were grounded for the only time ever in the parade due to extreme winds and very heavy rain, which meant that the Smile and new Mickey Mouse balloons had to debut properly the following year.
  1. 1972
  1. 1973:
  1. 1975:

All of them ended up being removed from the parade.

  1. 1976:
  • As with the previous year, Weeble couldn't finish the parade route as it had been punctured by a streetlight at the starting line, the balloon stayed deflated before eventally collapsing at times square
  • Underdog's right hand and left leg was punctured from lampposts
  1. 1977:
  1. 1978:
  1. 1980:
  • Aviator Snoopy was left out of the parade as a shard of glass broke the leg of the balloon. When he returned the following year, a noticeable black patch was covered over the leg puncture.
  1. 1982:
  • Bullwinkle collided with traffic lights at the start of the parade so his nose started to deflate. The balloon struggled along the route until having to be taken out four blocks before the finish line.
  • Kermit the Frog's right arm was slightly bent.
  • Mickey Mouse was pushed around by strong winds right at the start and eventually hit a Street Sign, but luckily didn't get damaged.
  • Aviator Snoopy 's tail was deflated during the march.
  • Superman had a hole in his head and leg, but was repaired.
  • Woody Woodpecker was lowered to the ground due to a ripped stomach.
  1. 1983:
  • In his last apperance in this design, Bullwinkle was pushed by winds and rain, but wasn't damaged, even though he was clearly showing his age.
  • Mickey Mouse's arm was ripped off during preparation, and later exploded while it was being inflated. As a result, he was retired from the parade.
  • Kermit the Frog's right arm was slightly bent by rain.
  • Woody Woodpecker was lowered to the ground because of the rain, but didn't get damaged.
  1. 1984:
  • Garfield's left paw was deflated because he wasn't inflated very well
  • Woody Woodpecker got snagged by a tree but was freed and didn't get damaged.
  1. 1985:
  • Aviator Snoopy's Christmas List detached off the balloon and fell to the ground, but the balloon itself didn't get damaged.
  • Kermit the Frog tore at the stomach after colliding with a tree due to heavy rain.
  • Olive Oyl Left the parade due to the rainy weather
  •  Superman also couldn't start, due to the rain damaging the balloon.
  • Woody Woodpecker tore a hole in his coxcomb the night before the parade, but the hole was repaired in time. His legs however deflated during march.
  1. 1986:
  • Garfield's right paw and left back paw were punctured.
  • Raggedy Ann hit a lamppost pole at 77th Street before the parade started and snapped the light off, smashing it in the process. Nobody was injured and the balloon was undamaged.
  • Kermit the Frog's right hand was slighty bent.
  • Superman's left hand torn off by a tree which caused its arm to deflate.
  • Humpty Dumpty had his left hand and left leg deflated.
  • Olive Oyl almost collapsed at Columbus Circle and had one of her arms ripped off by a tree, but the hand remained standing due to it being a separate part connected.
  • Woody Woodpecker's head was nearly ripped off, the wind still claimed his leg.
  • Baby Shamu's right flipper was a little deflated.
  • Betty Boop, the last character balloon that year, collapsed onto the ground a few yards away from the finish line due to the high winds.
  1. 1987:
  1. 1988:
  • Baby Shamu was filled with less helium than usual for an unknown reason, making the balloon look all droopy and deflated.
  1. 1989:
  • Quik Bunny's drum was a little deflated.
  • The Pink Panther's tail was punctured. The balloon appears to have been damaged more along the route.
  •  Bugs Bunny's side was punctured by trees before the parade started.
  • Snoopy's nose was also punctured by trees before the parade started.

Neither of the 2 balloons could start their march.

  1. 1991:
  • Spider-Man gotten stuck on a lamppost and almost got his left hand popped, but he was freed.
  • Kermit the Frog collided with a tree in Central Park West, and his head was deflated. Even though he returned in the Macy's New York Christmas event in 1992, he was retired soon afterwards as the balloon was getting warn out.
  •  The Pink Panther's float was half deflated.
  • Bart Simpson's left leg was a little deflated.
  • Betty Boop's moon was deflated during the march.
  • Happy Dragon's tail was punctured before the parade but was repaired.
  • Quik Bunny lost his right drumstick and he almost crashed into a lamppost at Times Square.
  1. 1992:
  • Bart Simpson's right finger was deflated.
  • Bugs Bunny's carrot was deflated.
  • The C Ball was deflated likely from a lamppost and was lowered to the ground.
  1. 1993:
  • Bart Simpson's T-shirt was ripped open by a lamppost.
  • The Pink Panther's right arm was deflated
  • Sonic the Hedgehog lost a spike and punctured his left arm before crashing into a lamppost at Columbus Circle, injuring both a child and an off-duty police officer.
  • Ronald McDonald's green balloon was missing.
  • Woody Woodpecker was carried lower than usual as his stomach was ripped open along with his right hand being deflated.
  • Rex the Dinosaur had the same crisis as Bullwinkle but instead he was pushed into a street light by high winds and caused his head to pop; the balloon spent the rest of the parade with a deflated head.
  • Spider-Man had his head partly deflated after colliding with some trees.
  • Quik Bunny's right arm was deflated.
  • Snuggle Bear's stocking was a little deflated.
  1. 1994:
  • Quik Bunny lost control at Columbus Circle and ended up his ear getting ripped by a lamppost, but the balloon survived.
  • Snoopy's left ice skate was deflated.
  • Ronald McDonald's left shoes ere slightly bent and his green balloon was missing again.
  • Barney the Dinosaur got his foot got ripped by a street light.
  • The Cat in the Hat's right arm was also deflated.
  1. 1995:
  • Dudley the Dragon was speared and deflated on a lamppost in Columbus Circle and showered the glass from the lamppost onto the crowd below, injuring a person. The balloon could not make the rest of the route due to this. 
  • Garfield hit into a lamppost, but ended up bouncing back with no damage done to the balloon. 
  • SkyDancer had her face deflated by a tree. 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog also managed to snagged on a tree and his face was deflated. The balloon was eventually removed around Times Square, in which it might have been ripped or snagged by a lamppost again.
  • Izzy had his arm and hand deflated.
  • The Pink Panther suffered high amounts of damage.
  • Betty Boop had her moon ripped open.
  1. 1996:
  • The Pink Panther's scarf was missing, possibly due to the amount of damage he had the previous year.
  • Unexpected "wind demons" caused Woody Woodpecker's left hand to get ripped off by a tree.
  1. 1997: See 1997 Incidents for more information.

1998-present

In recent years, new rules have been implemented to prevent incidents from occurring often, if not eliminate the possibility of them altogether. After the "great balloon massacre" of 1997, the giant character balloons would now be attached to two buggies, and were no longer allowed to exceed 78 feet in length, 70 feet in height, or 40 feet in width; this meant that the largest balloons, like the Cat in the Hat, Woody Woodpecker, Bart Simpson, Bugs Bunny. and The Pink Panther had to be barred from making further reappearances. In 2006, more safety measures were enacted, such as installing wind measurement devices that alert parade organizers to unsafe weather, keeping balloons closer to the ground during windy conditions, and prohibiting balloons from flying during very heavy rainfall or in winds higher than 34 miles per hour.

  1. 1998:
  • Garfield sprung a leak right at the very start of the parade.
  • A gust of wind pushed Wild Thing into a lamppost right at the very start of the parade and the balloon tore open.
  • Arthur was lowered to the ground due of the rain.
  • Spider-Man also sprung a leak at the very start.
  • Dexter's right rocket was deflated during March.
  • Quik Bunny also sprung a leak at the very start.
  • Eben Bear's candy cane was missing but wasn't damaged.
  • Flying Fish couldn't make it to the parade route for unknown reasons.
  1. 1999:
  • Wild Thing balloon was originally scheduled to make its proper debut that year, but one of its air chambers failed to inflate properly, so he once again couldn't make it onto the route, and wouldn't appear again until 2002.
  • Quik Bunny had to be less inflated in order to utilize the new safety buggies for the giant balloons.
  1. 2000:
  • Arthur's right arm was a little deflated.
  • Rocky was accidentally deflated during preparation, which meant Bullwinkle had to fly alone.
  1. 2001:
  • Ronald McDonald had its left arm torn open after colliding with some Central Park trees.
  1. 2002:
  1. 2003:
  1. 2004:
  • SpongeBob SquarePants was snagged by a lamppost at Times Square but was freed.
  • Charlie Brown almost crashed into a street light, as gusty winds pushed him dangerously close to it but was moved back altrough his football was half deflated and the football had out of control at Herald Square
  • Garfield was snagged by a tree and his left paw got damaged.
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog was snagged by a tree. Unlike Garfield, Clifford wasn't damaged.
  • Kermit the Frog was pushed into the crowd due to the winds but was moved back.
  1. 2005:
  1. 2006:
  • SpongeBob SquarePants once again snagged a lamppost, and was freed. The balloon was left out for the next parade but returned in 2008.
  • The Bumpus from the Weebles balloonicle unit also tipped over and deflated before the parade started, but Tibby and Tooey made it though.
  1. 2007:
  • Abby Cadabby balloon's wand got detached but remained standing because it was a connected part of the balloon.
  1. 2008:
  • Keith Haring's "Figure with Heart" hit the NBC broadcast booth, sending the hosts off the air for a few minutes.
  1. 2010:
  1. 2011:
  1. 2012:
  • Uncle Sam's hand was deflated as it wasn't inflated very well.
  • Pikachu also wasn't inflated very well, and so during the route it's ears deflated.
  • The same for SpongeBob SquarePants as well, as his left arm and shoe were deflated.
  • Ronald McDonald's hair was also deflated by a tree right at the start.
  • Buzz Lightyear's helmet had a fairly large hole in the bottom possibly due to the helmet wearing out.
  1. 2013:
  • Sonic the Hedgehog flailed in the wind at the start because his left hand got caught on a tree, but it was freed without damaging the balloon.
  • Spider-Man had his left arm partially deflated after impacting a tree along Central Park near the beginning of the parade.
  • Buzz Lightyear almost had his left arm damaged by one of the flagpoles of the Santaland Express in an attempt to pass through the float after it broke down at 55th Street.
  • One of Buzz Lightyear's safety buggies also ran over a female balloon handler and injured her foot.
  1. 2017:
  • Scrat's arms were bent randomly for an unknown reason.
  • One of the Ropes of Jett's Arm got caught in a tree at the very start but it was freed with no damages done to the balloon
  • The Red & Green Candy Cane hit a tree near the start of the parade and deflated.
  1. Balloonfest 2018:
  • Fleck, Bjorn & Jojo never did their test flight due to heavy winds, with Hugg never being used at all.
  • Goku knocked into a balloon handler, causing hospitalization.
  1. 2018:
  • The Pilgrim Man balloonhead left the parade at Central Park South for an unknown reason, which meant that Pilgrim Woman had to continue rest of the route alone.
  • The same situation happened with the Papa balloonhead, except he never made it onto the route.
  • Goku was pushed into the crowd by a large wind gust near Columbus Circle, but the balloon didn't get damaged.
  • Hugg's right ear had forgotten to be inflated.
  • One of the Red Believe Stars was punctured and deflated by a tree just one block away from the finish line.

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