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 deflation and injuries.
NOTE: If you see this * on any incident on the list, that means it's unconfirmed.
- 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.
- The Turk hit an electric sign at 72nd Street and tore in half.
- When The Cat took off at the end of the Parade, the balloon hit a telephone wire and caught on fire, resulting in the balloon's retirement.
- The Cheetah hooked onto an airplane when the pilot of the airplane was attempting to catch it, sending the plane into a tailspin.
- 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.
- 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.
- Santa Claus was damaged in one part of the route, and collapsed to the ground.
- One of the Monkey's legs was punctured before the parade.
- The Dachshund had problems at 47th Street.
- The Crocodile also had problems at 74th Street. Both him and the Dachshund were repaired.
- The Fish hit a lamppost and sprung a leak at 8th Avenue.
- The Crocodile's right arm was punctured.
- The Toy Soldier blew out overnight and was replaced by the Crocodile.
- Spaceman's right arm was torn off near the start of the parade.
- 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 mere seconds before finally succumbing to the winds and deflating.
- The Observer almost hit a lamppost and a TV camera truck.
- Popeye's arm got punctured, and so the balloon had to be removed.
- The Gorgeous Gobbler could not be carried by the cranes.
- Spaceman's head was deflated.
- The Gorgeous Gobbler's nose was punctured by an obstacle before step off, It was later decided to deflate his face alltogether.
- One of the Goodyear workers stepped on the Donald Duck balloon's left foot, causing it to deflate.
- Sinclair Oil Dinosaur's neck was punctured by a lamppost at Central Park West, which led to his body slowly deflating, and the balloon had to be carried lower than usual, but the balloon made it though.
- Bullwinkle was pushed by winds and almost collided into the crowd.
- Goodyear workers forgot to reseal the rip panels on the Popeye balloon. Because of this, he was removed from the parade and was replaced by Happy Dragon.
- Superman's left arm was deflated by a tree.
- Happy Dragon's head was severely damaged after inflation.
- Smokey Bear's hat was damaged after inflation, and it was so badly damaged that it required parcel replacement.
- Snoopy was wrapped around the cab of a helium truck due to the high winds.
- All the remaining balloons were grounded for the only time ever in the parade due to extreme winds and rain, which meant that the Smile and the new Mickey Mouse balloon had to debut properly the following year.
- Donald Duck's left wing was deflated by a tree.
- Mickey Mouse's left ear was a little ripped.
- Astronaut Snoopy was punctured by a lamppost at 73rd Street.
- Underdog hit into a lamppost and tore his ear off.
- Smokey Bear's right hand was punctured by a tree at Columbus Circle. As a result, the hand became deflated.
- Sinclair Oil Dinosaur's front right leg was snagged by a lamppost at 77th Street but was freed and didn't get damaged.
- Weeble also was punctured shortly before making its debut.
- Underdog, Snoopy, and Weeble ended up being removed from the parade.
- 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 eventually collapsing at Times Square and being removed five minutes later.
- Underdog's right hand was punctured from lampposts.
- Mickey Mouse's right ear was punctured.
- Happy Dragon's head was punctured by a tree branch in Columbus Circle and the balloon collapsed to the pavement, because of this, the balloon had to be removed from the parade.
- 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.
- Snoopy nearly crashed into a streetlight and traffic lights at the starting line but was moved back and he wasn't damaged. But shortly after his NBC appearance, the patch on his leg detached, which caused the balloon to deflate rapidly.
- 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.
- Mickey Mouse was pushed around by strong winds right at the start and eventually hit a street sign, but the balloon remained undamaged.
- Aviator Snoopy's tail was deflated during the march.
- Superman had a hole in his head and leg, but was repaired but his right hand was deflated during the route.
- Woody Woodpecker was lowered due to a puncture in his head.
- Mickey Mouse's arm was ripped off the night before the parade and later exploded while it was being inflated. As a result, the balloon was retired from the parade.
- Garfield's left paw was deflated because he collided with an unknown object at the start of the route.
- Woody Woodpecker got snagged by a tree but was freed and didn't get damaged.
- 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 and managed to continue and finished the route.
- Olive Oyl left the parade due to the rainy weather.
- Superman's left leg was ripped by a tree shortly after the balloon was lifted, And due to this, He had to be removed.
- 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.
- 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, although one of her hands was slightly deflated.
- 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 by a tree branch near the start.
- 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, with the winds claiming his leg.
- 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.
- Kermit the Frog's right arm was ripped by a tree.
- Quik Bunny brushed trees at 77th Street, causing his right foot to lose a small amount of helium.
- 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 two latter balloons could start their march.
- Due to the faulty stitching, Bart Simpson was deflated the night before the parade started, but was repaired in time for his first march down Broadway.
- Spider-Man Got stuck on a lamppost and almost got his left hand popped, but he was freed.
- Happy Dragon's tail was punctured before the parade but was repaired.
- Kermit the Frog collided with a tree in Central Park West, and his head was deflated. Despite the accident, he continued on the rest of the route headless and was retired after that year.
- Betty Boop's moon was deflated during the march.
- Quik Bunny went towards a lamppost, tearing his left drumstick and the drumstick had to be deflated, with the drumstick being a connected part of the balloon, it caused to rip his hand. He also almost hit a lamppost at Times Square.
- The leaves on Bugs Bunny's carrot were ripped off by trees.
- One of the ABC Bouncing Balls was deflated, likely from a lamppost, and was lowered to the ground for the rest of the Parade.
- Beethoven almost crashed into a tree due to high winds but wasn't damaged.
- Bart Simpson's T-shirt was ripped open by a lamppost.
- Sonic the Hedgehog lost a spike and punctured his left arm before crashing into a lamppost at Columbus Circle, injuring both a 10-year old girl and an off-duty police officer. Additionally, a woman was overwhelmed with helium fumes. All three were treated at the scene. Sonic didn’t finish the parade.
- Woody Woodpecker's hand was ripped by a tree causing it to slowly deflate the balloon so it needed to be lowered to the ground.
- Rex the Dinosaur was blown into a lamppost at Columbus Circle, causing his entire head to deflate. Despite this, he remained in the Parade until its finish line. His test flight was used to avoid showing his deflated head on national TV.
- Spider-Man had his head partly deflated after colliding with some trees.
- Quik Bunny lost control at Columbus Circle and ended up his ear getting ripped by a lamppost, but the balloon survived.
- Barney the Dinosaur's left leg was torn by a tree along Central Park West. Additionally, A lamppost tore his side shortly after his NBC appearance.
- The Cat in the Hat had his right arm shredded by a lamppost.
- 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.
- Just shortly after his broadcast on NBC, Snoopy ended up having his muzzle ripped open by a lamppost, leaving it dangling for the rest of the route, which may be the reason why it retired.
- SkyDancer had her face punctured by a tree.
- Sonic the Hedgehog also managed to snag on a tree and his face was punctured. By the time the balloon reached Times Square, his head lost a lot of helium, and due to this, he was removed.
- Izzy’s left hand and arm were deflated due to his hand leaking helium.
- The Pink Panther suffered high amounts of damage.
- Betty Boop had her moon ripped open.
- Unexpected "wind demons" caused Woody Woodpecker's left hand to get torn by a tree.
1997: See 1997 Incidents for more information.
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 Olive Oyl, Woody Woodpecker, Betty Boop, The Pink Panther, Bugs Bunny, Bart Simpson, Rex the Dinosaur and The Cat in the Hat had to be banned 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.
- The Geometric Ornament balloon was punctured by an unknown obstacle the night before due to the heavy winds
- High winds caused the Garfield balloon to collide with a lamppost at 77th Street, tearing the balloon open in the process. Due to damage, the balloon was taken out of the parade lineup.
- A gust of wind pushed Wild Thing into a lamppost right at the very start of the parade, ripping its left claw. Despite the balloon only being slightly damaged, it had to be removed from the parade alongside the previous three balloons.
- Dexter's right rocket was deflated during his debut march.
- Just like the previous year, the Wild Thing balloon could not make his official debut, As he couldn't be inflated due to one of his chambers not being to inflate properly, so he had to be removed once again. With Bell Atlantic’s rebranding the following year, the Wild Thing had to be retired, but managed to finally make his official debut two years later.
- Ronald McDonald had its left arm torn open after colliding with some Central Park trees.
- Cheesasaurus Rex's right arm was shredded, but the balloon made it through.
- The Sun caused the helium of the Gorgeous Gobbler recreation balloon's feathers to expand, Causing it to explode.
- One of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Stars did not make it onto the route for unknown reasons.
- SpongeBob SquarePants was snagged by a lamppost at Times Square but was freed.
- Tooey had deflated randomly near the starting line, but was re-inflated and made rest of the route just fine.
- Charlie Brown almost crashed into a street light, as gusty winds pushed him dangerously close to it but was moved back. For an unknown reason, his Football also had lost 40% of its helium by the time it reached Herald Square.
- Garfield suffered damage from his left paw after being snagged by a tree.
- Clifford the Big Red Dog was snagged by a tree. Unlike Garfield, Clifford wasn't damaged.
- Strike Up the Band Barney was nearly blown away, and his foot got ripped by a street light. Additionally, his nose was also messed up.
- M&M's Red and Yellow Brighten the Holidays got caught on a streetlight in Times Square and dropped parts of the light onto the crowd, giving two sisters minor injuries, resulting in the balloon being grounded by the NYPD as a safety precaution. The present-day safety rules were introduced because of this.
- SpongeBob SquarePants once again snagged a lamppost and was freed.
- Bumpus from the Weebles Balloonicle unit also tipped over and deflated before the parade started, but Tibby and Tooey made it though.
- Abby Cadabby balloon's wand got detached for unknown reasons, but remained standing because it was a connected part of the balloon.
- Keith Haring's "Figure with Heart" hit the NBC broadcast booth, startling the hosts.
- All the balloonicles that year - Kool-Aid Man, the Energizer Bunny and the blue and red Holiday Ornaments all randomly tipped over before the start of the parade and deflated. Kool-Aid Man and the Energizer Bunny would be reinflated, although the former balloonicle would miss his planned spot and would end up starting behind the Horton balloon, while the Ornaments were removed.
- Wiggle Worm was punctured by a "ONE WAY" sign in an attempt to spin.
- SpongeBob SquarePants once again snagged a lamp post and was freed.
- Kool-Aid Man tipped over when it was being inflated.
- The Ice Cream Cone was punctured by a tree at 77th Street but was only slightly deflated.
- One of Ronald McDonald's ice skates got deflated.
- SpongeBob got snagged by a lamppost one last time but was freed.
- Uncle Sam's arms were deflated, as it wasn't inflated very well. The balloon struggled to stay afloat during the route, and had to be removed at 42nd Street for aesthetic reasons.
- A chamber inside Ronald McDonald's hair was busted during preparation, and was patched with duct tape. However, the balloon still appeared in the Parade despite this mishap.
- Greg Heffley's Right Leg Was Bent.
- Sonic the Hedgehog's left hand was snagged 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 the balloon's safety buggies also ran over a female balloon handler by accident, injuring her foot in the process.
- Trixie's Dreidel had various problems while going down the parade route. It had deflated randomly numerous times, and even got left behind the Santa's Sleigh float, so it had to catch up around 6th Avenue. It eventually managed to find its place right before Santa's Sleigh, and in front of the Smurfs portion of the parade march.
- One of the ropes of Jett's arms well as one of his wings got snagged on a tree just before step-off, but it was freed with no damage done to the balloon.
- The Red & Green Candy Cane was punctured by a tree near the start of the parade and was removed.
- Fleck, Bjorn & Jojo could not begin their test flights due to heavy winds, with Hugg never being used at all.
- Goku knocked into a balloon handler, causing hospitalization.
- Little Cloud was pushed around by the high winds and almost escaped.
- The Pilgrim Man balloonhead left the parade at Central Park South for an unknown reason, which meant that the 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.
- One of the Red Believe Stars did not make it to Herald Square, as a gust of wind blew it into the pilar of the Santa's Sleigh float, causing the side to be punctured.
- A strong gust of wind pushed Jett to the left when turning a corner. This caused a male balloon handler to lose grip of his handling bone, and fall onto the pavement. He suffered an elbow and a knee injury.
- Goku was caught in a gust of wind, causing a female balloon handler to injure her shoulder. Additionally, an older woman fell down, while another male handler tripped over a plastic bag. Neither handlers sustained any injuries.
- Before the parade started, Ronald McDonald's right shoe developed a tear, most likely from a tree. The balloon eventually struggled to make the rest the route as the tear was getting larger, and was removed at 42nd Street, minutes before it's NBC appearance. After the incident, pre-recorded footage of Ronald from the 2018 Parade was used, making this the first time since 2005 that a giant character balloon was removed from the Parade.
- a large gust of wind sent the front part of Wiggle Worm into the air, causing his handlers to loose grip of their handling bones. The handlers were able to regain control of the balloon shortly after, and the Wiggle Worm balloon was lowered to the ground as a result.
- The overnight wind gusts caused Yayoi Kusama's Love Flies Up to the Sky to be shoved into a portable restroom trailer and a few ATM machines, causing its face to get punctured. Additionally, one of its tentacles was ripped open by a subway map kiosk.
- One of the Blue & White Macy's Stars escaped from the staging area and was torn apart after hitting a generator.
- One of the Macy's Golden Starflakes also escaped from the staging area, with this one flying across the sweet until finally bursting after making contact with a building.
- The Striped Candy Cane went out of control near the beginning of the route, but unlike 2017, it survived.
- The Nutcracker was whipped about along Central Park West. The balloon eventually lurched forward, knocking a female handler down, who approached the balloon in an attempt to stabilize it. The handler was able to get back up with no known injuries, and the Nutcracker balloon wasn't damaged.
- None of the Balloonheads could appear at all due to weather concerns.