From the Best of the Worst: Worst Balloon Accidents in the History of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

At just over a century old, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has become one of America’s most popular holiday traditions. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to line the streets of Manhattan, watch brightly colored floats, and clap and cheer as they see marching bands, clowns, and firetrucks.

Thanksgiving Day and its years in New York City marked the advent of a balloon tradition that continues today. Nearly every year since it began in 1924, the parade has featured one or more giant helium balloons that come together and float. Just like this year’s parade, many of these balloons have had a lasting presence in TV and entertainment, and countless photos of the balloons circulate on social media.

But it isn’t always easy to get the first balloons to float away with everyone watching. Over the years, there have been several failures that sent many balloons soaring into the sky before landing safely. These mishaps have ended in some unsavory practices, including burning plastic, and bring to mind tales of balloon craziness.

Here are some of the most memorable and enduring balloon accidents:

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