24 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons, Ranked

Thanksgiving time means tuning in for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade! Floats, performances, and, of course, balloons!

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Here’s my ranking of the best balloons that have made their way down to Macy’s Herald Square:


Macy’s Star Balloons

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Underappreciated, the famous Macy’s stars are always a nice warmup for all the wonderful things that are in the parade. You can say they are the “prelude” to the other balloons.


Smokey the Bear

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When did it become “Smokey Bear” and not “Smokey the Bear” as his official name? Put a shirt on Smokey!

P.S. Just researched it. It has always been Smokey Bear and my whole life is a lie. Apparently, it is a common mistake.


Sinclair’s Dino

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That’s one basic dino. Listen, if you debuted all the way back in 1963, you need to evolve more. Throw a jetpack on that mother!


The Grinch

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Debuting in 2017 for Benedict Cumberbatch’s movie Grinch, the mean one feels appropriate for the holiday season. I wouldn’t touch him with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole.


The Boss Baby

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The Boss Baby, added in 2020, is actually a pretty impressive balloon. Any balloon doing an action is pretty impressive, even if it is a classic finger point.



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I remember as a kid I had thought Scrat was the main character of Ice Age. Never saw the film and still haven’t, but Scrat was added in 2015 and none of the other characters are balloons, so who’s laughing now!


Ronald McDonald

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Ronald McDonald cheesed his way on the scene back in 1987. If clowns weren’t so creepy, he probably would’ve McDoubled his chances at getting the top spot on this list.



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Everyone’s favorite orange cat. Debuting in 1984, the sarcastic feline is missed but not forgotten.


Papa Smurf

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My petition to change his name to “Daddy Smurf” has yet to gain traction, but the old geezer made his debut in 2008. 


Finn & Jake

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Adventure Time was huge in the 2010’s, so it’s safe to say that in 2013 the Jake and Finn balloon was a huge hit upon its debut.



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To promote the movie Paddington in 2014, this bear packed his bags for the big city. I’m always a fan of an “action” balloon, and this bear is on the move.



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The web shooter has always been popular, and it shows when the animated Spider-Man debuted in 1987 and version No. 2 appearing in 2009.



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Anyone who doesn’t find Toothless adorable must be a miserable individual. That being said, when they learned how to train this balloon in its debut for 2013, it was a little disappointing. I wish he was a more “belly flat” and “wings up.”


Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid was a little after my time, but this balloon still brings back memories of seeing the covers in libraries. There have been two versions in both 2010 and 2016.


Charlie Brown

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Chuck is flying high! An easy fan favorite, and he debuted with a football in 2002. He was later updated to holding a kite in 2016. Good grief, that’s a lot of strings.



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“Yeah. Why?” Olaf has been a welcomed member of the balloon family since 2017. Just don’t give this one a warm hug…he won’t melt, but something far worse might happen. 



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I never watched Dragon Ball Z as a kid, but this balloon’s detail are superb. He made his debut in 2018. 


Red Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger

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The Red Ranger debuted in 2014. The muscle detail on this one is very cool. You know when they blow this one up every year, they have to shout, “It’s morphin’ time!”


Hello Kitty

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There’s something very derpy and fantastic about this one. Just Hello Kitty flying down Central Park Avenue, nothing to see here. This is the 2012 version, but Hello Kitty has been a staple since 2007.


SpongeBob SquarePants

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Who is a balloon over the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants! Three iterations of the spongey Bob since 2004, and I have no complaints.



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There’s no misidentifying Pikachu when the yellow, electric Pokémon floats by. Since 2001, there have been three iterations of Pikachu (flying Pikachu, Pikachu chasing a pokéball, and Pikachu holding a snow-Pikachu).


Kermit the Frog

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Kermit the balloon here. The green Muppet has been flying over heads on Thanksgiving morning since 1977. His updated version arrived in 2002.


Pillsbury Doughboy

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One of the most impressive-looking balloons, the Pillsbury Doughboy has been around since 2009. 



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Who can hate on Snoopy? The O.G. dog had been doing this Thanksgiving thing since 1968 and has had EIGHT iterations. Good dog!

Which is your favorite? Is it not on the list? Comment below!

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