Each year, more than 50 million people watch colorful balloons float through the streets of New York City during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. To fill a giant balloon—whether it’s Pikachu or Snoopy—50 to 90 volunteer handlers get to work. The night before the parade, they fill the balloons with helium, a lighter-than-air gas that causes balloons to float.
But these balloons don’t come cheap. It can cost about $200,000 for a new character to soar down the parade route. Returning favorites cost about $90,000. Since the balloon has already been constructed, that’s just the cost of the helium to fill it up!