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Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons Go Back into Hibernation

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The Pikachu balloon is deflated after the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City on Nov. 27.

While the inflation of the balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York is a much-talked-about event the night before Thanksgiving, little attention is paid to the deflation of the balloons when the parade is over.

David Handschuh
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A team of handlers brings a giant, helium filled balloon to ground level after team leaders open four foot-long zippers on the sides of the inflatable.

When most of the helium is out, team members lay on the character to "burp" or remove all helium. They then work together to fold the balloon from rear to front.

David Handschuh
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The Pillsbury Doughboy, left, and Papa Smurf are deflated on Seventh Ave behind Macy's.

David Handschuh
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When the air is released, the giant balloon is then put in a wheeled cart and pushed to a tractor-trailer where it's shipped to a Macy's warehouse to await next year's parade.

Deflating the balloons takes roughly 15 minutes from start to finish.

David Handschuh
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The balloons, when fully inflated, are over 40 feet tall. Here, SpongeBob SquarePants is deflated by crew members.

David Handschuh
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The first ever square balloon in the parade, SpongeBob is pulled into his signature shape by more than 800 internal tie-lines.

David Handschuh
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Spider-Man, the longest balloon in the parade, gets deflated.

David Handschuh
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Team members must roll around on top of the folded balloons to make sure no air is left trapped.

David Handschuh
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Despite flurries of snow and blustery winds, this year's parade was widely considered a success by volunteers who were unfazed by working outside.

David Handschuh
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