WeHo Halloween Carnival is BACK! The West Hollywood City Council agreed to move forward with the approval for a general programming outline for 2023 Halloween Carnaval on October 31st. The city approved staff’s recommendation to have street closures, temporary infrastructure (portable toilets and lighting), Special Event Permit fee waivers, enhanced public safety resources, along a DJ (possibly multiple, or a sound system that projects music to dead zones) at an estimated cost of approximately $1,500,000, which could possibly be more depending on whether the city goes with additional DJs. The city does not plan to have a grand main stage or multiple stages throughout the boulevard as in previous years, nor does the report mention live entertainment.
Council member John Heilman said he thought it was important to have the Halloween Carnaval as an event for the city. “My only concern has to do with the recommendation that we not have stages,” he said. “I don’t have any problem with that. I think the stages kind of get in the way of the public, but I do think that it is really critical that there be music on the street.”
He said that dead zones without music tended to create fights in the crowds. He said music calms the beast. He didn’t advocate for a main stage, but said he wanted to have music playing in large stretches that didn’t have venues playing music. He added that he didn’t have any problem with having a DJ playing music at different spots, as long as there was music playing to give the essence of a party atmosphere where people dance with each other instead of picking fights.
The staff report offered one DJ with a smaller stage. Mayor Pro Tem Erickson pointed out that the main stage tended to be a focal point for attendees, but once that stage shut down, people tended to spread out into the local nightlife venues. He said he supported a smaller stage.
Council member Lauren Meister suggested engaging creative people, possibly in the arts and culture to develop an art installation that could be scary and transform the stretch of the event into something creative that people would enjoy working on and would give people exposure as well in an effort to highlight the Halloween spirit.
Director of Community Services, Yvonne Quarker, said time was an issue and that staff needed to get the approval and move forward so that they could explore speakers along the boulevard or look at other options regarding music. She asked the city council to approve what was before them and that Staff would work with the City Manager and Public Safety to move forward. She didn’t think there was enough time to develop an art installation, but could be explored at a future event.
City Manager David Wilson, said they would put a budget together that will be pretty similar to what was being proposed at the meeting and didn’t believe the cost items will be larger than expected.
Wilson said council did not need to make a motion that night and that Staff was given direction to move forward with the planning with the recommendation that they return with a budget for a approval at a future council meeting.