West Hollywood City Council will consider the approval of the general programming outline for 2023 Halloween Carnaval as part of new business at a regular city council meeting on Monday, May 15, 2023. City Staff is recommending street closures, temporary infrastructure (portable toilets and lighting), Special Event Permit fee waivers, enhanced public safety resources, and a DJ. Estimated cost for the programing is approximately $1,500,000.
West Hollywood has been home to the country’s largest outdoor Halloween celebration for decades. The Halloween Carnaval, held annually on October 31st, has been known to attract hundreds of thousands of guests to Santa Monica Blvd. The event originated organically as residents and visitors came in costume, causing the street to close to accommodate the growing number of attendees. Over time, the City added a sponsored event program featuring multiple stages, entertainment, and food vendors.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related health orders in March 2020, the City cancelled all non-essential City events and gatherings, including the Halloween Carnaval. City-sponsored Halloween event has been cancelled for the past three years, from 2020 to 2022. Despite the lack of official City events in 2021, the City increased public safety measures for Halloween in anticipation of a potential increase in visitor turnout.
In 2022, the City encouraged businesses to host their own Halloween celebrations and waived fees for Special Event Permits for the weekend leading up to Halloween. The City also absorbed the costs associated with L.A. County Fire Department’s site plan review to support the businesses’ efforts. In preparation for an expected increase in visitors to West Hollywood, the City temporarily expanded pedestrian thoroughfares and increased the number of public safety personnel.
In March 2023, staff released a survey to the West Hollywood business community
seeking feedback on Halloween events. Major takeaways from the survey results include:
- More than half (54%) of surveyed respondents believe that past Halloween events
positively impacted their business.
- 56% of respondents believe Halloween events are extremely important to the overall
economic health of West Hollywood.
- 41% of respondents reported that Halloween is more impactful to their business than
other annual events.
- 77% of respondents believe Halloween contributes positively to the City of West
Hollywood’s brand and reputation.
- 88% of respondents identified a street festival environment as the component that
attracts the most people on Halloween.
- Respondents that do not benefit from Halloween events cited lane closures and
increased traffic as a detriment to their business, as well as safety concerns.
For 2023 Halloween Carnaval, staff is proposing the following:
- Closure of major streets in West Hollywood, similar to the Pride footprint closure
(Santa Monica Blvd from Doheny to La Cienega, Robertson Blvd and San
Vicente Blvd from Santa Monica Blvd to Melrose).
- Portable restrooms.
- Waiving certain special event permit fees for brick-and-mortar businesses as well
as covering L.A. County Fire’s associated site plan review costs for such permits.
- Establishing a temporary cannabis event zone.
- DJs, provided on a small stage format in one location within the general street
closure event footprint.
- Free transportation to the festival area, such as with The PickUp and The
Cost estimates are below:
The Regular City Council Meeting is taking place at West Hollywood Public meeting Room – Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, starting at 6pm.
To view the complete staff report, visit:
Halloween was eliminated under the pretense of covid, and now that Pride is back in full-swing, Halloween should be too. The naysayers are in the clear minority, the carnival is unlike any other in the state or region, it brings positive attention to West Hollywood and helps businesses gain an extra foothold. It’s part of the culture of this town, which is what made WeHo a special place to begin with.
With the cost, risk of public safety and the minimal benefit to community businesses, I say let it go.