WeHo’s bars and businesses hope to bring Halloween back from the dead

With West Hollywood’s official Halloween festivities canceled, the city’s bars, restaurants and businesses have concocted a plan to capitalize on the sprawling costumed crowds that haunt the Rainbow District every Oct. 31 whether the city wants to throw them a party or not.

Coordinated by WeHo’s Chamber of Commerce, the businesses have embarked on a marketing campaign called “The Rise of Halloween” to help promote their individual sales and specials. The campaign features a new website and a listing of events and promotions.

It all started last month, when 20 local establishments wrote City Manager David Wilson to plead for the city’s help in scaring up business after two bone-dry years.

“The idea that you would cancel Halloween for the third year in a row, when all other cities are back to hosting large festivals and signature events, is a gut-punch to us,” the letter reads. “Halloween and Pride help our businesses survive all the other economically poor months of the year. To us, it feels like the City has abandoned the business community and lost touch with what is important.”

After canceling the city’s annual Halloween event during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, City Council decided this past summer during budget discussions to call off this year’s and next year’s event as well, citing safety concerns. Mayor Pro Tem Sepi Shyne and Councilmembers John D’Amico and Lindsey Horvath voted in favor of canceling them; Mayor Lauren Meister and Councilmember John Erickson voted against. *

The group of businesses asked Wilson to close the streets, to provide security and portable restrooms and offer help with the permitting process. While denying the requests for restrooms and the street closure, Wilson wrote that barricades will be installed along Santa Monica Blvd. to give pedestrians more room to walk, and that extra Sheriff’s deputies and security ambassadors would be on hand over the Halloween weekend.

Additionally, the city is looking at waiving fees for special event permits, including any related encroachment, valet, and building permit fees. City Council will decide whether to authorize this at their meeting Monday night.


*City Hall asked us to reconsider this line. Here was their reasoning:

In fact: The decision not to hold Halloween Carnaval in 2022 was made over the course of many months and involved input and discussion from the entire West Hollywood City Council; the City Council Ad Hoc Events Subcommittee and City Council Finance & Budget Subcommittee; City staff; and community members in providing feedback in comment at public meetings.

Key discussions were as follows:

On December 20, 2021, the West Hollywood City Council received recommendations from the City Council Ad Hoc Events Subcommittee, and it approved proposed modifications to the City’s FY2022-2023 Budgeted Special Events List, which included a recommendation to postpone Halloween Carnaval.

On June 27, 2022, the West Hollywood City Council approved the City’s Operating Budget and Capital Work Plan for Fiscal Years 2022-23 & 2023-24. The West Hollywood City Council approved support for the return of many in-person events. The budget section – highlights of Major City Events – notes that the City Council Events Subcommittee did not recommend including funding for Halloween Carnaval in the budget. Attachment C for the approved budget as part of the staff report that went to the City Council is a full List of Budgeted Special Events.

Halloween details are posted at www.weho.org/halloween and the budget is posted at www.weho.org/budget if you should need additional information.

While the City Council approved the City’s Operating Budget and Capital Work Plan for Fiscal Years 2022-23 & 2023-24 at its regular meeting on Monday, June 27, 2022 in a split 3-2 vote, this vote was cast on the specific motion to approve the Operating Budget and Capital Work Plan. The motion details are included in the meeting minutes (page 28, 29, 30) in this Google Doc – the motion and split vote to approve did not relate to the topic of Budgeted Special Events:

https://docs.google.com/gview?url=https%3A%2F%2Fweho.granicus.com%2FDocumentViewer.php%3Ffile%3Dweho_ebc1cb06c7fb786881befd1a2d45f718.pdf%26view%3D1&embedded=true

 The meeting that determined City Council intent and action regarding FY 2022-23 Budgeted Special Events was the regular meeting of the City Council on Monday, December 20, 2021 – not the meeting of June 27, 2022. Here is a link to the staff report for the December 20 meeting – Ad Hoc Events Subcommittee Recommendations for the FY 2022-23 Budgeted Special Events list:

https://weho.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=22&clip_id=3721&meta_id=221446

Page 2 of this staff report includes a line item for Halloween Carnaval with the Subcommittee Recommendation for FY23 (FY 2022-23) and the net budget impact for FY23 as $0 – it was not budgeted to take place in 2022. The City Council vote on this item was unanimous and established the City Council action to accept the Ad Hoc Events Subcommittee’s recommended modifications for the FY 2022-23 Budgeted Special list. Here is a Google Doc with the meeting minutes (scroll to Item 4.D.):

https://docs.google.com/gview?url=https%3A%2F%2Fweho.granicus.com%2FDocumentViewer.php%3Ffile%3Dweho_d01c40f1191d647e46e6b45c3d6fff83.pdf%26view%3D1&embedded=true

Due to the unanimous approval of the December 20 item by the City Council, the City Manager’s Recommended Operating Budget and Capital Work Plan featured the Council-approved Recommendations (approved unanimously on December 20) for the FY 2022-23 Budgeted Special Events list, which did not include funding for Halloween Carnaval in 2022.

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About Brandon Garcia
Brandon Garcia is editor of WEHOville. He oversees the website's editorial direction and creates original content such as news reports, photo and video features, digital art work and advertisements. A native of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, he now lives in WeHo and is a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community. @brandoninthebubble on Instagram

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[…] night of Oct. 31, nor will any restroom facilities be provided. The city’s business community banded together to promote their individual parties and events in order to capitalize on the […]

Woody McBreairty
Woody McBreairty
1 month ago

WHY ON EARTH, would Lindsey & John D’Amico be voting to cancel these Halloween events when they have so little time left?? Especially for 2023 as well!! They should have had the class & consideration to defer to the judgment of the new council at least for the 2023 event & let the 2022 event be! I don’t think this is leadership, this is petty politics at its worst & the most annoying. This is just one more of many cases of the “Mayor Pro Tem” . who says “getting to her is a privilege”, pushing her own personal agenda,… Read more »

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[…] what is typically one of the city’s busiest nights of the year. That’s according to a story on WeHoville, which notes a new effort by WeHo’s Chamber of Commerce called the Rise of Halloween. It’s […]

David Comfort
David Comfort
1 month ago

As a Weho resident, I won’t vote for any candidate that canceled the official Halloween celebration and don’t support bringing it back. Some of the most memorable times I’ve had have at the Weho Halloween festival. Weho Halloween and Pride helped to define what Weho is,

Woody McBreairty
Woody McBreairty
1 month ago
Reply to  David Comfort

Then vote for Meister, Martin & Duran. We must regain a majority of 3 with common sense & who listen to the people

i

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[…] according to a story on WeHoville, which notes a new effort by WeHo’s Chamber of Commerce called the Rise of Halloween. It’s […]

Valeri
Valeri
1 month ago

It might be cancelled by the city, but not cancelled by the population. That night is gonna be PACKED, watch.

Dennis B
Dennis B
1 month ago
Reply to  Valeri

The Halloween party wasn’t canceled by “the city”. It was canceled by Sepi Shyne, Lindsey Horvath & John D’Amico. That’s why the real city must bring it back. It’s obscene what they have done. 3 losers dictating the lives of 35,000 tax-paying citizens. Well at least 2 down, one more to go

Olen
Olen
1 month ago

You guys actually think a Halloween street party would be a good thing to have right now? Someone will be shot. And you know that. very glad it’s canceled. People will still go to West Hollywood on Halloween and still dress up and give money to the bar owners so everybody can just calm down OK

Matthew Flanagan
Matthew Flanagan
1 month ago

We need our Halloween 🎃 back!

Johnny
Johnny
1 month ago

“Bone dry years” is laughable. During the pandemic and after some restrictions places weee packed with people not wearing masks and no social distancing. They are doing fine.
The chamber I think protest too much and accomplish very little. If they haven’t recovered by now their business model was poorly developed and they deserve to fail. They all are doing fine and filling the pockets of council members!

Jay Krymis
Jay Krymis
1 month ago

Great article. Thanks Brandon Garcia!

Michael
Michael
1 month ago

We spent the money on the pool and the park. Now we pay interest on it. No more money for fun. The city used to have cash, now we have debt and yet relatively nothing has changed for most of us. It is a nice pool. Beautiful facility but too over the top. It has a huge carbon footprint. The pool is heated and Outdoors. But we don’t have money for Halloween parties. There has to be a happy middle ground. I do like the pool though. They could have given everybody in the city a gym membership for life… Read more »

Olen
Olen
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael

But you like the pool

From the Heart
From the Heart
1 month ago

Sounds as if the Taste of Soul on Crenshaw Blvd has done a better job of connecting disparate people from numerous communities than the Halloween Parade will or the Pride Parade did because it came from the heart.

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