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On May 15, the West Hollywood City Council discussed details regarding the return of the city’s Halloween Carnaval, which will held on Oct. 31 for the first time since 2019.
“We’ve heard from our businesses, our residents and people who love to come every year and it’s going to be an exciting and spook-tacular time, and I hope everyone keeps on the lookout for more information,” Mayor Pro Tempore John Ericksons said. “[And] this is directly as a result of how quickly the city of West Hollywood has been able to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s really great to see our budget so healthy [that] we’re able to put this thing back on.”
Councilman John Heilman discussed potential details for the event, specifically asking for staff to look at ways to have music throughout the route and to get rid “dead zones” where no music is playing.
“I do think it’s really critical that there be music on the street,” Heilman said. “The dead zone with no music actually causes people I think to get into fights with one another. Music calms the beast.”
“I’d like to say to John Heilman … when you’re right, you’re right, [and] you’re right about the dance party element [at] an event like Halloween,” resident David Nash said. “I produced the entertainment at Halloween for two years in San Francisco in the early 1990s, and it was a large, more-than-a-block extended dance party that was cohesive that made the crowd happy and created a party atmosphere.”
“Let people have DJ booths,” Erickson agreed.
“I’m excited about the city’s involvement in Halloween this year,” Councilwoman Lauren Meister said. “I think our businesses will benefit and community members will have a place to gather and enjoy the festivities.”
Not all residents are supportive of the decision to bring back the traditional event. Resident Arisce Wanzer said she liked the last couple of years in West Hollywood, sans the large-scale Halloween event, because it allowed the queer community to reclaim the holiday in the city.
“I really liked the carnaval not happening because it kept all the straight people and families out of West Hollywood,” Wanzer said. “It was much less crowded at all of our local bars. [Carnaval was] such a hassle. I’ve never been a fan of it.”
Marc Pasquinelli, however, is excited about the event’s return. Each year of Halloween Carnaval he organized a group of friends for a themed costume.
“The return of West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval is, for me, a strong harbinger that ‘normalcy’ has returned,” he said. “It’s a decades-long staple that brought together people of all backgrounds and age groups to dress up as little or as much as they wanted to, escape into whoever or whatever they wanted to be for a night. Halloween was incomplete without carnaval these past three years. Thank you, city of West Hollywood, for reviving what I thought was buried forever in a graveyard.”
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