Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday Wishlist: Halloween in the Park! (Part IV)

I'm a huge fan of Halloween and this has become one of my favorite wishlist items for San Jose. To sum it up, think Christmas in the Park... for Halloween! There have been several additions and revisions to this concept over the last two years, so please have a look and provide your feedback and suggestions in the comments. Thanks!

The largest draw to downtown San Jose for many years now has been Christmas in the Park. It has continued to grow year after year and brings in visitors from all over the Bay. It's economic impact I'm sure is substantial and helps keep many downtown businesses afloat.

What would you think about a similar event for Halloween? Picture downtown lit up in orange and purple with elaborate Halloween displays assembled by talented local artists. Perhaps a lot of the infrastructure could even be shared with Christmas in the Park (e.g. retail booths). A strong event in October would help maintain traffic between the Music in the Park months and Christmas in the Park. 
Here are the ideas we have so far:
  • Animated Halloween Displays
    • Halloween Jack O pumkin lantern
    • Assembled by talented local artists
    • Analogous to the Christmas displays that attract many families during Christmas in the Park (almost half a million visitors)
    • Family friendly so that everyone can enjoy it (PG/PG13, perhaps around the same level as Great America Halloween Haunt)
    • Halloween Lighting
      • Orange, purple, and green LED lighting on trees
      • May be possible to use new controllable lighting that can go from Halloween colors to Christmas colors with the push of a button, allowing the lights to stay up for Christmas in the Park as well and reducing setup/takedown effort.
      • Food Booths with candied apples, chocolates, candy, pumpkin seeds, etc.
      • Retail Booths selling Halloween items, for example:
        • Artwork (paintings, glass pumpkins, etc.)
        • Home decor/crafts like candles
        • Light-up hats/necklaces/bracelets
        • Costumes
        • Zombie/Halloween make-up station 
      • Halloween-themed Carnival Games
      • Pumpkins
        • Instead of the sponsored Christmas trees in Christmas in the Park, how about decorated Pumpkins (can even be Styrofoam so there is no mess/decay)?
        • Pumpkin carving station for families. Perhaps a pumpkin carving contest.
      • Costumed Entertainers
        • Walking around the area, not necessarily scaring people but adding to the ambiance and providing photo opportunities for families
      • Haunts
        • Would be ideal if these were nearby, perhaps in vacant retails spaces, surface parking lots, the convention center, or at SJSU.
      • Potential Events
        • Zombie-O-Rama can be used to kick off Halloween in the Park (late Sep. / early Oct. timeframe)
        • Zombie Crawl
        • Dia De Los Muertes Bike Party
        • Horror Movie Trivia Contest
        • Weekly horror movie screening (perhaps in the Circle of Palms area?)
        As before, please post your suggestions below!


        1. What about a maze of some sort?

        2. I think this is a wonderful idea!!

        3. Horror Movie Trivia game with prizes like tickets to a nearby haunt or something! Can just pull up volunteers for the trivia game randomly so anybody who shows up to this event gets a chance to play.

        4. Who would pay for this? The city can't afford christmas in the park - nor should it even spend my tax money on that big mess. Sorry, but this town would be better served sticking to and improving the basics.

        5. Added the horror movie trivia and the zombie bar crawl.

          Ideally no tax money would be used (the city doesn't have the money anyway). Revenue could come from renting booths, concessions, mazes, sponsorship/advertising and donations.

        6. I wish they could clean and keep clean the park area before venturing any more events... It smells like homeless people in so many parts of the park! Really hard to enjoy the exhibits when it stinks. Sorry, the stench really takes away from the Christmas spirit.