Wednesday, October 16, 2013

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

Why not build on the momentum that Christmas in the Park brings to San Jose each year and extend the event all the way into October with Halloween in the Park! A lot of the infrastructure such as wiring, lighting, and booths could even be shared. This would also make Downtown San Jose the epicenter of October Halloween experiences.

Below you will find four years of brainstorming on this concept, 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 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 local artists. Perhaps 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 summer months and Christmas in the Park. 
Here are the ideas we have so far:
  • Animated Halloween Displays
    • Created by 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/take-down effort.
    • Halloween Food
      • Booths with candied apples, chocolates, candy, pumpkin seeds, etc.
      • Food trucks
      • Trick-or-treating station - a free piece of candy to anyone wearing a costume any day in October (could also be used to hand out promotional flyers for Downtown events/businesses/resources)
    • 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
      • Pirates of Emerson and Candlelighters (Fremont) do a good job of providing family-friendly games themed around Halloween
      • A handful of children's rides could also be added to the Paseo and reused for Christmas in the Park
    • Interactive Art
      • ZERO1-style, but with a Halloween spin.
    • 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. 
      • 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.
      • Could partners with one of the established San Jose haunt providers such as Deadtime Dreams or The World's Largest Haunted House.
    • Potential Events
      • Zombie-O-Rama can be used to kick off Halloween in the Park (late Sep. / early Oct. time-frame)
      • Zombie Crawl
      • Dia De Los Muertes Bike Party
      • Horror Movie Trivia Contest
      • Weekly horror movie screening (perhaps in the Circle of Palms area?)
      As in previous years, please post your suggestions below and I'll merge them in!

      1 comment:

      1. Interesting idea. I'm thinking it could be cool to maybe use Pumpkins in the park as a kick off event. I would still be wary about creating a kind of never ending celebration downtown, because that might cheapen the experience or even make it seem like" oh god are they ever going to stop? Are they just trying to get more money out of us or what? "