Boystown Could Kill Halloween Parade, Create Block Party
Organizers want to mix-up the annual event, and with the cost of the parade sky-high, making the big switch to a street party is looking attractive.
The Northalsted Halloween Parade in Boystown may have just seen its last year as organizers toy with the idea of cancelling the parade for a new idea: a street party.
Nirmalpal Sachdev, manager of Steamworks and chairperson of the parade, said the Northalsted Business Alliance looks to change the parade every year to keep it interesting. But after 16 years, this may be the year they try something new.
“We’re looking to make it different every year by changing it up,” Sachdev said at Wednesday’s Triangle Neighbors Association meeting. “This past year, one of the ideas we had to make it different was by changing the parade route. …This year we’re might introduce a street party (on Halsted Street) starting at Roscoe (Street) and ending it at Cornelia (Avenue).”
The two-block street party is in response to comments like the parade being too long, the route not having enough activity and the overall timing leaving partiers rushed to make their extravagant costume changes, Sachdev says.
In addition, because the Halloween event would no longer be a long parade, the celebration wouldn’t block traffic at Halsted’s major intersections with Belmont Avenue or Addison Street. Similarly, Sachdev says a more compact block party would be easier for police to monitor compared to a full parade route.
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And a parade is no cheap event to organize, says TNA Vice President John Becvar. Although a block party may not be set in stone, it may be better than nothing at all.
“Financially, the parade has gotten more and more expensive,” Becvar said. “The economics have changed throughout the years. Honestly, it’s a lot of work. … I would like to make sure there’s something, because the alternative might end up being that it’s not economically viable to do anything. (A street party) may not be the answer, but it’s an idea.”
The proposed Halloween street party wouldn’t have booths like Pride Fest or Market Days, Sachdev says, and organizers wouldn’t seek approval to serve alcohol on the streets. Rather, each end of the party would be capped with a stage to provide plenty of entertainment, and at the end of the event, the costume contest winners would be awarded.
But some didn’t know of the concept change would work. Some worried if a block party wouldn't be conducive for children who often enjoyed the parade in the past. In addition, with the annual parade being a major Halloween event Chicago-wide, one prominent business owner wondered how far Boystown should stray from the tradition.
“The parade does have an identity as a parade citywide,” said Jim Ludwig, owner of Roscoe’s Tavern and president of TNA. “This is a proposal that’s a significant diversion from that, mostly at the expense of doing the parade.”
Sachdev says his team are looking for input and ideas from area residents on the annual Halloween event, so sound off in the comments.