Trick or Treat? Southport Halloween Takes ‘Huge’ Financial Loss

Organizers say putting on the annual event isn’t cheap, and residents don’t realize the tens of thousands of dollars behind the incredibly popular occasion.

The Trick or Treat on Southport event in West Lake View continues to be one of the most highly attended events in the neighborhood, but officials in the business community say when it comes to money, the tricks far outweigh the treats.

Running down Southport Avenue from Belmont Avenue to Irving Park Road, the annual trick-or-treat event is scheduled this year for Sunday, Oct. 28 from 1-4 p.m. Between the buckets of candy, bounce houses, pumpkin patches, face painting, and more, the event draws a outrageously massive crowd.

Even Lake View Patch reporters will be there saying hello, snapping photos and handing out boatloads of goodies!

“It’s really fun, and we’ve been doing it for a long time,” said Executive Director at the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, Heather Way. “It’s wildly popular. There are thousands of children… Last year it was a pretty nasty day out, something like 50 degrees and raining. I still had some merchants who went through almost 2,000 pieces of candy in 90 minutes.”

"It’s really fun and everyone has a great time, but it’s impactful, and I don’t think the families around here realize the detrimental impact is has.”

But while the event certainly draws a crowd, Way said residents would be surprised to learn about the tremendous negative economic impact that day has on businesses. While the annual event is entertaining, businesses are spending a sizeable amount of money to throw the party, and shoppers never come.

“I bet the economic shortfall is huge,” Way said. “Businesses spend easily $30,000 on candy, and (the Lakeview Chamber) spends $10-$15,000 on our pumpkin party. All that stuff for the kids is expensive, like the bounce house, plus the insurance and main power. It’s huge… It’s really fun and everyone has a great time, but it’s impactful, and I don’t think the families around here realize the detrimental impact is has.”

Regardless of the cost, though, the annual Halloween celebration is scheduled to go off without a hitch. Way says the event is a part of how businesses on Southport show their appreciation to the customers and community as a whole. 

With an entire street trick-or-treaters, a pumpkin party on Southport from Grace to Byron streets and Lake View Patch there handing out goodies, there’s only one thing left for Way to worry about.

“I hope it’s a nice day!”

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Andy Ambrosius October 22, 2012 at 06:58 PM
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