Las Vegas should take a spirited approach and capitalize on Halloween

It’s time for Las Vegas to stake a claim on Halloween and turn it into one of those holidays you have to be here for at least once in your life.

We own New Year’s Eve. Valentine’s Day is no slouch. Spring break, if we can call it a holiday, is perfect because it often matches up with March Madness. Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day aren’t so much about the significance of those observances as they are about three-day weekends, which always fill our resorts.

Independence Day is “meh” because it’s so hot here — and you can never count on the Fourth of July creating a long weekend.

Thanksgiving is a turkey. So is Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa. It’s best to instead hang out with family and friends.

But Halloween is perfect because it fits so nicely with that “What happens here stays here” vibe we’re always trying to capitalize on.

Now is the time to jump into the Halloween fray because people are spending more money than ever before on the holiday.

A website called The Balance reports that more people are celebrating Halloween this year than ever before and that total spending and spending per consumer are at all-time highs.

The site says that in 2016, 171 million Americans are celebrating. They’re spending $8.4 billion, eking by the $8 billion spent in 2012. And the average spending per consumer is $82.93, far more than my household budget devotes to Halloween. But, of course, I haven’t gone out and purchased any twinkling orange lights to decorate my house, either.

Where do people travel to celebrate Halloween now? After consulting Fodor’s, I found, much to my surprise, that Las Vegas actually made the top 10 list despite the lack of a big, organized effort to collaborate for a citywide celebration.

The Strip is the recommended center of attention, with Circus Circus’ Fright Dome, the in-costume version of the property’s Adventuredome, the leading landmark.

Other Fodor’s-recommended Halloween locales include New York, West Hollywood, Atlanta and Chicago. Here are some more good ones: New Orleans (lots of cemeteries and celebrations of the dead); Sleepy Hollow, New York (thanks, Washington Irving); Kentucky’s Louisville Zoo (deemed more sweet than scary, it is also a family attraction); and Salem, Massachusetts (we all know what they did to witches there).

As one who grew up in Colorado, I’m ashamed to say I knew nothing of the Halloween celebration in Manitou Springs, where they observe the Emma Crawford Festival and run coffin races. Crawford, a concert pianist, moved to Manitou, just outside Colorado Springs, to take advantage of the healing powers of the hot springs there when she was suffering tuberculosis. Alas, it didn’t work, but people celebrate her there anyway.

Las Vegas swung and missed at an annual Halloween observance in 2005, 2006 and 2007 with Vegoose, a music and arts festival staged at Sam Boyd Stadium and the surrounding fields. There were other musical acts at the MGM Grand, Orleans Arena, The Joint at Hard Rock and the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay.

The talent at Vegoose was pretty good. Among the acts were Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Killers, Rage Against the Machine and a bunch of other groups whose names I swear were made up at the spur of the moment.

Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events, who has made a career of developing special events in Southern Nevada, scratches his head when he looks back at the failure of Vegoose.

Maybe it was the curse of Sam Boyd Stadium being so far away from the Strip that hurt it. Maybe it was the fact that people attending couldn’t camp out, as they can at the dozens of music festivals that have sprung up all over the country over the years. Maybe it didn’t live past 2007 because the economy nose-dived.

Whatever the reason, Vegoose was cooked, never to return.

Christenson said that maybe it’s time to resurrect Vegoose or something just like it, now that Las Vegas has started to develop a positive reputation around its music festivals thanks to the successes of Life Is Beautiful, I Heart Radio and the grand champion, Electric Daisy Carnival.

One thing that Las Vegas Events is really good at is taking a centerpiece event like the National Finals Rodeo and building offshoot, separate venue activities around it. Most people who come to the rodeo in December don’t have tickets to the event but enjoy the western lifestyle associated with it.

They come for Cowboy Christmas, a craft sale at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the country entertainment that settles into the showrooms and arenas around the city during the 10 days that the rodeo is in town.

The common denominator for all those activities is that followers need a place to stay — the tried-and-true heads-in-beds formula — they need a place to eat and it doesn’t have to be just steak, and oh, yeah, they like to play a few hands of poker or blackjack.

With all the creative genius that resides in Southern Nevada, there has to be a fresh idea or two out there to build a must-do event for Halloween.

And there’s an added bonus. Nevada’s admission to the Union occurred Oct. 31, 1864, and the Friday before Halloween is a state holiday — another guaranteed three-day weekend for many residents.

There’s always a huge celebration in Carson City; if you’ve never gone, try it sometime. It’s a hoot.

Wouldn’t it be great to have our in-state rivalry football game played on that weekend? Somebody at the NCAA one day decided that all rivals should play at the end of the season, and that’s why the Wolf Pack and the Rebels don’t meet until Nov. 26 this year, the Thanksgiving weekend.

Won’t that be a joy when the snow flies early in Reno and one of the best games of the year draws just a few hundred hearty fans. Nevada should buck the trend and play the Nevada-UNLV game that last weekend in October or on Nov. 1 if Halloween falls on a Friday.

It’s time for Las Vegas and Nevada to own Halloween.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Facial recognition software at G2E
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like