WICKER PARK — There will be no Boo-Palooza Halloween festival this year, according to organizers who say they canceled the event "due to lack of funds and the lack of pre-event planning volunteers."
Started in 2009, the community-produced and volunteer-run spectacle in Wicker Park's namesake park at 1425 N. Damen Ave. has included a hay maze, costume parade and contests for children and pets, apple bobbing, crafts and more activities.
Doug Wood, secretary of the Wicker Park Advisory Council, said Thursday that the four-hour fest requires several volunteers, 30 coordinators onsite and 15 to 20 pre-event volunteers, plus an estimated $10,000 to $20,000 "to cover what people don't cover with donations."
"We already miss the event - but, our neighborhood and the city has changed and now more people are needed to plan and fundraise for our incredible events," Wood said.
The WPB Insider's Guide was the first to report on the cancelation of Boo-Palooza.
Wood partly said an extra cost related to the hiring of off-duty security guards was one of the reasons the budget fell short.
"Since the 14th District Police's Wicker Park detail was terminated this year in the spring and the Park District's Security officer's budget was significantly cut after our planning meeting, an extensive budget for security was not included in our budget. Due to the lack of security, the WPAC hired off-duty police to monitor the Movies in the Park, the Midnight Circus, and the entire park during two street festivals," Wood said.
Wood explained, "These security costs led to a deficit in the WPAC budget and to the cancelation of Boo-Palooza."
Wood assured that Boo-Palooza could return next year and that the event wil be discussed at the advisory council's January "Create" meeting, where dates, times and organizers for 2017 events will be ironed out.
"A special focus will be placed on recruiting neighborhood parents and businesses to join the Boo-Palooza pre-event planning and the fundraising teams," Wood said.
For those still looking for a Halloween event in Wicker Park's park, Theatre-Hikes is performing "10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse" at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14 in the park. For more info, visit the advisory council's website.
A scene from a past Boo-Palooza [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
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