Setting up a Halloween trade show takes some thought and proper planning. Still it can be a great event for the entire community. It gives both the businesses and the citizens a chance to meet each other. Sometimes it can even help special interest groups. Planning for this event, should take place several months in advance. It is usually good to have one main group sponsor the event. A very active Chamber of Commerce would be a good place to start. However, there are other groups as well that would do the event justice. Groups like the Lions, Kiwanis, Elks, and Moose could be approached. In some cases, one or more groups could be involved because it could be of an advantage to all.
If you would need some start up funds, these groups could be a source for that. If they own their own hall or large rental space, you could use it at little or no cost.
Venue; The first thing the organizers have to do is find a good venue. The latter you go in October, the more the challenge with the weather. So you would want to have it inside. You need a place that is large enough for your event, has adequate restrooms, and convenient parking. Speaking of parking, don’t forget to provide for the handicapped. Set a date. Try to stay away from football dates and other Fall Festivals that might be going on in or near your community. This alone can be a challenge.
Once the above is set, establish a date for a planning meeting. Invite businesses and all civic organizations to attend. You can send them out a special invitation or make personal contacts. Going the extra step on this, will show your enthusiasm in having the event.
You will need a floor plan, decorating committee, children’s group, senior citizen committee, food committee, activity committee, and in some cases a logistic committee. Let’s go through each committee.
A floor plan is necessary to map out areas for the different businesses and civic groups. Sometimes you have to adjust the space to the size of the group. Larger businesses might need more space. However, try to be fair and work vocally with each group.
Decorating committee is very important. One of your civic groups or organizations could be in charge of this. Many times, they will supply their own funds for this.
Children’s committee; has to set up activities that will keep the children interested. You could have a costume parade through the venue or a costume judging contest for the prettiest, scariest, etc. Give prizes to the winners.
Senior Citizens like to be involved as well. They could be used as judges or as hosts for the event/venue.
When it comes to the food committee, it is best to use groups that have had experience before. They come in and set up, provide or sell food, and clean up and leave as quickly as they came. Sometimes, church organizations do a good job doing this. However, if some civic organization is trying to raise some funds through a specialized food, encourage them to do so.
The activity committee has to coordinate their activities with the various groups. For example if you have a costume parade, you would prefer that the businesses weren’t doing something at that same time. This committee is also responsible for establishing what activities, when, and where they will occur.
The logistics committee is very important as well. They make sure there is plenty of trash cans and they are kept clean. Restrooms are clean and easily accessible. Parking is set up so that handicapped can easily get into the venue. In some cases, valet parking might be needed. A shuttle bus or van might be required. You might be able to get a car dealership to provide one if necessary. This committee is also responsible for crowd control. They may have to set up chairs or tables. They may have to even assist handicapped or Senior Citizens. Lastly, they are responsible for helping and making sure the clean up is done.
In most events like this, each business and organization will clean up their own area. However, there is always something that will need to be addressed. It is always good to have a group in charge of final cleaning and preparing the venue for exit.
One other thing that you might want to consider. Have a qualified doctor or nurse on duty. You can usually get these individuals to volunteer since it is a community wide effort.
A Halloween trade party is great for bringing the community together before the cold winter months set in. It gives the businesses and civic organizations a positive exposure to the citizens of the community.