As Halloween approaches, fans of the holiday are preparing their costumes, decorations and candy—even if there aren’t a lot of local family Halloween events to enjoy.
Enter Adam Levy and Caitlin Litzinger, two event producers who work on the Jazzville concert series.
“Living here in Palm Springs over the years, there really hasn’t been a whole lot to do for families—even before the pandemic,” Levy said during a recent phone interview. “Caitlin and I, we produce a couple of shows together, and she works on Jazzville with me. We wanted to do something fun for our kids. I have a little one; so does Caitlin, and we both love Halloween, so we teamed up to do something fun for the whole community.”
The result is Halloween Hullabaloo, an all-day series of ticketed events at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, including various spooky activities like movie screenings, a zombie cocktail party and a “Jazzville Creepy Cocktail Party.”
“The goal was to do something fun for everyone. I know it sounds kind of clichéd, but we’re covering all the bases with this event,” Levy said. “We designed it where you can take your little kids, but can even bring your grandparents. Everyone can find something fun to do.”
Levy is drawing heavy inspiration from Halloween activities in which he participated as a child.
“I was born and raised here in Palm Springs, and as a kid, my mom was involved in a lot of different parent groups,” Levy said. “Back in the ’80s, the community came together, and they created these ‘Halloween towns.’ People’s businesses would create their own little booths, and they’d all do it under one roof. I would always look forward to that, because I’d see folks I knew from soccer, the Boys and Girls Club, and all these different organizations at the same place. For me, I thought that was so mind-blowing.”
Alas, Halloween over the years has become less personal, as Levy puts it. He wants to change that.
“I want to create a place where everyone can have a great time, and every year, it becomes one of those things where families know that they don’t need to stress about what to do for Halloween,” Levy said. “They’re going to come here the same way my family did every Halloween, with going to ‘Halloween town.’ It just brings a whole community together in the process.”
Litzinger said they worked hard—bringing back that cliché—to make sure Halloween Hullabaloo includes something fun for everyone.
“When we were talking about this event, we were thinking about what would be really, really fun. We love Jazzville, and we love what that brings to the table and the audience that it draws,” Litzinger said. “I met Adam when he brought out the burlesque show I run to the Hard Rock in Palm Springs when he was there. We had such great Halloween events there, and we were thinking, OK, that’s fun for different crowds—so how do we incorporate the families? How do we incorporate the horror fanatics who love the nostalgia of the old Halloween stuff?’ We really thought about it, and we each put in pieces to create this.”
Levy elaborated: “We have kids’ stuff during the day. … We’re screening Saturday morning cartoons that come with milk and cereal, and also having two magic shows.”
From 3 to 7 p.m., the Cultural Center will host a free trunk-or-treat. Vehicle owners can register as “trunkers,” decorating their vehicles and giving out candy to “treaters.” “Trunkers” are encouraged to either be part of a local organization or donate a minimum of $30 to the organization of their choice.
“By adding the trunk-or-treat to fill the parking lot, we figured we would make it a great opportunity for people to step in and fundraise for their different clubs and organizations,” Litzinger said. “It brings in a community of people who probably haven’t been able to fundraise for the last two years because of the pandemic, so we really wanted to make that an important part of this event and get everybody involved.”
Despite the ongoing pandemic, Levy said the response so far has been positive.
“It’s a scary time right now,” Levy said. “I have two weekly shows, and my livelihood depends on ticket sales right now, but to be completely honest, we’re still selling out. … I feel like we’re going to be in this position for a long time, and it’s really just going to be up to folks on how they personally handle the pandemic.”
While some of the Halloween Hullabaloo events are outside, others are inside—and Levy said the indoor events will be as safe as possible.
“The theater is requiring proof of vaccination for their events currently, and that’s as stringent as anywhere in the country is currently,” said Levy. “Who knows what’s going to happen in October? … We felt like we were being really ambitious before we started putting pen to paper, but I feel like we kind of talked ourselves out of being as ambitious as we wanted to. I feel really confident for the first event with the way we’ve planned it, and we’re hoping that it’s a success—so next year, we can be overambitious.”
And now, a bit of a sneak preview: Levy and Litzinger said Halloween Hullabaloo may be just one in a series of collaborations with the Palm Springs Cultural Center.
“We’re actually working with the Cultural Center to bring a two-day Christmas event in December,” Levy said. “We will provide more details as things get ironed out with them, but we’re hoping to establish a bigger relationship with the Cultural Center.”
Halloween Hullabaloo takes place from 1 to 11 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 31, at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Road, in Palm Springs. Ticketed events cost $5 to $40; the Trunk-or-Treat is free. For tickets and a complete schedule, visit www.eventspalmsprings.com/halloween.