West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang said Wednesday that contradictory to public belief, the city does not make any money from the ever-popular Halloween Carnaval.
"There are some assumptions and myths that are untrue," Prang said. "We don’t make any money on Halloween. We spend almost $900,000."
Prang said the city gives nearly $500,000 to the agency that plans and organizes the event, and more than $300,000 goes to the sheriff's department.
However, the money the city receives from West Hollywood businesses in return, which is based off the city sales tax, comes nowhere near the amount of money the city spends on the Carnaval, according to Prang.
"I'm kind of a critic because of the money we spend on it. I'm a supporter of the event but not the size of it," Prang said. "The city has deemed it important. But every year, when people say it’s a moneymaker for the city, that’s just not true."
Prang listed a number of reasons as to why businesses around West Hollywood do not enjoy as much success on Halloween night as one might anticipate.
"There are a bunch of businesses in the area—bars, night clubs and restaurants—that have a good night," Prang said. "But up on Sunset Boulevard, businesses don’t do as well because no one wants to come unless they're going to Halloween because of traffic and parking. Customers can't get to these business and in turn, they're not busy. Parking can be miles away and people park in front of businesses, then walk to the Carnaval."
Prang said he has been attending the event since 1987 and has seen it transform over the years.
"Basically, it used to be in the main business district, but it got enormous over the years," Prang said. "I always ask the question, would this event not be a wildly successful event if it had 100,000 people instead of 400,000? Could we provide a more quality event? We provide Halloween entertainment for all of Southern California."