Oh, the dilemmas people face in the age of Covid: How to put together the 10th anniversary edition of Europe’s largest Halloween festival and parade, if you can’t have a festival or a parade?
That is what Bill Schacht had to figure out. He’s been the driving force behind Stockholm’s awesome & gruesome Halloween celebrations known as Shockholm, making many dreams come true and putting smiles on people’s faces in the darkest time of the year.
After a lot of pondering about whether to put together the event or not, Bill saw all the signs really pointed to only one conclusion. Beside the fact that it is the 10th anniversary edition, the actual Halloween (31st October) is on a Saturday this year (Shockholm has always been held on the Saturday closest to Halloween). And it is a full moon night, or even better, it’s a rare Blue Moon. So Bill was not going to let a pandemic stop him, even if it would mean it would be a big challenge.
Bill and his Shockholm team have every year first come up with crazy ideas and then basically had to figure out how to make them a reality. You may for example remember that year when they turned Globen into a giant Halloween pumpkin… This year provided a whole new set of challenges that needed to be resolved.
In previous years, the Shockholm events have attracted more and more people every year. The first event was attended by about 1000 people, and last year the figure was something like 7000. But as 2020 means restrictions on audience sizes, the Shockholm Halloween show in Kungsträdgården will be live streamed instead. But a lucky 50 people will get to experience it live, as Kungsträdgården and the City of Stockholm are building a special theater with Covid precautions and socially distanced seating.
The live stream will include a stage show, with the lovely Anna Jois returning as the MC. She has been involved with Shockholm in various roles from the very early days, and her Queen of Dreams is part of this year’s ‘survival’ theme. One of the evening’s highlights promises to be a virtual costume contest. Participants are welcome to submit photos until the 28th October and finalists will be chosen to join on screen on Halloween night. The live stream will also check in on actual Halloween parties, held safely in different locations.
Bill notes that even before Covid the world was moving more towards virtual environments and immersive media, a trend which the “new normal” has clearly accelerated. So it did not feel like such a big leap for him to do a virtual Shockholm in 2020. For 2021 he hopes we can all be back to normal though, and have an actual Halloween parade.
But in the meanwhile, let’s all get together to celebrate Halloween, even if it’s in a slightly different way than we are used to. After all, the main goal of Shockholm is to give the kids (and the young at heart) something to enjoy and remember.
To join the Virtual Costume Contest, just send in a photo of your best Halloween costume! The deadline for submissions is midnight on the 28th October. Read instructions and submit from here.
SHOCKHOLM 2020 on 31st October at 8pm – Online stream on Facebook
For more details go to Shockholm’s Facebook page or the Facebook event.