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The Halloween Gathering

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On October 24, 2015, The Chicago Cultural Mile Association (CCMA) launched a new initiative entitled The Halloween Gathering to bring together Chicago’s cultural community for a celebration that triggers the imagination and appeals to the kid in all of us.  This powerful event celebrates Halloween as “the artist holiday” by gathering Chicago’s diverse creative communities for an all-day festival culminating in a magical nighttime parade.  The parade’s contingents included displays by world-renowned institutions such as The Field Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as many other theater, music, dance, writing, design and artist groups from all over Chicago. 


The Chicago Cultural Mile enlisted FLIRT to help create an enduring brand and experience that both embodied the artist spirit and was inclusive for families and children. Essentially, they wanted it to be cool and artistic without being too scary or aloof. FLIRT was tasked with developing a brand (without any existing photos, video or other visual assets) that would establish, promote and excite as well as elevate the awareness of the Chicago Cultural Mile Association and its participating cultural institutions. 



Our strategy focused on creating a character to personify the event. This character would give the brand personality, create intrigue and infuse fun. We began with a black and white skull wearing a top hat and an ascot.  Known as the “Ghoul” or the “Mascot in the Ascot,“ he would become the face of the event and represent the melding of Halloween with culture. This single color ghoul was featured in digital and small scale applications.


We also created the “creative skull” which represents the explosion of creativity and culture as our ghoul has his hat blown off by the icons representing the institutions on the Chicago Cultural Mile such as Sue from the Field Museum and the Tiffany ceiling from The Cultural Center. 


FLIRT then developed brand guidelines including a color palette focusing on purple as the primary color accented by gold and black. The new branding debuted in digital ads, posters, flyers, CTA branding, stage and parade banners, t-shirts, totes, blankets and table runners. We also created unique TV and radio spots. Watch here!



A huge success by any measurement, here are some highlights from the first-ever The Halloween Gathering:

  • 100,000+ day time attendees
  • 200,000+ attendees at the spectacle parade
  • 90+ parade group participants/ 4,000+ individual participants
  • 200+ volunteers
  • 83 news stories
  • High praise from the City of Chicago, the Park District and the Chicago Police Department
  • Large social and digital coverage of the event on all platforms

FLIRT has already begun working with The Chicago Cultural Mile on the second annual Halloween Gathering, which will take place on October 22, 2016.


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