Kelly Hunter, of Kelly's Corner boutique, runs a craft table at the Laurel District Fall Fest last month. Credit: LDA

Love The Laurel Neighborhood Days spotlight the vibrant business district, The Laurel, spanning MacArthur Blvd. between 35th Ave and High St., with a series of public events hosted by the boutique shops, restaurants, galleries, and service providers. Visitors enjoy free live music, live art, big sales, pop-up vendors, seasonal menus, wine tasting, and crafts for kids. 

The upcoming Halloween celebration, Saturday, Oct. 30, invites kids to trick-or-treat the businesses along MacArthur Boulevard between 35th Avenue and High Street. Businesses will provide free entertainment, such as Communitē Table (4171 MacArthur Blvd.), which is hosting a special performance by 30 members of the Grammy Award-winning Pacific Boychoir Academy (2-4 p.m.) in the restaurant’s parking lot. There will be Halloween bag decorating workstations for kids, and Silent Disco Yoga (11a.m. to noon) hosted by Left Coast Power Yoga (4148 MacArthur Blvd.).

Spotlighted at The Laurel Tricks and Treats event will be Oakland’s own Pacific Boychoir Academy (PBA), an independent choir with a day school for boys in grades three through eight, and after-school choirs for boys ages 4-18. Founded in 1998 in Oakland, PBA is the only secular boychoir school in the western United States, and offers a unique and rigorous, “best-for-boys” music and academic program for boys from all ethnic, economic, and geographic backgrounds.

While you are trick-or-treating the Boulevard, Kelly’s Corner (3901 MacArthur Blvd.), a children’s boutique, will have a fun Halloween photo booth as part of a costume contest held by the Laurel District Association. Kids can visit various photo booths at different businesses, have their photo taken, and then email it to LaurelDistrictAssociation@gmail for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Kelly’s Corner. Kids can pick up free “Keep Oakland Alive” tote bags to stuff with candy from participating merchants. Nearby Bay Area, formerly Keep Oakland Alive, is an online store and delivery service supporting the area’s independent businesses through e-commerce support. 

Ghost Town Brewing in the Laurel District is celebrating Halloween Oct. 30 with a pet costume contest. Credit: Ghost Town Brewing

Visitors will be entertained by live outdoor music, including from The Marchmen, performing classic Halloween-themed cover songs at Degrees Plato. Ghost Town Brewing (3506 MacArthur Blvd) will host live music and a pet costume contest. Lounge 3411 (3411 MacArthur Blvd.), the neighborhood cocktail bar, will host live music and late-night karaoke. There will be plenty of music for all ages to enjoy throughout the day.

The next Neighborhood Days event in the series is Small Business Saturday, Nov. 27. The Laurel merchants will offer their best sales and incentives of the year while families enjoy a festive, cheerful shopping experience. Stores will be in full holiday decor and offering music, tasty treats, and an abundance of holiday spirit. Similarly, the Santa Stroll on Saturday, Dec. 18 will provide last-minute gifts to shoppers still checking off their lists, and kids will have a chance to meet Santa. The Laurel District Association will publish digital holiday shopping guides on their website to make it easy to find local treasures whether in person or online.

The Love The Laurel Neighborhood Days monthly series started this year with Back to School and Fall Fest, and continues through the end of the year, in an effort to invite the community to reconnect safely after the extended pandemic shutdowns. This festival-style series produced by the Laurel District Association and sponsored by Jain Williams, StateFarm agent, provides free outdoor entertainment and activities without closing streets or attracting large crowds, plus it caters to all ages. The focus is on taking your time, enjoying unique local offerings, and creating lasting memories with your neighbors.