SF Police discourage Halloween at the Castro

October 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
San Francisco Police announced plans on Monday to keep people away from the Castro this Halloween. The annual neighborhood bash was cancelled permanently last year, but there's concern crowds will flock to the area anyway.

For a second straight year, there will be no Halloween party in the Castro, but the question is, will everyone get the message?

No one really knows what Halloween will be like in the Castro this year. City officials successfully kept people away last year, after they announced they were no longer organizing an annual bash. This time, though, Halloween is on a Friday and on the same day as the Critical Mass bike ride.

"We think it's going to be busy, so more than ever we want the word to go out, it's a Friday night, enjoy yourselves, but if you're expecting a party in the Castro with entertainment, and a stage and street closures, you're going to be sadly mistaken," said David Perry, the San Francisco Halloween coordinator.

The city instead will be hosting a party on Lot "A," adjacent to AT&T Park. The free, no-alcohol event is being billed as a family-friendly affair complete with costume contests and as many as nine bands. Organizers hope the contained venue will prevent violence from breaking out, like when it did two years ago in the Castro when nine people ended up being shot.

"We're hoping people will go and appreciate it and really kind of bring back Halloween to what it was. Which was a celebration for everyone to have a good time, feeling safe and secure in their own home neighborhood," said Perry.

For those who are still intent on going to the Castro -- bars, unlike last year, will be open for business. However like last year, there will be a heavy police presence with 600 officers patrolling the area, in addition to parole and alcohol beverage control officers.

"There will be zero tolerance for drinking on public streets. Criminal activity will be severely looked at and those who are, are subject to arrest," said Sgt. Wilfred Williams, from the San Francisco Police Department.

Business owners and their customers hope such efforts will work. Many want a busy Halloween, just not an out-of-control one.

"It would be nice if it were just kept to the locals and there wasn't a bunch of like people from everywhere converging and to make like thousands of people on the street, but not sure what's really going to happen," said Robbie Cheah, the "A Bon Part" wine bar owner.

To find out what Halloween events are going on in your neighborhood, you can click on the link below.

Halloween Events around the bay: click here


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