Halloween in the Castro on, but scaled down
By Erica Holt, Bay City News Service
August 9, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Francisco officials announced
yesterday that rather than cancel the annual Castro neighborhood
Halloween party to subdue community concerns over its growing
size and perils, the city will shrink the event and keep safety
Supervisor Bevan Dufty suggested canceling the city-sponsored
celebration, which in recent years has drawn thousands of people,
because many in the surrounding community complained that it has
grown too big and too dangerous for the neighborhood, according
to Dufty's aide Rachelle McManus.
Following an Aug. 2 meeting with Dufty, Mayor Gavin Newsom, and
other officials and community representatives, a plan emerged
to reduce the event's size instead, as well as increasing the
event's law enforcement presence.
Newsom said yesterday in a statement that he has directed emergency
personnel to ramp up a public safety plan for the entire Castro
neighborhood on Halloween.
He said he recognizes "that the size and magnitude of the
crowds require that we expand the city's public safety presence
and seek to reduce the overall attendance so that the event is
more in scale with a neighborhood celebration, not a regional
The city took over the six-block event about three ago, which
started out as small community party 40 years ago, in an effort
to curb public drunkenness and violence, following five stabbings
during Halloween revelry in 2002.
Dufty's concern about Halloween solidified after a spate of violence
during the June San Francisco Pride celebration and he felt there's
no longer a way to manage the risk of an event as large as the
According to the Entertainment Commission, neighbors have complained
about alcohol fueled parties in their neighborhood's side streets,
a lot of noise, fistfights, and public urination.
Newsom said that city departments will continue to work out the
final details of the celebration, including enforcing prior years'
rules against on-street alcohol consumption, screening for weapons
and maintaining fire safety.
Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.