San Francisco Halloween Dies With Neither a Bang Nor a Whimper

The city would prefer you stayed home and watched this cartoon come Halloween rather than make trouble in the Castro

City officials have announced that, come Oct. 31, there will be no large-scale organized parties on All Hallow's Eve — neither the famed Castro District street happening nor anything along the lines of last year's poorly attended, tightly supervised AT&T Park re-enactment of lame High School dances. This Halloween, you're on your own.

Sans the AT&T Park extravaganza, this is exactly what happened last year; there simply won't be any street closures in the Castro and large — but not stifling — numbers of folks will certainly wander around in costume and pump money into the local economy. Supervisor Bevan Dufty — who represents the Castro — told SF Weekly this was a “joint decision” that he, the mayor's office, public safety officials, and area merchants hammered out after two or three meetings. “Everyone expects to do great business, but there won't be any street closures so there's not a street party,” said the supervisor. “It'll be similar to last year when there was a strong safety presence between sheriffs and firefighters early in the evening. It worked well. People were happy.”

If people can wander about the Castro and other San Francisco neighborhoods in costume and revel and carouse in a manner that doesn't impede others' liberties — hey, that's great. And you'd have to be more than a little selfish to say that the Castro Halloween events — which, by the time a gunman plugged nine revelers in 2006, had degenerated into a drunken free-for-all in which out-of-towners used the Castro as their personal punching bag and toilet — weren't in need of a massive overhaul. Still, it's astounding how thoroughly the city has broken the back of this so-called tradition.

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