City makes push for neighborhood-centric Halloween

Partygoers looking for a raucous time in the Castro this Halloween are likely to find a party “diluted” by other neighborhood gatherings or perhaps a large concert in The City.

Entertainment Commission officials are meeting with neighborhoods around San Francisco and other cities around the Bay to discuss revelry options for this year’s Halloween.

Recent Halloween parties in the Castro have resulted in bloodshed, and officials clamped down on the party last year with closed bars and restaurants and a strong police presence.

But last year’s Halloween fell on a Wednesday, and the day after, neighborhood residents, merchants and city officials turned their eyes toward Halloween 2008, which, because of leap year, falls on the last Friday of October, coinciding with Critical Mass.

Last year’s theme, “Home for Halloween,” has a twist this year because the Entertainment Commission is looking for neighborhoods to put together events that would keep residents in their home neighborhoods, commission President Audrey Joseph said.

She said The City, the Entertainment Commission and neighbors would develop a “real plan” for Halloween night to avoid the “police state” they had in the Castro last year.

“To do what we did last year is simply not feasible again,” Joseph said. “I think we’ve got to come up with a master plan that both merchants and residents feel good about.”

After bars and restaurants were closed for Halloween — a big day for employees to earn money — Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who represents the Castro, reiterated his stance that they would not close again for a Halloween.

“We’re trying to bring back some of the charm, and some uniqueness to the celebration instead of this huge tsunami of drunken people overwhelming the Castro,” Dufty said.

dsmith@examiner.com

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