City organizers may scale back Halloween party in the Castro

Organizers of Halloween in the Castro are considering pulling the plug on the event after years of residents’ complaints.

After five people were stabbed during the celebration in 2002, The City has tried to increase security by banning alcohol in the streets, setting up police barricades and confiscating dangerous costume accessories such as swords.

One of The City’s wildest celebrations, Halloween in the Castro can attract up to 100,000 people to the neighborhood’s streets for a parade followed by a costume party. But the city-organized event has increasingly drawn the ire of residents concerned about their safety, according to Supervisor Bevan Dufty.

“I describe Halloween as a battleship that we are trying to turn around,” he said.

Dufty said the Entertainment Commission, which organizes the event, has not made a final decision, but organizers are thinking of announcing that there will be no street party in the Castro this year while maintaining the police presence.

The idea is to reduce the number of people coming into The City and to give residents back their neighborhood for their own smaller, safer fete, Dufty aide Rachelle McManus said.

Police Capt. John Goldberg said that while the event is relatively safe for the number of people who attend, patrolling it is still very difficult.

“It’s obviously a very significant undertaking … particularly during the week. These are major thoroughfares with major Muni lines,” he said. “When there are that many people that come into a neighborhood there is clearly an impact.”

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