Halloween Block Party Considered 'Calm'

By
Taylor Pool

Dateline
Updated Mon, Oct 29, 2012 10:18 am

Super heros, Lego men, movie characters and Beanie Babies roamed the streets of Athens Saturday night during the annual Halloween block party, on an evening Athens officials are saying was "relatively calm."

The Athens Police Department alone still made 49 arrests from Saturday night to early Sunday and 15 arrests from Friday night to early Saturday, with the help of the Ohio University Police Department and Ohio Investigative Unit, according to a news release.

 

University police arrested 31 people between 3 p.m. Saturday and 3 a.m. Sunday when the streets were cleared.

The OIU reported, through their Facebook page, their agents charged 74 people in Athens Saturday, mostly for underage-related infractions.

Most of the weekend arrests were alcohol related.
 
Athens officials said the crowd size this year was typical of past years, with numbers estimated to have been between 15,000 and 20,000. 
 
Even with temperatures in the upper 40s and sporadic misty rain in the air, party-goers said they wouldn't miss out on one of their favorite weekends of the year.
 
Ohio University Senior Steven Mitchell said attending the block party is a tradition for him.
 
"As long as people respect the police and respect the law and we all get along just fine, it's like any of the fests we have down here, he said. "As long as everything goes smoothly and the police don't get headstrong, and we don't get headstrong, we can have a good time."
 
Out of town guests, Kassie Charnley and Amy Salvatore, from Western Michigan University and Shawnee State University respectively, agreed Halloween in Athens is crazy, but fun. 
 
For law enforcement, block party planning has become somewhat routine, but still requires tackling some challenges. 
 
Assistant Service-Safety Director Ron Lucas said, "A number of those challenges come on to our safety forces with the number of hours that they're out they and they're working, and the challenges of keeping a large geographic area like uptown secure."
 
For Ohio University officials, it is routine to be a part of the Halloween festivities, but not in the same way as most students. 
 
Many faculty and staff members become Ohio University "Green Jacket" workers during the block party, fulfilling needed roles like residence hall guards, street patrol and information booth workers.
 
Jneanne Hacker, the Associate Director of Residential Housing, said, "There are some key events on campus that we are expected to be accessible, but this is actually a great opportunity to come out and see the fun side of Athens."
 
As an information booth worker during the block party, she said several people came to the booth for directions or to find their host, because the workers can access the Ohio University student directory online.
 
This was the first year Athens had an information booth which was located outside the Athens City Building. The booth could also help someone find a vehicle that may have been towed, or give guidance to the friends of someone who has been arrested.
 
Ohio University President Roderick McDavis is almost always uptown during the Halloween party.
 
This year, he said, "I think the crowd is good. I think people are having a good time. I think so far, people seem to be having a peaceful, happy night and that's what we wanted... I'm very pleased."
 
He said the block party only reflects badly on Ohio University when "bad things happen," but he said that was not the case this year.
 
Lucas said the block party hasn't gotten out of control since 2004, when a riot broke out forcing law enforcement officers to use gas to break up the crowd.
 
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