On a cold October evening in Madison some three years ago, a few ordinary people decided that a holiday normally reserved for elementary school children with candy pails should include excessive inebriation, pyromania and looting. These troublemakers were not a representative sample of the city's population or even the University of Wisconsin student body; they were a group of bad apples with no caramel coating.
And this weekend, they'll be back.
A fourth consecutive riot could lead this city into the unimaginable. Whether through executive order, a crippling tavern curfew or some other form of government action, a single canister of tear gas released on State Street this weekend could mark the final nail in Halloween's not-so-festive coffin.
It probably won't be you who sparks police action. Nor will it likely be your friends. But to the tens of thousands of people who will take to the downtown corridor this weekend, it will be someone in your proximity — someone who has no regard for the welfare of Madison, care for civility or appreciation for the good of the numerous students they endanger.
Be vigilant. Be cognizant. And do whatever you can to ensure that such individuals not be allowed to wreak havoc upon this great tradition. As the current students of UW, we are the trustees of Madison's Halloween, and it is up to us to pass it on to the future students of this city.
So go out, have a good time, enjoy drinking responsibly and, by all means, prove to the world that you can make one sexy nurse. But also do all that you can to ensure civility reigns this weekend. Then, and only then, can we be sure that others may rival your cleavage-spilling hospital top a year from now.