Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


City prepares for Halloween

City officials and the Madison Police Department will use many of the same strategies as in past years to deal with Halloween crowds, but they will increase the number of mounted officers and additional neighborhood patrols to monitor house parties. Stadium-style lighting will be turned on at dusk, instead of at a designated ending time, as last year.

This year, the MPD will use temporary fencing to avoid congestion on State Street and will block off the Frances Street entrance to State Street.

Street closings will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, when all cross-streets of State Street will be shut down. Gilman Street, Lake Street, Broom Street, Johnson Street and Gorham Street will be closed, according to MPD Capt. Mary Schauf.


"This is mostly for the safety of the pedestrians on State Street," she said, adding that it may cause an "immense hassle" for those who try to leave the downtown area after 8 p.m.

Schauf said private events are being held at the downtown hotels, along with "MacBeth" at the Union Theater and a UW hockey game at the Kohl Center.

"We expect to run out of parking fairly early. The events alone will suck up parking," Schauf said. "What we are telling people is if you are coming for an event, plan on arriving early, and public transportation is the best."

Schauf expects Saturday night to be the most crowded.

"Chicago" will play all weekend at the Overture Center, but Tina Frailey, the center's spokesperson and publicist, said she is not worried about crowds or parking. Last year,

"The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" played at the center over Halloween weekend and there were few problems.

"We sent out parking notices and have extra security on hand. We just want to get the word out to leave a little extra time to find parking," Frailey said. "The shows are out usually before all of the festivities begin … around 10:30 or so."

The Madison Food and Wine Show will be held at the Alliant Energy Center all weekend, as well.

George Twigg, spokesperson for Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, said the city is prepared to deal with the large crowds.

"It will be hectic," he said. "Just given the number of people that come up for Halloween itself will keep things hopping on State Street."

An extra-long celebration

The city also encouraged State Street bars to close early on Halloween, especially on Saturday. Daylight-savings time ends Sunday, Oct. 30, which means clocks will be turned back an hour early Sunday morning. Bars will have an extra hour to serve alcohol and, according to a city release, Hawk Schenkel, owner of Hawk's, will abide by the suggestion to close early and encourage others to do so.

But bars such as State Street Brats, State Bar and Grill and Mondays will stay open the extra hour. Other taverns, such as the City Bar, are unsure when they will close. The Wisconsin Unions will stop selling alcohol at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night.

Marsh Shapiro, owner of the Nitty Gritty and the Tavern League representative on the Alcohol License Review Committee, said the Nitty Gritty would stay open the extra hour, along with the majority of State Street bars.

According to Shapiro, Madison bars were advised by their lawyers not to agree to do anything together — even if only shutting down early — because of the antitrust lawsuit filed against 25 bars regarding drink specials. The city cannot do anything now, he added.

"The problems they had last year were at 1 a.m. or 1:30 a.m., well before bar time. So to blame the bars this year is a wild-goose chase," Shapiro said.

According to a city release, about a dozen tavern owners have also been advised to require patrons to use the back exits of their establishments to avoid massive crowding on State Street at bar time.

Twigg said the city realizes most bars will stay open an extra hour.

"The current situation is that it's unlikely anyone is going to be closing early, so we'll be hoping that people will be responsible and enjoy themselves in a peaceful and fun way," Twigg said.

Shapiro said if things do get out of hand, Cieslewicz could notify bars to close down. Twigg said Cieslewicz does have emergency powers, but it is only under worst-case scenarios that he would use them.

"In the event of an emergency situation, the mayor could take a wide number of actions … that could include shutting down State Street to whatever might be necessary to keep the peace," Twigg said.

According to Twigg, Cieslewicz will be on State Street over the weekend, monitoring the event. Last year after the celebration, Cieslewicz held a press conference stating he wanted Halloween 2005 to be cancelled.

"If he thinks there is going to be a repeat of last year … emergency powers are on the table," Twigg said.

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