Halloween at The Castro

Once there was a faraway land named The Castro District where Halloween every year becomes much more than just ghosties, ghoulies and things that go bump in the night. The whole neighborhood comes alive in a spectacle of outrageously cool costumes. This heightened extravaganza became so popular throughout the years that it attracted locals from other neighborhoods as well as those who intentionally come to the city to be a part of it.

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It began in the 1940s as a neighborhood costume contest. By the late 1970s, it had shifted from a children’s event to a gay celebration that continued to grow into a massive annual street party.

With its popularity and what with an inflated number of attendees, trouble was inevitable. Trouble came in the form of a shootout between rival gangs of thugs in 2006. This resulted in 9 wounded people. The event was shut down almost completely. Maybe a hundred or so people came. But in 2008 the party was more or less brought back from the dead. Thousands of people crowded the sidewalks and no one had any fatal injury- thanks to increased security.

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As of 2011, the City of San Francisco’s official site on the topic states:

“Halloween belongs to all of us. Following last year’s successful campaign to keep everyone safe and maintain the Castro’s tranquility, we’re continuing and expanding the Home for Halloween campaign. Like last year there is no party or special event in the Castro. However, there are lots of events and celebrations around San Francisco, throughout the Bay Area and right in your own “home” neighborhood!

This October 31st, bars and restaurants in the Castro will be open for business. However, as was the case last year the streets will not be closed to traffic. As in every other community in the City, there will be zero tolerance for behavior which doesn’t respect the celebrated diversity of our communities. And again like last year, there will be zero tolerance for individuals and businesses that do not obey alcohol consumption and distribution regulations. The Home For Halloween website will help promote your events so please let us know about what you have planned in your community.

The Castro is not appropriate for a party with 100,000 people. So, the Home For Halloween campaign enters its second year of celebrating Halloween throughout the Bay Area and encouraging people to respect everyone’s home, including the Castro. With your support, we can indeed make Halloween a “home” for celebrations that are fun, festive and respectful. Halloween is for everyone.”

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Posted by: Rebecca White on

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