They want them to disperse, not disappear
Police are out in full force on Halloween night, and I've heard complaints from people about the situation as being hostile. But the Commander tells me that their main objective is safety. They don't want the crowds to disappear, they want them to disperse. As of last year, I'm told that the large group that would hang out in the street in front of CocoWalk was spread out through the Grove. Many would congregate in large groups in different areas of the Center Grove now. But I can see how a bunch of police up high on horses can be intimidating.
The cops on horses have tried to clear the intersection of Main and Grand, trying to keep people on the sidewalks. The event is not sanctioned by anyone and no one is responsible for it, people just show up and people just clog the streets. No one intentionally shuts the streets down, it just sort of happens every year. The police want that to end, they want people be in the bars, in CocoWalk and on the sidewalks.
Years ago, I remember that McFarlane Road was closed down and a radio station, something like Y-100 or Power 96, would have a stage set up down toward the park and there would be beer vendors and food vendors up and down McFarlane and it was sanctioned and it drew people from the very Center of the Village, down toward Peacock Park.
"Our top priority is public safety and in previous years the gangs and drunken violence was creating an atmosphere that was not conducive to a safe event. We took steps to prevent the illegal obstruction of the streets by the pedestrians, while maintaining their ability to enjoy the party. I fail to see the hostility you mention, but the results and lack of injured attendees speaks for itself," says Commander Morales, who started this Halloween brigade in 2013.
If we can still draw the large crowds and do it in a controllable way, that is the goal. Of course neighborhood streets are jammed packed with people entering and leaving the Grove, but for one night, I think everyone can overlook that and enjoy Halloween.
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