Kent bars prepare for Halloween


The streets of downtown Kent were barely passable with the hundreds of Halloween costumes that poured in and around the bar scene during Kent’s Halloween in 2013.

Hannah Armenta

Kent is gearing up for its busiest night of the year: the unofficial celebration of Halloween on Saturday, Oct. 25..  

Bar and restaurant owners and the City of Kent police and fire departments are taking special precautions — such as an increase in staff and help from off-duty police officers —to ensure the safety of students and patrons.

“It’s the busiest night of the year. We get somewhere in between 40-50 calls,” said City of Kent Fire Chief John Toskot.

The Kent Fire Department will bring in off-duty people to run calls and have seven medical units on call, some from surrounding cities.

In previous years, most of the calls were alcohol or assault related, Tosko said.

The fire department also makes rounds of all the bars in Kent to ensure that no bar or restaurant is over capacity or breaking any other fire code regulations.

“We had meetings with all the bar owners this week to make sure we are all on the same page,” Tosko said.

If a bar or restaurant is over capacity, the fire department will work with it to clear people out. A major violation of capacity could result in a temporary shut down, but Tosko said it’s a rare occurrence.

With an influx of people, be prepared to wait to get into Kent’s most popular bars this Halloween.

Bouncers and door people are taught how to keep count of people and what to do if the establishment is at max capacity.

“Usually we keep an accurate number, the max is 350 and after that it would be one in, one out,” said Rob Finch, manager of Water Street Tavern.

Many bars are bringing in more staffers to ensure they are serving as many people as they can.

“We bring in more on nights like St. Patricks Day, Homecoming and Halloween,” Finch said. “We have three to four more door guys and three to four more bartenders.”

Bars are also seeking outside help to manage the increase in patrons.

“We will be bringing in off-duty police along with our security staff,” the manager of Panini’s Bar and Grill said.

Panini’s Bar and Grill is projected to make around $20,000 on Kent’s Halloween alone, while Water Street Tavern is expecting a 300 percent increase in its normal Saturday night revenue.

Panini’s Bar and Grill will have a solid dinner period, but most of the revenue at other bars and restaurants comes from drink sales.

People are usually in and out or they sit at tables for the entire night without ordering food, Tom Creech, Ray’s Place manager, said.

With masks and face paint a part of many costumes, there is also a jump in underage drinking, with people trying to use fake IDs.

Most bars will have the person take of his or her mask or whatever is preventing the bouncer from identifying the person.

“We have to make sure you are who you say you are,” Creech said. “Whether it’s Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day or Rosh Hashanah.”

Attempting to use a fake ID could result in the ID being taken away or a ban from the establishment.

Safety is the top concern of bar owners and members of the city police and fire department, but they do their best to make sure Kent’s Halloween is fun.

Contact Hannah Armenta at [email protected].