Kent Halloween celebration continues through rainy weather conditions

Students pose in their costumes for a picture while waiting in line to get into Barflyy Retro Bar And Arcade, a popular bar in downtown Kent, on Sunday Oct. 31, 2021.

A cold, rainy night in Kent may have dampened the Halloween spirit for some party-goers. The streets of downtown Kent remained empty by 8 p.m., though for many the night had yet to begin. 

Hunter Alan, who was out at 7 p.m. with friends for his first Kent Halloween, had one thing to say, “Party!” 

The group did not let the poor weather ruin their plans of bar hopping and house parties, “As you can see, it’s pretty chilly and he just doesn’t care,” a friend says, pointing to Alan’s shirtless costume. 

Admittedly, the group did express hope that the night would pick up. In downtown Kent many bars sat empty, though costume clad diners were seen in restaurants throughout. 

Back on campus, another group of students were preparing for a night of festivities as they walked along the esplanade dressed in costumes and holding umbrellas. 

“We’re just roaming around,” said Suvrat Dhuru, a sophomore fashion design major dressed in a letterman jacket. 

The group planned to walk downtown to check out the scene, explore and stop by Halloween events.

“And then we’re probably going to watch a horror movie,” said Anna Kaper, a freshman fashion design major.

The students expressed frustration with the poor weather, especially when it came to their costumes. 

“If I wasn’t in a costume, I wouldn’t care,” said Sierra, an anthropology and psychology major, “But I’m in a costume and it sucks.” 

The heavy police presence, which was the talk around campus in the days leading up to Halloween, was yet to be seen early in the evening, though police were patrolling campus in SUVs and ATVs. An attempt to interview two officers on patrol was turned down, with the officers citing department policy against interviews.  

By midnight, the police presence seemed to pick up around the Delta Tau Delta on East Main Street, said senior human resource management major and fraternity member Brady Bennett. 

“I’ve seen four walking, we’ve seen a few different cars passing by and we’ve got three sitting a couple buildings down, so it’s been interesting.” 

Celebrating his fourth Kent Halloween, Bennett said he hoped for a good night following a year of pandemic-related shutdowns, and this year proved to be pretty busy, with the frat house filling with people almost as soon as doors opened.

“My first year was pretty cool [and] COVID kind of shut down the past two years. This year has been really good though,” Bennett said. “It’s been packed since about 10 minutes since the party started so, we’re working it.”

Lines for the bars grew as the night went on, with the line to Barflyy Retro Bar And Arcade stretching down to the corner of Erie Street and South Water Street.

The under-21 crowd shared a similar experience down North Water Street at Brewhouse Pub where freshmen Lexi and Samantha, dressed as a scarecrow and lifeguard respectively, spent their first Kent Halloween waiting in line for an hour and a half before getting in.

Meanwhile, bouncers spent the night checking ID’s and confiscating the fake ones, said Emma, a bouncer at Water Street Tavern.

“We have to take the fakes,” she said. “It’s actually pretty fun. We haven’t thrown anyone straight out the front door.”

An ambulance arrived outside of Zephyr following reports of a woman who seemed to have a seizure while waiting in line according to patrons waiting in line at the time.

“She fell down and hit her head on the concrete,’ said Caity Minor, a junior nursing student. “They got the police and supported her head.” 

Minor said she provided nursing advice to the woman until police arrived with the fire chief and an ambulance. The woman was put on a stretcher before being loaded into the ambulance. 

Later in the night, Eric, a member of the H2O Church on South Water Street, provided fresh pancakes outside the building to “make pancakes and make friends with people,” which he said has been a tradition for the last five years. However, the fire department shut down the practice after about 20 minutes.

“We’re usually out here Thursday nights, but we figured it’s Halloween so we might as well come out,” he said. “I’ve never gotten shut down before.”

Nicole Shafei, along with other members of Chi Alpha Campus Ministry, spent the night handing out water, gloves and hot cocoa to passersby to help them brave the rainy weather. Though she ran out of cocoa by 1 a.m., she said she “got to see a lot of smiles.”

The lines at the bars began to dwindle around 1:30 as many seemed to turn in early for the night. Michael Jackson’s Thriller played for the remaining Barflyy patrons while others, dressed as fairies, cowgirls and even Jesus, cut through the alley behind the building on their way out of Downtown.

Alton Northup is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

Morgan McGrath is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected] 

Sophie Young is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

Zaria Johnson contributed to this report. Contact her at [email protected]