City folk prepare for Halloween

Erin Dean

As students begin to piece together last-minute costumes for tomorrow night’s festivities, the rest of the Kent community will begin to prepare as well.

Because Kent State is a community in itself, it is sometimes easy to forget the world outside of Main and Summit streets. But for those who live and work in the city, Halloween is approached with mixed emotions.

Water Street Tavern owner Mike Beder said Halloween is definitely something to prepare for.

“We have 18 people scheduled on staff for that night,” he said as he scrolled through messages on his phone. “I’m actually in the middle of ordering a week’s worth of beer and liquor right now that we expect to use up that night.”

Though the chilly weather predicted this weekend might change some minds about going out, Beder said he thinks it will actually play to their advantage.

“We are expecting to be at full capacity that night,” Beder said. “We usually do more than a week’s worth of business in one night, so Halloween is always something to look forward to.”

Jenny Arthur, owner of the downtown crafts shop, The Works Inc., agreed that weather will play a part in the activity.

“For about 10 years I lived in an apartment downtown,” said Arthur, who is now living in a house in Kent. “It had big windows that faced Main Street, so I would be up there watching all the action. When the weather was cold, I always had friends that I’d hear trekking up to my door. Whether there was an invitation or not, they would come to get warm or use the bathroom or whatever.

“Half of the time, though, I’d leave town for that weekend. It can get pretty annoying when it’s four in the morning and you’re ready for sleep. Then you have the standard throw up everywhere and people who went to the bathroom on your door.”

Arthur, who grew up in Kent and attended Theodore Roosevelt High School, said when she was younger, Kent State’s Halloween wasn’t as big a deal.

“I don’t ever remember coming downtown then,” she said. “I think me and my friends just did private parties together. It has definitely gotten bigger every year.”

For Arthur, the best part is seeing all the costumes.

“I remember a while ago,” she said. “The architect students would do really coordinated theme costumes together. It was always really planned out and cool to see. And a couple of years ago there was some athletic team of about 20 that all dressed up as Thriller. They would be in the middle of the street doing the dance. I think it’s the best when a group gets together like that.”

With the big crowds downtown, the safety of the community is certainly an issue to consider. Both Beder and Arthur agreed that as long as people are respectful of themselves and others, everything should go smoothly.

“We’ve never had anything really catastrophic happen,” Beder said. “But anytime you get that many people together drinking that much you’re bound to have typical issues. We’ve been pretty fortunate not having to deal with anything too serious.”

Arthur said she thinks downtown is a pretty safe place to be with all the police around.

“The police are actually pretty lenient,” she said. “At least as much as they can be. They are pretty good about making sure people are being safe. While there is a lot of drinking that goes on, most college kids are used to that. If any high school-age kids show up, they usually can’t hold their liquor and they will stick out.”

For any Kent community members who haven’t experienced a Kent State Halloween, Beder advised not bringing anyone under the age of 18.

“Just remember it’s all in good fun,” he said. “There are a lot of police officers out, so just have a good time and be safe.”

Arthur said the advice she had would be dressing warmly for the occasion and being safe.

“It’s not just a free-for-all,” she said. “Just because the city tolerates it, doesn’t mean they are condoning it. But the police are on top of it. They know what to expect. It’s not like they are going to say, ‘Gee, we didn’t realize there would be 15,000 drunk people downtown tonight.'”

Contact student life reporter Erin Dean at [email protected].