Free pizza and fun at dry Halloween party

Steve Bushong

Kent State Police Services and the University Advisory Committee on Alcohol Issues is throwing a party Saturday night.

Wait! Before skipping to the next article, read: Revelers can race motorized toilets and indulge in free pizza, all while being under the influence — of fun. Alcohol is not allowed at the fourth annual Halloween Extravaganza.

“Parties should focus on fun, not drinking,” officer Alice Ickes said.

Ickes said fun equals free food, beverages, games, inflatable attractions and a costume contest. The event is from 9 p.m. until midnight in the White Hall parking lot.

“It’s a great alternative to students going downtown, to students who want to have a fun night and get in costume,” KIC President Traci Sanders said.

Tastefully costumed students can pose for a digital picture, and their costumes will be judged at a later date. The best costumes could win a digital camera, scholarships or pre-paid gas cards — prizes donated by Coca-Cola.

Inappropriately costumed students, such as those wearing “huge anatomical parts” need not apply, Lt. Bill Buckbee said.

“But we have had some scantily clad people in the contest,” he said.

The Halloween Extravaganza was created in 2003 as an attempt to supplement the celebratory needs, in a safe way, of the 20,000 people who crowd downtown Kent every Halloween.

During previous years’ unofficial celebrations, police observed hundreds of aimless wanderers, trekking up and down Main Street, searching for a fun destination. None was to be found. Not everyone can fit into the bars.

“We had tons of people and (nothing) for them to do,” Ickes said. “We’re trying to simplify Halloween, and instead of being overwhelmed by the number of people there, let’s just look at it as a party.”

Police Services isn’t the party’s sole host. Sharing the responsibility are Kent Interhall Council, Health Services, Recreation Services and other university organizations.

Ickes, in addition to being a method of crowd control, said the event is also part of the effort to retain students on campus during the weekend. President Lester Lefton’s recent push for weekend entertainment has made it easier on Police Services to find partners for this year’s Halloween Extravaganza.

“This year was a breeze,” Ickes said.

But still, the event and its $6,800 budget is not big enough to accommodate all the Daisy Dukes and Jack Sparrows that come out for the night’s festivities.

“We’d like to see it grow and encompass a broader effort to provide food and entertainment,” but for now, organizers are keeping it simple, Ickes said.

Contact safety reporter Steve Bushong at [email protected].