Festivities planned at bars, on streets

Marissa Mikolak

There could be priests and nuns or human condoms stopping in at local bars, and don’t be surprised to see George Bush or Bill Clinton walking down Franklin Avenue this Saturday night.

Kent’s annual Halloween celebration will take place with students and townspeople parading in various costumes downtown.

“I’ve seen a guy dressed up as President Kennedy with a bullet hole in his head, and a girl dressed as Jackie with blood all over her,” said Charlie Thomas, owner and manager of Ray’s Place. “It was really pretty sick.”

Some students will choose costumes with a humorous edge.

“I once saw a group of people dressed as a set of bowling pins,” said Vince Fazio, owner of Mugs Brew Pub. “I have also seen people dressed as shower curtains or shower stalls.”

The celebration will take place rain or shine.

Bar owners and managers agree Halloween tends to be a “crazy, festive night.” While the evening is expected to pick up at around 8 p.m., those who want to get a seat at their favorite downtown bar may want to head out a bit earlier.

Just in case things get out of hand, Safety Director William Lillich said he will have a substantial number of police officers from Kent and surrounding areas working Saturday night. He said he expects to have more than 60 officers patrolling the city. And while Lillich doubts there will be any formal DUI checkpoints, he said officers will be diligent for DUI violations.

Officers also will look for any unlawful, disruptive behavior that endangers other people, Lillich said. But he doesn’t expect to have too many serious problems.

“Generally, the crowd we get in town is a good-humored crowd,” Lillich said. “We look forward to having a good, cooperative group of people in town.”

Water Street Tavern doesn’t have any special Halloween events lined up, but Beder said that’s the beauty of the holiday. He said he has 12 students working that night, and the group dresses up as something cool. Last year, the staff dressed up as The Zephyr Pub, another local bar. They had paintings on the walls, wore hippie clothes and T-shirts that said ‘Zephyr,’ Beder said. He didn’t know what this year’s theme would be.

“A lot of the businesses downtown will have their doors open late,” Smith said. “People of all ages come, probably as many spectators as people who dress up.”

Many of those spectators filter into Water Street Tavern. Beder said the bar has big, open windows where people can watch others go by in their costumes.

Whether people are getting dressed up or just going downtown to watch the scene, Lillich urges residents to be cautious and think about safety while they’re having a good time.

“People need to keep calm and be in good humor,” Lillich said.

Contact public affairs reporter Kristin Lindsey at [email protected].