Monday, November 01,
Athens survives another
171 arrests, 68 jailed:
BY MARK CURNUTTE
The Cincinnati Enquirer
ATHENS, Ohio — The only people outnumbering women dressed as
Catholic school girls Saturday night on Court Street were young men
dressed as women and security people dressed as, well, security people.
Police officers escort a
bloodied spectator away from the crowd in Athens late Saturday
(Thomas E. Whitte photos)
Thanks to unseasonably warm temperatures
in the 50s, Athens' 26th Halloween street bash attracted a crowd larger
than the estimated 30,000 who jammed a three-block stretch of downtown
last year, Athens po lice said Sunday.
But the partyers, who gained an extra
hour because of the time change at 2 a.m. Sunday, were relatively well
behaved. Watching them were officers from several jurisdictions.
Police said 68 were taken into custody —
down from 98 in 1998.
The number of arrests — including street
citations without detention — dropped to 171, compared to 201 last year.
Officers made 101 citations for under-age
consumption and possession of alcohol.
Half the crowd came in costume and this
year's most popular look was inspired by the Molly Shannon film
Superstar. Women in white knee socks, short plaid skirts, white
blouses, sweaters and dark-rimmed glasses were everywhere.
“I borrowed this from my roommate,” said
Megan Marin, 20, an Ohio University (OU) sophomore. “She really went to
Miss Marin had three high school friends
from Canfield, Ohio, down for the weekend. They weren't fazed that the
Catholic school uniform was the unofficial party uniform. They were
happy just to be there.
“I had heard it was really crazy, and it
is,” said Stacey Clark, 20, a University of Akron junior.
College students from around the state
flock to Athens at Halloween. Students from the University of
Cincinnati, Miami and Xavier universities and Bowling Green, Toledo and
Youngstown State were among the 22 from other Ohio colleges arrested
Eleven OU students were arrested, down
from 21 last year, which pleased OU administrators. They're trying to
distance the school from the event and divert OU students toward other
Administrators say the lingering,
generation-old tag as a party school masks OU's gains in academic
“It's not our party,” Provost Sharon
Breahm said at midnight in the lobby of the Baker student center, a
block from the stage where rock bands played until 1:30 a.m.
Ms. Breahm was one of 150 university
staff members dressed in green windbreakers who patroled the campus
perimeter. “We've had no damage, which shows the respect our students
have for the campus,” she said.
OU added several social events to its
regular weekend calendar to try to lure students away from the block
The movie, The Blair Witch
Project, was shown twice Friday night, and Dracula was the 10
p.m. feature Saturday.
The student center was also the site of a
coffeehouse concert and dance Saturday night that went head-to-head with
the street party.
The coffeehouse didn't fare well, but the
dance drew several hundred students — the vast majority
The street bash was attended
overwhelmingly by white students.
“We kind of have our party, and they have
theirs,” said Derrick Blount, 23, an OU junior from Cleveland who went
to the dance. He stood with a date outside the student center ballroom
where a deejay played dance music.
“It's not a forced separation,” Mr.
Blount said. “It's a matter of choice.”
The location of choice for Halloween
partygoers in Athens over the years has been the brick-paved Court
Most of those on the street appeared to
be too young to drink alcohol legally and many had been drinking when
Inside the bars, bouncers checked IDs at
the doors and turned away anyone not clearly of age.
Athens and university officials have
tried several times since the party's unofficial beginning in 1974 to
move it to other parts of campus or kill it entirely.
One of Athens' more memorable Halloweens
was 1984. That's the year nationally syndicated astrologer Jeanne Dixon
predicted a person dressed as Little Bo Peep would commit a mass murder
during a Halloween party at a Midwestern university that began with the
More than two dozen Peeps showed up but
no one was killed. The rumor resurfaces each year.
Attendance peaked at 50,000 in 1993 and
attempts to clamp down on under-age drinking and open-container
violations haven't detoured students from Court Street.
Besides students, the party's biggest
supporters are downtown merchants. An uneasy truce exists be tween the
business owners, the mayor's office, city council and the university.
University officials, who wish the whole
thing would go away, again forced students living in residence halls to
wear hospital-style wristbands to gain entry to their dorms.
OU also, for the second consecutive year,
limited guests in residence hall rooms to one or two and restricted
on-campus parking to OU-tagged vehicles.
“To me, it's all worked pretty well. I
understand why they have to do it,” OU freshman Joshua McNary, 19, of
Amherst, Ohio, said at 1 a.m. while eating a hot dog in a student center
Mr. McNary lives in Biddle Hall, a co-ed
dormitory for first-year students, and once he unlocks the main door, he
said, he had to show his wristband to a resident assistant to get in.
“The halls are a lot safer,” said Mr.
McNary, who could take off the plastic bracelet Sunday afternoon.
Athens Police Chief Rick Mayer credits OU
measures for helping to control the size and rowdiness of the Court
Street crowd. The street was emptied of revelers for cleaning at 2:57
Even so, other problems have developed,
police said, namely the number of partygoers exposing themselves.
Some of the hottest spots on party night
are second- and third-floor student apartments above storefront
businesses along Court Street.
Students in those apartments drink
alcohol and watch the parade go by.
Hordes of men walk the circuit from Court
Street to Union (where the stage has been for two years) to State
When a woman in a suggestive costume is
seen in an upstairs window, men stop and urge her — chanting — to flash
Male partygoers are revealing plenty of
flesh, too, real and otherwise.
Several men wore capes over G-string
underwear Saturday night on Court Street, and oversized, toy female
breasts and plastic models of male genitalia were the focus of several
At least two ministers walked among crowd
The Rev. Buddy Sammons, 53, of Marietta,
made his second visit to Athens for Halloween. He carried a 10-foot
cross made with two 4x4s.
“Halloween represents evil,” said the
Rev. Mr. Sammons, who was harassed and thanked for being there. “There
is nothing good in it. Behind these witch costumes are people who are
hurting. But we are mocked.”
At that time, a young man dressed as
Jesus walked up to the Rev. Mr. Sammons and said, “Where has this (the
cross) been? I've been looking for it all day.”
Some partygoers attracted attention in
Keith Cousins, 20, an OU junior from
Naperville, Ill., came as Duct Tape Man. He covered a shirt, jeans and
pair of sneakers with the gray utility tape. “The thing is I don't know
if I can get all this stuff off my clothes when I'm done,” he said.
Two groups came as the characters from
the Scooby-Doo cartoon show, replete with a Mystery Machine van
fashioned from PCV pipe and bedsheets that they carried as they walked.
Two dozen members of OU's marching band
trotted up and down Court Street in formation, wearing the green and
white school colors and using paint cans as drums and pan lids for
Neil “I forgot my last name,” 22, a
member of UC's Class of 2001 and a Mason native, came dressed as a trash
bag. He had a used paper plate, empty ketchup bottle and other garbage
affixed to the black Hefty bag he wore.
“There's nothing as good as this is
America,” said Neil, throwing his arm around his best friend, an OU
student dressed as singer Hank Williams Jr. "I wouldn't miss this for
future looking brighter with city's help
Athens survives another wild Halloween
officer in fair condition
leader talks of road to democracy
instant of chaos in Vietnam
soon for HDTV? It's future is unclear
you one of Cincinnati's 2000 Faces?
accused of slaying
killed as car hits house in Clermont
project for target zone
surprises for Cathedral
'Culture of deceit' led to lies about worker's fatal fall,
strike Democrats' Norwood offices
scores in second half
show spans jazz genres
take medals back from Games
fields built just in time