City preps for fans, trick-or-treaters

Katie Park

This Halloween, trick-or-treaters may not be the only people swarming the streets.Since this week’s football game against Pennsylvania State University coincides with Halloween, city and University officials have planned extra measures to ensure the safety of students, trick-or-treaters and football fans.

Representatives from Evanston and the University have been meeting over the past few weeks to organize this Saturday’s events, said Ald. Jane Grover (7th). On Tuesday, Grover attended a meeting held before all home football games to discuss the day’s events and security.

“You hope for the best and plan for the worst,” Grover said. “I expect things should go very smoothly, given that police from four departments will have their presence in the stadium.”

Officers from University Police, Evanston Police Department, Wilmette Police Department and Illinois State Police will be at the game, Grover said.

Traffic, parking issues, pedestrian accidents and alcohol consumption are some of the problems that can occur at football games, said Evanston Police Cmdr. Tom Guenther.

“I’d say 95 percent of people who do that participate with responsibility, and then the other five percent take liberties with making noise, urinating where they shouldn’t and littering,” Guenther said.

In addition to the football game, the city and the University have planned events before and after the game to create a family-friendly atmosphere and control crowds, Grover said.

A pre-game Halloween party will take place from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. at Wildcat Alley, north of Ryan Field, with events like face-painting, games and trick-or-treating. For the first time, a fireworks show will take place after the game.

“The fans, we hope, will mostly be in the stadium by the time trick-or-treating begins,” Grover said. “By the time it empties, hopefully the trick-or-treaters will have gone home.”

Guenther said Halloween is usually an “active night” for the police, as incidents like suspicious people, vandalism and stealing candy from children can occur.

Evanston’s recommended trick-or-treating hours, 4 to 7 p.m., begin just half an hour after the football game kicks off. UP Deputy Chief Dan McAleer said the number of people walking and driving on Saturday could cause complications.

“We want people to be extra cautious in driving, to be responsible in the neighborhoods so kids can enjoy an afternoon of trick-or-treating and be safe,” McAleer said.

Both Guenther and McAleer said they were increasing the number of patrol units for Saturday.

“We’re prepared, and I know the Evanston Police Department is prepared, so we want to get through the weekend making sure everyone’s as safe as possible,” McAleer said.Grover said announcements will be made during the game to remind fans to be mindful of trick-or-treaters.

NU’s Special Assistant for Community Relations Lucile Krasnow said the University and the city created a flyer to remind the community of Saturday’s events.

“We don’t get to pick and choose when the football games are,” Krasnow said. “It’s been a delightful partnership in a situation where no one had a choice.”

Grover said “every minute” of Saturday has been planned.

“It’s a busy time in north Evanston on Saturday, ” Grover said. “We’re hoping just the presence of the trick-or-treaters will bring out the best in the fans.”[email protected]