The first year I went to the Castro for Halloween was the year I fell in love with this city, in part because of all the fun I had and the people I met that night. A group of eight friends and I all got dressed up and got dropped off by Castro Street. As we walked towards the hub of the celebration (Market and Castro St. intersection), we could all feel the vibe of excitement. As we reached the top of the hill, looking down all you could see was a huge mob of people dancing and partying. We stopped off at a liquor store and bought our cocktails for the night and proceeded to intermingle with the crowd.
Throughout the night we saw scary costumes, funny costumes, people naked with no costume and everything in between. There were people jumping off Porto-potties and drunk people searching for lost people out of their groups. The best part of the night was when we met a group of people from New Orleans. They actually compared the night’s activities to Mardi Gras and agreed that the Castro Halloween could compete for fun. That made me so grateful that I lived in such an open-minded and diverse city.
That was four years ago and due to all of the bad press the Castro has gotten the past few years, I refrained from attending the following years. Last year there were 10 reported injuries, some of those fatalities, as a result of shootings.The year before, several stabbings were reported. The amount of people compacted so closely along with the added chaos, it’s easy to see how such things could happen, but that is no excuse for it. It’s a shame that because of gang related violence (which ironically occurred in an open minded LGBT friendly neighborhood of San Francisco), the Castro St. Halloween party has now been indefinitely canceled.
To date there has been no reported alternatives planned by the city to replace the Castro celebration.There were rumors of an At&t Park parking lot party but that never happened. Because there hasn’t been another organized festivity planned, people still show up in Castro.They are unfortunately greeted by police telling them to move on. Hopefully this year the city can produce a replacement location for all these great folks to get together once again.