Hundreds turnout for Unofficial Halloween

By Gus Bode

Unofficial Halloween brought out witches, vampires and police officers to the Strip. Most of the police officers, however, were in uniform and not costume.

Hundreds of people donned costumes a week early Friday and Saturday night to celebrate Unofficial Halloween, which began as a Facebook group. The weekend was marked with increased staffing at some bars and an increased police presence.

Many house parties carded people throughout the night and stamped people over or under 21 to control underage drinking in efforts to lessen the chances of party-goers getting into trouble.


The Carbondale and SIU police also had extra help in the form of Illinois State Police deputies patrolling the streets.

Sgt. John Barwick, of the Illinois State Police, said they were asked to come and help with finding underage alcohol consumption. There were between 85 and 90 underage drinking violations recorded by the state police, he said.

“We really weren’t sure what to expect, we were told there could be a re-occurrence of the events from years ago,” Barwick said. “But it wasn’t anything like years past, as far as I know, everyone got home safely, and that was our main objective.”

Casey McCutchen, a senior from San Diego studying public relations and dressed as Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz,” said she heard of the event from her friend Steve Mulderink, who created the Facebook group that led to Unofficial Halloween.

McCutchen said she and her friend Mulderink both believed there was a lack of Halloween revelry.

“It’s giving us something to feel like we have a Halloween,” McCutchen said. “Right now we don’t feel like we have one.”

McCutchen hoped the Unofficial Halloween celebration could also one day lead to lifting the ban on regular Halloween by setting a good example.


“I think it’ll show the university that we can handle it, that just because we’re out having fun on Halloween and trying to have a night doesn’t mean we’re going to start riots,” MuCutchen said.

Thomas Marx, a Carbondale native and Winston’s Bagels’ employee, was out on the Strip Friday and Saturday night, witnessing the drunken debauchery from a completely sober perspective. Marx said he remembers the Halloween riots that led to the creation of Unofficial Halloween.

“Halloween could be a lot of fun, but the biggest problem with it was that half the people damaged the place,” Marx said. “You can come out and have a good time without tearing things up.”

Marx said Friday was actually a slow night for his bagel cart and he did not see as many people outside as he usually does.

Bars stood to be the most heavily impacted by the event. Many bartenders said their establishments had heard about the festivities and were ready for whatever happened.

“We’re always prepared, we have plenty of people on hand if we need them,” said Chambry Gilmore, a senior from Tuscola studying commercial recreation and assistant manager at Sidetracks.

“We have some people coming in at nine, some at 10, some at 11, I just bring them in as we need them.”

Gilmore was happy to see people celebrating Halloween a week early, because she felt the past few years in Carbondale have been lacking any good Halloween related celebrations.

“It’s my last year here, and my fourth year working at Sidetracks. It would have been cool to witness it be open for Halloween, or that weekend, just to see what it would be like,” she said.

Daily Egyptian reporter David Lopez can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 273 or at [email protected].

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