Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints Day

And another Halloween -- officially -- has passed. Happy All Saints Day! KCBS & SF Gate have reported a "success"; fun night, safe crowds, bustling streets -- a good time had by all.

Once again, our thanks to the unsung heroes and heroines of the effort: the men and woman of the SFPD, the SF Fire Department, Adult & Juvenile Probation, Dept. of Public Health, Department of Parking and Traffic, BART, Muni, The Sheriff's Department, Public Works, Street Cleaning, The Mayor's Office (especially Martha Cohen) and Supervisor Bevan Dufty. Also, a special "salute" to Stephen Adams and his colleagues at MUMC (the Merchants of Upper Market & Castro) who have worked hand-in-hand with the City Family to ensure that everyone respects the 94114's home for Halloween.

As I write this, the crowds are thinning; the bars are doing a good business and the side streets where people live, relax and pay their rent, mortgages and property taxes are quiet -- appropriately so. Maybe after three years, we've begun to turn the corner on the "hell night" that used to be Halloween and are again making it a night of fun -- and respect -- for those who call Castro home: on October 31 and for the other 364 days a year.

more anon

Saturday, October 31, 2009

9:06pm -- Happy Crowds, Busy Bars

Happy Halloween everyone! The sidewalks of Castro are busy but not overwhelmed. The police are providing guidance, security and occasional assistance helping cars get out of tight parking spaces. It's a popular night for half naked football playes and legions of green-faced witches (this is the home of "Wicked"). Two Muni buses just passed by -- not full (good news) -- and had no problem getting through the intersection at 18th & Castro.

It feels -- a bit -- like Castro Halloweens of the past: festive people in costume having fun and being respectful.

And, the streets are open and traffic is moving smoothly.

So far, so good.

more anon

Halloween is here!

Here at "Brandy Ho's" -- for the second year providing hospitality for the press and members of the "City Family" working to keep the Castro -- and all of SF -- safe, sane and festive on Halloween. Thank you Jack, Cedric and Brandy Ho! Thank you Jimmy Lam!

Just walked around the Castro. Scenes from a Saturday night:
The world's oldest drag queen (or close), elegand and coy, holds up the bar at the "Twin Peaks" -- anticipating an evening of deserved cocktails for which her purse will nary open. Across the street, three revelers revel in their nakedness: their costume bravado, hats and sneaks. A tourist from Australia takes a picture while steps way Orthodox priests perfume the air with incense and vegetarian literature. Mr. Sulu (or his double) shares space with a bodybuilding biker laughs at 18th & Castro.

5:45am -- Halloween is here. So far, so good.
more anon

Bay Bridge or Not - It's Halloween!

..It's Halloween: late night / early in the morning of a long day. Drove around seeing what "All Hallow's Eve Eve" was like. Streets were scattered with people in costume: my last meeting of the day was with someone who could be called in "business drag." :-) Was fun!

My taxi tonight said, "it's slow for a Friday before Halloween" and blamed the bridge as we drove up Market. Tooling through Castro a few minutes later the streets were busy and packed with costumed customers (including one naked "devil" outside Walgreens. I love this town.

Below: a link to the story following yesterday's press conference at the SFPD:

Frankly, things seem....normal: happy revelers; busy bars, bustling restaurants. That's what we all want for Halloween: good business, good behavior.

more anon

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's Halloween Week!

One week to go and all over the City is preparing: costumes are being bought; parties are being planned. And, behind the scenes, the City Family is preparing for a busy Saturday, October 31.

Now in year three, the "Home For Halloween" campaign has helped in keeping Castro (and the rest of the City) safe and sane on All Hallow's. We're all pleased at how many clubs, bars and other venues are planning events that night. Well done! It's EVERYONE's holiday -- including the Castro's but not ONLY the Castro's.

So, remember: have fun and party on Halloween, but DO NOT expect a street party in Castro. Those of us who live and work here want to enjoy the night too, but not have to battle unruly crowds to do so!

This week: flyers are hitting schools and campuses around the Bay reminding people that there is no party in the Castro. Ditto for banners on BART & Muni (remember: last train back to the East Bay leaves at midnight).

Have fun this Saturday, and check out the latest events taking place around the Bay at

more anon

Sunday, October 18, 2009

BART / Muni Plans for Halloween

Two weeks to go before we can all take our costumes off! :-) Here's hoping as in the past two years, people who like to say "boo" do so with fun and respect for the neighborhoods they visit!

Just a reminder: BART / Muni will be operating a regular schedule that night, so, don't get caught on the wrong side of the Bay!

Below: the BART / Muni banners which will be going up this week around the Bay.

More anon.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Halloween" Music to "Boo" by

FYI - just had to share this with you! Each day, a different "song for the season".

An "Examiner" feature spotlighting a soundtrack every day for the month of October.

You can check out my daily features here:

More anon

"Halloween" is for kids!


As Halloween approaches, there's lots going on around the Bay Area. Here's something taking place on Saturday, October 31 -- perfect for kids and families -- at San Francisco's "Exploratorium."

Creature Features: An Exploratorium Halloween
Saturday, October 31st, 2009
Candy for Kids. Cash Bar for Adults Opens at 5pm

This Halloween, take in spooky science and frightful fun. Creature
Features: An Exploratorium Halloween offers a host of eerie
attractions ranging from giant insects to the Neverwas Haul, a haunted
Victorian house on wheels. Self-propelled, three-stories high, and
replete with period details such as a camera obscura, the Neverwas
Haul invokes the imaginary worlds of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and
other writers inspired by steam technology. Venture through its rooms,
then visit ghosts of theories past in our Cemetery of Dead Science. In
addition to mad science experiments, pneumatic monster machines, and a
garden of carnivorous plants, you’ll encounter fascinating (and
frequently misunderstood) creatures. Meet leeches, black cats,
tarantulas, giant insects, bats, scorpions and more.

Go to:
- Show quoted text -

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Castro Street Fair "kick-off"

What a gorgeous day: 23 years ago, was my first Castro Street Fair -- 1986. I knew I had found my home and home neighborhood. Thank you Harvey Milk for founding THE best street fair in the City, if not the nation! (but again, I'm biased).

For the third year, sponsored a Home for Halloween booth at the Fair to answer questions about the City's plans for Halloween, and keeping the celebrations safe-and-sane. Crowd was steady all day, with many people commenting that "it's sad that violence has marred what used to be such a fun event."

All of us involved with the campaign couldn't agree more. But -- that's the world in which we live. So, we have a choice: keep doing the same thing and hoping for a different outcome (the classic definition of insanity) or making a stand and saying "enough is enough." Three years ago, after nine people were shot during the annual Castro Halloween party, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Mayor Newsom, Castro residents and business owners and other members of the City Family said "enough!"

That first year, many people thought the campaign wouldn't work - but, it did. The hundreds of thousands of revelers gave the Castro a break, and headed elsewhere for All Hallow's -- including the Castro's bars, many of whom closed in support.

Last year, the bars were open, and business was brisk, but -- the street party was again canceled.

This year - it's the same: there is NO street party in the Castro, and NO large-scale public event. And, for those people who DO come to Castro, there will be NO tolerance by officials for:
1) public drunkeness.
2)disorderly conduct
3) underage drinking
4) parole violators
5) bars / stores which do not observe "open container" laws.

However, throughout the City and the Bay Area, there are many smaller events and celebrations taking place on Saturday, October 31. I'm looking forward to them! I'm also looking forward to a Castro that is busy, fun and respectful. I'm looking forward to people celebrating Halloween close to their own "home" neighborhoods and for those of us who call Castro "home", having a enjoyable night in which we feel safe and respected in our "home."

Below: link to TV coverage from today's "Home for Halloween" info booth (thanks for Lisa Chan at CBS-5)

The flyers are being distributed; posters are going up; people are helping spread the word: have a safe and sane Halloween...close to home.

Oh -- to keep track of the campaign, announcements of other Halloween events around the Bay and up-to-date public transit info, follow us on "Twitter" at "Home4Halloween".

More anon

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Halloween in the News

Our thanks to Tamara Barak Aparton for today's story in the "San Francisco Examiner" about this year's Third Annual "Home for Halloween" campaign.

Article below

Past problems lead to plans for quiet Halloween
By: Tamara Barak Aparton
Examiner Staff Writer
September 24, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO — The ghosts of violent Halloween pasts have prompted The City to cancel all large-scale events in San Francisco, including any in the Castro district or at AT&T Park.

After years of violence-scarred Halloween events in the Castro — nine people were wounded by gunfire in 2006 alone — The City has axed events in the neighborhood.

This year, despite Halloween falling on a Saturday, there will be no sanctioned event in the Castro and a city-sponsored gathering that was held last year near AT&T Park also has been canceled.

“We’re very cognizant that [Halloween is on a] Saturday,” said David Perry, who’s promoting San Francisco’s Home for Halloween campaign for the third year. The campaign urges people to find activities in their own neighborhoods.

Last year, Halloween was on a Friday, but rain and the impending election may have contributed to smaller crowds, Perry said.

The city-sponsored party last year in a parking lot near AT&T Park resulted in disappointing crowds and won’t be held this year, said District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who represents the Castro.

“Police also weren’t thrilled about it because they felt it was a distraction,” he said.

Even transit systems, which in years past have run extra service to accommodate Halloween crowds, have scaled back.

BART said it will stop service at midnight, like it did last year. Muni will not provide extra trains, Dufty said.

The streets in the Castro, which had been closed down for a block-partylike event, will remain open to traffic and there will be no stages for entertainment and no organized performances.

“I think the bars in the Castro will be busy, but it’s not a street party and there’s going to be the same emphasis on safety,” Dufty said. The representatives from the Mayor’s Office, city departments, law enforcement agencies, and neighborhood and community groups have been meeting regularly during the past several weeks.

“There are going to be larger crowds in other parts of The City. The Castro will have a strong police presence early in the evening, then officers will be redeployed to wherever there are larger-than-usual crowds,” Dufty said.

Mission Police Station Capt. Stephen Tacchini said that aside from larger crowds, officers will handle Halloween just as they handle any Saturday night.

“Citywide, the San Francisco Police Department has canceled the day off for most patrol personnel. They’ll be organized into a large pool of resources wherever conflicts develop, whether that’s the Castro, Mission, Broadway or South of Market,” he said. “We’ll do our best to keep the sidewalks flowing and streets open for traffic.”

Halloween horrors in the Castro

For years, the neighborhood drew thousands of revelers from San Francisco and out of town. But after violence marred festivities in 2006, The City began to phase out the organized celebration.

2002: A woman is slashed in the face with a razor and another is stabbed in the stomach and critically injured. Two other stabbings result in minor injuries. A chain saw is confiscated from another person.

2003: Despite a police crackdown on public drinking, one person is shot in the leg near Market and 17th streets.

2004: A man is severely beaten by two others.

2005: One person is stabbed.

2006: Shots are fired into a crowd. Nine people are wounded and one woman suffers a head injury when she’s trampled by the crowd.

Source: Police Department

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Saturday Night Twitter & "Halloween" Fever!

And another Halloween cometh. For the third year, the "Home For Halloween" campaign will help spread the word about Halloween activities in communities around the Bay Area. This year, October 31 is on a Saturday, so we know it will be a busy, festive night. And, like the last two years, there will be NO OFFICIAL PARTY in San Francisco's Castro District.

However, Castro District clubs and restaurants will be open, and doing a booming business. But, there will be NO STAGE and NO STREET CLOSURES.

Like last year, we're looking to have a safe-and-sane "All Hallow's Eve" in the Castro, and all over the Bay Area. Over the next three months, we'll be updating this site with info on area events, public safety and public transit. And, we want your input! So, please use the event form on the homepage at or email us at

Updates: Supervisor Bevan Dufty joined with members of the Home for Halloween Campaign and Mayor Newsom's office last week to go over plans for this year; and, a few weeks go, Bevan met with members of the Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association ( the Eureka Valley Rec Center to update the Castro community on this year's plans and public safety efforts. Everyone there seemed pleased with our work over the last two years, and supportive of plans to keep Castro safe, busy, bustling and LGBT-and-friends-friendly on Saturday, October 31.

So, like last year -- enjoy Halloween in your own home community, including the Castro! But, if you've got mischief in mind, we definitely want you to "stay home for Halloween." Our public safety, parole, and SFPD partners will be out in force throughout the Castro that night to make sure everyone stays in a festive, friendly and respectful spirit.

To help everyone keep up to date on events in-and-around San Francisco, follow us on Twitter at Home4Halloween.

More anon

Thursday, July 30, 2009