Halloween celebrations in college towns tend to draw huge crowds.
KENT, Ohio — Halloween celebrations in college towns tend to draw huge crowds.
In years past, the city of Kent would have an estimated 20,000 people partying for the holiday, some students, others were from out-of-town.
Because of COVID-19, there are expectations there won’t be as many crowds. In Ohio and across the country, we’ve seen spikes in coronavirus cases on college campuses.
While none of the Halloween related events are sanctioned by city or university leaders, Kent State sent a message to students which included the following statement:
“It’s getting cold in Ohio, and Kent State wants to make sure you stay cozy in your places of residence. Halloween is right around the corner, and we understand that it is tempting to go out and party. Make sure to limit gatherings to 10 friends so you can have fun while staying safe. Each of us must make short-term sacrifices to ensure long-term success. Please don’t make this event the end of the semester. We trust you all to make smart decisions.”
The city of Kent will have police officers patrolling but not as many as in years past.
“2020 is a very different year and it is just not worth it, we’re really going to ask people to avoid Kent altogether,” explains Lt. Mike Lewis.
The department will be looking for typical violations like underage drinking or excessive noise but as for cracking down on large gatherings, that will be left up to the city health department.
“Kent police is not the mask police, we’re not the ten person police but we will back up our health department,” says Lewis.
Pandemic related violations begin at $500.
The Kent State University Police released the following statement to 3News:
“Halloween celebrations in Kent have never been sanctioned or promoted by Kent State University nor the City of Kent. The safety of our students has always been Kent State Police Services’ number one priority. This year is no different. We know this year brought many challenges to our student body and community. As our university community remains challenged by COVID-19, we strongly encourage students find ways to observe Halloween other than through large gatherings. A few ideas are to have a Halloween movie marathon with your roommate or household members or take a hike and enjoy the best fall foliage we have seen in years.
Kent State Police Services will be enforcing alcohol related offenses, disorderly conduct and any other nuisances and crimes committed over the Halloween weekend as is done on any week or weekend day at the university. Enforcement may include referrals to the Office of Student Conduct in addition to or in conjunction with criminal charges. We want our students to be safe, follow the Flashes Safe Seven guidelines, and make good choices for their safety and wellness.”
Editor’s Note: The below story aired on October 6, 2020