Stanley Tucci, Colin Firth
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S.F. officials
cancel Castro Halloween

S.F. officials
            cancel Castro Halloween

San Francisco
city officials are hoping for a quiet night in the Castro
this October 31, announcing that there will be no official
Halloween celebration, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

"There will be no
party," said Audrey Joseph, president of the city's
entertainment commission, according to the newspaper.

Officials had
planned to host a large outdoor concert near AT&T Park
as an alternative to the Castro celebration, where a
shooting last year injured nine people. But the
concert promoter has decided the event is too much to
handle and that there is not enough time to find another
venue, Joseph said, according to the Chronicle.

Although the
alternative celebration has been canceled, officials are
still trying to keep the Castro empty come Halloween.
According to the Chronicle, supervisor Bevan Dufty
sent a letter to 110 local business owners asking them
to keep their doors closed during the holiday.

Halloween has
been a major community event—nicknamed the "gay
Christmas," it draws several hundred thousand people to the
Castro—but Dufty says the celebration has lived past
its prime.

"It's not a
holiday in the Castro. It's a night in which the
neighborhood is overrun by people who come to gawk, not
celebrate, and unfortunately, it turns into gang night
out in the Castro," he said to the Chronicle.

To discourage
partygoers, no streets will be closed for pedestrian
traffic and no portable bathrooms will be provided. However,
police will be deployed in numbers similar to last
Halloween.

Café Flore,
one of the Castro's most popular establishments, plans to
close shop this Halloween.

"It's normally a
big-money night, but it's just too crazy," manager
Doug Forrester told the Chronicle. The
café is only a few yards from where the shooting
occurred last year.

Some residents
have complained about the lack of public involvement in
the decision-making process. Although a task force was
scheduled to meet over the issue, once officials
decided there would be no Castro Halloween, the group
was disbanded.

Some residents
think a successful celebration could take place.

"Other cities do
this kind of thing all the time, and you don't hear
about excessive violence, you don't hear about gay bashing,"
said Alix Rosenthal, who unsuccessfully challenged
Dufty during his reelection campaign last year, to the
Chronicle. She said a lack of commitment and
resources—not homophobia—marred last year's
celebration. (The Advocate)

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