by Kate Galbreath, Southern Illinois University Daily Egyptian -- As the Halloween approaches, both local business managers and law enforcement officers are preparing for what is usually one of the most unusual weekends of the year.
All bars on Carbondale's Strip will be open Thursday night but closed Friday through Monday. Keg sales do not resume until liquor stores open on Tuesday.
For Amanda Allegretti, a manager at Gatsby's II, being closed for the weekend and Monday means servers and bartenders miss out on the bulk of the week's paycheck. Though she noted the city waives the liquor license fee for bars on the Strip, nothing compensates employees for the financial loss of not being able to work.
Allegretti also said closing most bars means others are over-crowded.
"Everyone is not happy about it, because you only get a couple of options for bars, and those are usually packed," she said. "I've heard a lot more this year that people have decided to go home."
Because kegs and keg sales are banned for the weekend, liquor stores notice an increase in can and bottle sales.
Greg Karayiannis, manager of Pinch Penny Liquors, which does not sell kegs, said the weekend is one of the busiest for big case sales.
"Cases, 24 packs and 30 packs - we sell more on Halloween weekend than almost any other weekend, except maybe Homecoming," he said.
Carbondale Police Chief Steve Odum said the fine for being caught with a keg ranges from $75 to the maximum the city allows for an ordinance violation, $750.
Odum said the biggest challenge for the weekend will be order maintenance but said he does not think it will be a problem. He said the department plans on having some extra police officers on hand for extra parties, but that enforcement will be mostly the same.
"We'll just focus on all the ordinances that we enforce every weekend," Odum said.
This weekend falls during a Mini-Alcohol Enforcement Grant period, in which money from the state goes to pay for more officers to combat drinking and driving among other driving violations.
Rich Noren, the assistant manager of El Greco, said the weekend actually works out well for the restaurant. Because the restaurant closes at 11 p.m., bar traffic doesn't affect business too much.
Judging by the past few years, he said non-students tend to come in more over the weekend.
"With the bars closed, more people from surrounding areas who don't really want to be around the students come," Noren said. "We basically pick up a little."
No businesses other than bars are required to close.
Police break up Halloween crowd
MADISON, Wis., Oct. 31 (UPI)
Police in Madison, Wis., were proactive this year in breaking up crowds gathered on State Street for the traditional Halloween party.
Officers used pepper spray liberally to move young people along when bars closed at 2 a.m. Sunday, the Milwaukee Journal reported. Many students said they were sprayed as they simply tried to leave the area.
There were several hundred arrests, mostly for alcohol-related offenses.
Halloween festivities draw not only students from the University of Wisconsin's Madison campus -- rated the top party school in at least one college guide -- but young people who sometimes travel hundreds of miles to participate. This year the university banned guests from dorms, using colored wristbands to keep outsiders away.
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz believes police did a good job of preventing rioting and vandalism that marred the past three Halloweens on State Street, and officials said there was less pepper spray used this year. The mayor would like to simply shut the annual ritual down by forcing bars to close the Saturday before Halloween.
"We have to ask ourselves as a community if it's worth spending more than a quarter of a million dollars in public money to support an event that is built around the overconsumption of alcohol," he told the Wisconsin State Journal.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International