Check back throughout the evening to read updates from our reporters on Court Street.
4:10 a.m. Update (Final)
After about 2:30 a.m., a line of mounted and foot officers formed near the intersection of Court and State streets, preparing to “sweep” the crowd south.
“It takes about a half hour to clear this crowd out,” Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle said. “As the bars empty out, you can get people trapped behind you … we do it real politely.”
The sweep took about half an hour to complete, as officers urged partygoers to move to the sidewalks, directing a majority of the crowd away from Court Street via side-streets and alleyways.
As of approximately 2 a.m., EMS reported about 34 individuals having required medical attention. No serious injuries were reported at the time.
Rob Everard, a senior at Bowling Green State University, was among those who remained on Court Street as mounted patrol made the sweep. While some were upset with the officers’ actions, Everard said both sides need to respect one another and end the party peacefully.
“I mean, I’m gonna be honest, like come on. They’re adults, we’re adults,” Everard said. “ ...we’re just trying to have fun.”
3:10 a.m. Update
Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle said he believed the crowd had died down at about 2 a.m.
“I hope things are winding down,” he said. “They’d better not be winding up.”
Pyle said no major incidents occurred during the night, but several people were cited for alcohol-related offenses.
Pyle said law enforcement may start clearing the streets at about 2:20 a.m. if the crowd remained. He said they would move the crowd “gently.”
“Like a, ‘hey, get up on the sidewalk and go home,’ ” he said. “Hey, drop your pizza. We wanna go home, go to bed.”
Athens Fire Chief Robert Rymer said he thought his department responded to three calls. He said one was a unauthorized fire behind a dumpster, and that he didn’t know why the fire was started.
“I’m sure it was just kids being kids,” he said.
Alyssa Jones, a freshman studying pre-optometry, said her Learning Community leader told her to “set standards low” in case it wasn’t “as exciting as (she) wanted it to be.”
Jones said the experience was exciting for her in the end.
“This was a better Halloween weekend spent,” Jones said.
Alex Balle, a freshman studying early childhood education, felt similarly about the Halloween experience.
“The atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was so friendly,” Balle said.
2:10 a.m. Update
By 12:50 a.m., musical performances on Court Street had ended and the stages were beginning to be cleared.
According to EMS, the number of medical instances had increased to 27 by 1 a.m.
Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle said that overall, crowds had been under control throughout the night.
“It’s been a steady night,” Pyle said.
Shalee Frye, from West Union, said she came to Athens for Halloween weekend because her friends told her to. Frye said she saw someone fall of a roof and break a table.
“It’s actually not as crazy as I figured it would be,” Maddy Allen, a freshman studying pre-medicine, said.
Allen said she was most surprised by the number of law enforcement present, adding that “they’ve been everywhere.”
Wasseem Sokkarie, a junior studying mechanical engineering, said it was his first time experiencing the block party because he recently moved to Athens from Florida. He said he loved the vibe, the music and the “nice” people.
John Obringer, a senior studying music education, said Halloween seemed more controlled this year than in the past.
“It’s actually been pretty tame compared to previous years,” Obringer said. “The craziest thing was the Indians winning game 4.”
1:10 a.m. Update
As of 11 p.m., the house parties on Mill Street had been shut down and the only remaining people were groups of law enforcement and students heading to and from Court Street.
DJ B-Funk began his set on the Lokoween stage with a mock emergency broadcast.
“Warning. This is a message from the emergency broadcast system,” the voice coming out of the speakers said. “All dancing is now legal for the next 24 hours.”
The majority of the crowd appeared to be gathered around the stage.
Ali-Khaledi Nasab, a Ph.D. candidate of physics, felt that Halloween this year didn’t live up to past years.
“This is a little less crowded than last year I guess, last year was a lot better,” he said.
Cameron Pettigrew, a freshman studying sports management at West Virginia University, said that he was enjoying his time at Halloween.
“The people here are younger and more outgoing,” Pettigrew said. “Compared to West Virginia, it is way better and much more fun.”
Pettigrew, dressed as a monk, was born in Scotland. “(Halloween in Athens) is quiet compared to Scotland,” he said.
He had heard halloween in Athens was crazy, but he felt that it was calmer than he expected.
Dressed as Jack and Sally from A Nightmare Before Christmas, Dayton residents Brittany Hansen and her boyfriend walked up Mill Street while police officers broke up parties after the sidewalks became full of traffic.
All of the party-goers seemed to echo the thoughts of Matt Misko, a senior studying psychology at Youngstown State University.
“We’re kinda lost right now, but we’re just here to have a good time,” he said. “It’s a good time, that’s all I can say.”
12:10 a.m. Update
Though a few of parties on Mill and Palmer streets remained in full swing, the atmosphere surrounding the popular residential streets was fairly quiet. By about 10:30 p.m., many had made their way back to Court Street, leaving a trail of broken glass and empty red Solo cups behind.
“So far it’s been pretty good,” Ohio University Police Department Lt. Tim Ryan said. “It’s still early … but so far, it’s pretty normal.”
The party on Court Street, however, grew more lively by the minute.
Kathy Wachenschwanz, a Nelsonville resident, watched the action with her family from the sidelines near the Athens County Courthouse — continuing a yearly tradition of people-watching and good-natured fun.
“It’s fun. We like to see the costumes,” Wachenschwanz said. “We just basically come up just for a little while to see it before the partying starts.”
Sam Braden, a sophomore studying sociology-criminology, arrived on Court Street dressed as a “Day of the Dead bride,” with her face fully painted as a skull.
“I like it,” Braden said. “I like to watch people act like assholes.”
Colby Caldwell, a junior studying photography, said people shouldn’t be afraid to dress up.
“I love it here. So many people get into it,” Caldwell said. “If people don’t dress up, they should be shunned.”
Kristen Nicholl, a visiting student from Cincinnati State, arrived with her friends dressed as characters from the Netflix series Stranger Things, and said she was enjoying her first time at the event.
“I’ve wanted to come to HallOUween for the past two years to see what it’s like — to see what it’s all about,” Nichole said. “And wow. I mean talk about people-watching.”
The paramedics reported no major injuries.
11:10 p.m. Update
As 9 p.m came around, parties on Mill Street were in the process of being shut down. Students in costumes were making their way up the hill toward Court Street as officers on horses followed.
At about 9 p.m., Athens County Sheriff Rodney Smith said the crowd wasn’t too bad, probably because many people were at house parties.
“Once they get done with them, I’m sure they’ll come here,” he said.
Smith said he thought EMS had “been busy” and had made about 10 runs so far.
Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle said the nice weather likely drew additional people out for the night. He said he was aware of several arrests for alcohol-related offenses, but he wasn’t sure how the arrests compared to last year.
Pyle said he enjoyed many of the costumes he saw, and said sexy cop costumes don’t bother him or the officers he works with.
“There really aren’t any costumes that bother us,” he said.
“This is not real,” read a sign a man in a black cloak and skull makeup carried down Court Street.
“i am glad you are here,” read the other side.
Nick Kreager, a 2007 OU grad, said he meant just that — he was glad to see everyone at the block party. He also said nothing is real, and that people should treat each other and the planet with respect.
“What we’re experiencing as stardust and meatsuits feels real,” he said. “It doesn’t give us licenses to treat each other like s--t. This is a dream we’re all having and we need to wake up.”
9:50 p.m. Update
By 9 p.m., Court Street was packed with costume-clad students, many of whom gathered around the two stages at opposite ends of the street.
The unseasonably high temperatures, which was almost 70 degrees by 8 p.m., might have been the reason for the large crowd.
“I anticipate we’ll be quite busy, especially because of the weather,” Rick Callebs, the chief of the Athens County EMS, said. “But I hope I’m wrong.”
Last year, a rainstorm sent many partygoers home early.
The warm weather was nice for some people, but it was a curse for others. Taylor Perry, a junior studying early childhood education, was dressed in a fleece Batman onesie.
“I thought it would keep me warm, but it’s really hot,” she said. “I’m sweaty now from the weather and all the walking.”
Young partygoers had mixed reactions to their first Halloween.
“I heard it was lit, but I’m kind of disappointed,” Meriah Woolery, an undecided freshman, said. “It’s more low-key than I thought it would be. It’s more like a regular party.”
Mira Cooper, a senior studying civil engineering, said her past experiences have been “stressful,” but she is hopeful to turn that around for her final Halloween party.
“I want to enjoy my last Halloween,” Cooper said. “Things haven’t gone well in the past, whether that’s friends bailing or whatever. I would like this year to be different.”
Some of the bars began filling up early with Cleveland Indians fans who wanted to watch the Game 4 of the World Series. Chants of “Let’s go Tribe!” broke out several times on Court Street.
But most of the action was still outside. Edward Adkins, a senior at Ohio University and the doorman at Lucky’s said the bars wouldn’t get really crowded until midnight.
“That’s when the real stuff happens,” he said.
Masses of police officers and state troopers on foot, horse and bicycle were patrolling to keep the crowds on Mill in control. In an effort to control the hordes of costumed people several parties were broken up.
“It sucks because we’re all just having a good time,” Sarah Cavenaugh, a sophomore studying wildlife management at OU, said.
8:50 p.m. Update
People-watching was a popular activity as the Halloween Block Party began Saturday night.
One Ohio University student, Phoenix Crane, a senior studying psychology, sat on a stoop on Court Street to watch her peers and out-of-town visitors stroll by in their costumes for the night.
“It’s nice seeing everyone walk up and down court street,” she said.
She added that everyone seemed “pretty controlled” because it was early in the night, but anticipated the crowd getting rowdier as the night went on.
Younger students were in awe as they saw the block party festivities for the first time.
“There’s all kinds of different people coming together for one holiday,” Juliette Wechsler, a freshman studying biology, said.
Her favorite costume of the night so far was someone dressed up as Boo from the Pixar movie Monsters, Inc.
Jena Albers, a senior studying marketing, business analytics and environmental studies, said she and her friends had been partying hours ahead of time, and that she was excited to head Uptown to see the live music there.
“This is the first year we’ve done Halloween all day,” she said.