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Bethann Hughes enjoys the music on Court Street during the Athens Halloween Block Party on Saturday.

Attendance and arrests down at frigid 2017 Athens Halloween Block Party

Correction appended.

The cold weather made for a smaller crowd than previous years at the Athens Halloween Block Party on Saturday night. 

The block party started at 7 p.m. with stages and performances at both ends of Court Street. 

Athens County Sheriff Rodney Smith said that the crowd looked “thin” this year.

“We’ve got the safety and wellbeing of the public in mind,” Smith said. “So far, the crowd looks kind of docile, so I hope it continues to be that way.”

Temperatures were in the 40s for most of the night. EMS workers and police officers dealt with fewer reports than they have in previous years. 

The Athens Police Department arrested about 15 people on Saturday, according to a city press release. The Ohio University Police Department arrested 12 people. The Ohio Department of Public Safety Investigative Unit charged 32 people. According to a press release, most of the arrests were alcohol-related.

At last year’s warmer block party, APD arrested 35 people and OUPD arrested 18, according to a previous Post report.

As Court Street began to shut down at 1 a.m., APD Chief Tom Pyle said the night had been “nice and quiet.” He believed the crowd was smaller due to a combination of the cold and the Ohio State football game.

Athens County EMS responded to 25 calls for service. In 22 of those calls, EMS transported people to OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital.

Rick Callebs, the Athens County EMS chief, said someone fell off the balcony of a building on Foster Place. The person was transported to a hospital in Columbus in critical condition.

The Athens Fire Department responded to eight calls for service, including a transformer fire and a “rescue of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle,” according to the press release.

People had mixed opinions about the Halloween festivities this year.

Andrew Thompson, a sophomore studying promotional photography, said it met his expectations.

“It is hilarious seeing all the different costumes,” Thompson said.

People came from out of town to observe the festivities. 

Aron Reman, an Ohio State University sophomore, said he liked being able to meet other people from out of town.

“It’s interesting getting to know other people who aren’t from Athens.” Reman said.

Other people, however, didn’t think “HallOUween” was as big of a deal as people are led to believe.

“This year is just about the same as every other year I have gone,” Ashley Clarkwell, a junior studying psychology, said.

Samuel Solis, a freshman studying sport management and finance, said it did not meet his expectations.

“I thought it would be crazier on Court Street,” Solice said. “There was not many people there.” 

Court Street began to shut down at about 1 a.m., when officers started directing people to move from the street to the sidewalk.

People started leaving Court Street as bars closed at about 2 a.m. At 2:30 a.m., mounted police officers marched in a line down Court Street. 


Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly identified the street of the building where someone fell off a balcony. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information. 

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